Ghost Recon: Future Soldier – Fun, Smooth and somewhat surprising. ‘Third Person Tactical Shooter’ doesn’t really cover it all. The game manages to combine some of the more fast paced high calibre action of its predecessors, with fantastic new stealth based improvements, from upcoming and existing technologies in real life.
Once in gameplay the action itself is virtually seamless. Gone are the movement commands of Advanced Warfighter and its clumsy AI. In Future Soldier you are made to feel part of a unit, team members move when you move but do so intelligently, from cover to cover, and without getting in your way or, more importantly, being spotted. The team feels smart – members sound off enemy targets and give advice when moving through missions. Knowing there are two rifleman patrolling or a sniper in the tower, makes spotting them a lot easier and really adds to the realism and smooth flow of gameplay. The team AI is so advanced that more often than not, I found myself moving my team by signalling targets with the Drone which, as I found, left myself sprinting to catch up.
On a slightly negative side in between mission content, such as briefing and weapon selection, was somewhat slow and clunky – although customising my weapon was exciting, it took quite long to load each part and even then most were locked until after the campaign. However this is only a small portion of the game and therefore detracts little from the overall package.
The game is a mix of stealth and full blown warfare. This raises and hinders the game at points. Certain missions will only allow stealth, whilst others require you to ‘go loud’ and murderise all those terrorists. In continuation, arguably the best feature, and definitely my favourite, is the synchronised shot – taking out four targets at once. My only complaint though, is no ability to highlight secondary targets and, therefore, any number larger than four represents a problem that you usually end up shooting your way out of – ruining your perfectly stealthy level.
There are your general set pieces within the game such as breaching doors, remotely controlling missiles and firing helicopter mounted mini-guns, which all help to change the tempo of the game and provide the cinematic feel gamers have come to expect; my only niggle is this – in this tactical stealth game, shooting your way out of a building with a VIP under your arm and a pistol at your side, although undeniably fun, seems more suited to Clint Eastwood than ‘Ghosts’.
As much as the storyline of the game is not particularly original, the features within it help to keep it interesting. Awesome technological gadgetry (the drone can sprout wheels, for those hard to reach/handily created ventilation shafts) are slowly implemented into the game, from sensor grenades, to the walking tank-like Warhound. However, just when the player starts to become dependent on these features they are disabled or, in some cases, turned against them. This really switches up the tempo of the game and gives it a much needed boost mid campaign.
Gun sounds – although often ignored – are fantastic for making those perfect synchronised sniper shots all the more satisfying and means emptying that entire clip, of your brilliantly oversized sized LMG, into the enemy all the more necessary. The actual graphics of this game are just right, they are not mind blowingly Skyrim but instead focus more on the quality of the quantity. To clarify, Future Soldier shows a hell of a lot of small information on screen, without any user input – things you’ll hardly notice until you actually focus on that digital looking spike, hovering over that building. This for me created the kind of environment that enforced the title ‘Future Soldier’.
Unfortunately as enjoyable as this game is, the campaign content at least, it is not one that stands out in my ‘must play again’ list. Obviously there are elements of choice within the game as to how you complete levels but the game is scripted so you try both all out and stealth. If you are lucky enough to have friends however, playing 4 co-op (not split screen as the misprinted cases would have us believe!) makes the game far more personal – not knowing if you’re really going to get rescued from death, as you stole you’re mate’s last kill really, does make you check those corners. Finally, multiplayer adds a few fun game modes, where elements of the campaign are carried over in classes – for example, a scout is less armoured but has more gadgetry. Overall though none of these modes, even Guerrilla (Horde mode), are likely to keep you up all night.
Although not one of the most gripping storylines, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is a game worth playing. Its seamless game play and team mechanics alone, warrant a play though – with enjoyable technologies and stealth based scenarios, all interspersed with fast paced set pieces, Future Soldier not only holds its own, but brings new and exciting features into the world of third person shooters.
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