When you talk to most gamers about the shooting game genre, what are the titles that most of them instantly reference? Call of Duty? Battlefield? These two titans of industry are no doubt the first games mentioned for obvious reasons, but the entire shooter world doesn’t revolve around the “Big 2,” as it were. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon franchise has been around since 2001 when it made it’s debut on the pc, xbox and PS2. Mr. Clancy’s franchise has consistently taken a back seat to the big players in the shooter genre, but I believe it’s time for Ghost Recon to take a seat at the big boy’s table along with Call of Duty and Battlefield with the latest release in the series “Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.”
There are quite a few differences that set Future Soldier apart from other games like Call of Duty and Battlefield, most notably the fact that Ghost Recon is a third person, cover system driven shooter much like Gears of War. The run and gun mentality of games like COD is instead substituted with a tactical based squad style combat system. Strategy and coordination are key in Future Soldier as most of the campaign is designed to have the player infiltrate enemy compounds and eliminate targets without tipping off anyone and remaining completely covert. Along the way to help you remain incognito are a plethora of very cool gadgets and weapons. Stealth camo, drones that can go airborne or roll around like an RC car and sensor grenades are just a few of the tools that will be at the disposal of Ghost Team Hunter. While it may seem like something that would normally not need mentioning, but the cover system implemented by Ubisoft is flawless in every sense of the word. The animations are completely fluid when ducking behind things. The move to cover system where you essentially target where you wish to take cover next then hold down the A button to have your soldier make his way to that exact spot is phenomenal. You will also be given full customization, and I mean FULL CUSTOMIZATION, of your guns in the newly added ‘Gunsmith’ mode. Gunsmith is a fully interactive customization tool that allows you to take apart your gun down to almost the nuts and bolts and rebuild it to your exact specifications, which is extremely cool and rewarding once you find a combination that suits your play style. The only Kinect controls that were actually playable in Future Soldier were in Gunsmith mode, using hand gestures to move through guns and explode it to it’s base parts. The plot of the campaign is admittedly a little dry and predictable. “This bad man did a bad thing, let’s take him out” is what most of the missions consist of, but it is all given some emotional under lining given the fact that you are essentially avenging some fallen comrades who were blown off the face of the earth in the intro to the campaign. My biggest and really only complaint about the campaign were the unnecessary cut scenes that were thrown into the story for seemingly no reason at all. Between missions the game will cut to the Ghost team back at home base doing every day things like standing in the lunch line or schooling rookies about what really happened on the battlefield. It all seemed a little kitschy and really didn’t have any affect on the story itself, accompany that with dull/plastic facial animations and these cut scenes were something that Ubisoft really should have just left out all together. Despite the strange cut scenes, the campaign is excellent with a nice mix of different objective based missions and the aforementioned, incredibly fun tactical gameplay results in one of the better campaigns that I have played in quite some time.
The visuals in Future Soldier are excellent, expansive and provide a life like experience that rivals anything put out in the shooter genre today. The lighting and textures are great, with a special nod going to the special effects involved with many of the hollywood style explosions. The frame rate holds up great despite the extremely fast paced action of many of the gun fights and escape to extraction sequences. Overall, this game looks great and really gives you a sense of realism while out in the line of Duty(ahem).
The ball keeps rolling once you dive into the multiplayer of Future Soldier. Future soldier features a few different modes when taken online, most of which are objective based like Conflict mode which has you battling your opponents to capture different drops like re supply boxes among other things. The combat is great and really shines once you have both teams strategizing against one another to either flank each other or to simply find the best route through enemy lines to the objective. There is no deathmatch like mode, but I think a lot of gamers will be ok with that. Ghost Recon is not trying to cash in on the Call of Duty market where everyone is simply traversing maps running and gunning at each other, but instead look to make the gamer think, plan and coordinate to achieve the goals set before them. Leveling and the ability to buy and upgrade weapons adds to the replay value of Future Soldier’s online component, with three different classes to level individually each of which has it’s own unique abilities and strategy involved.
Most gamers will still most likely swear by Call of Duty and Battlefield. Black Ops 2 will still sell about a billion copies when it hits stores in November, but at what point do we stop accepting the same game with slight modifications re-released every year and look for something different and refreshing? That time is now for me. Ghost Recon: Future Soldier mixes superior combat, tactical gameplay, an action packed campaign, objective based multiplayer and excellent visuals into an overall excellent experience. So I implore you to put down Call of Duty or Battlefield for a while and check out Ghost Recon: Future soldier, you won’t regret it.Pros :
- Awesome gadgets/ Gunsmith
- Excellent graphics
- Strategy is key
- Silly cut scenes