Title: Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
Platform(s): PlayStation 3, [Reviewed: Xbox 360]
Release date: May 22, 2012
Genre: Tactical shooter
Mode: Single-player, co-op, multiplayer
Rating: M for mature
Fans of Tom Clancy’s games will appreciate the Ghost Recon: Future Soldier for it’s tactical based gameplay, while fans of more popular games like Call of Duty or Battlefield will curse it for its “slow pace.” The truth about Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is that it’s a little boring.
Tom Clancy games have been known to set and break the bar for tactical shooters and while Ghost Recon doesn’t go anywhere near disappointment, you can’t help but feel like there is something missing from the game.
Perhaps that was a bad start to this review, so to clarify: to say that Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is a bad game would be a lie.
This game does some really amazing things. This isn’t a game where you go in shooting everything every time and things work out peachy. Ghost Recon forces you to stop and think about what you are doing even though sometimes you don’t have the time to do that. Maybe going in blazing works. Maybe you need to silently take down one person at a time till you get to your goal, but maybe taking down even one person is too risky and you just need to sneak by without getting caught. Stealth, patience and planning are key in this game. If you play this game like you play Call of Duty, you are – for lack of a better word – screwed.
That being said, this game offers you some really cool toys and resources to help you fight, or not fight, your way through enemy lines.
You do get three fairly-well trained AI and some nifty gadgets like a sensor grenade which, when thrown in a clearing, shows you the position of nearby enemies even if they are behind walls or inside buildings.
Players also get a pretty nifty adaptive camouflage that makes you close to invisible while crouched so you can sneak through maps undetected. Keep in mind though that this game is about tactics, not sneaking around like you have that invisibility cloak from Harry Potter.
Sometimes standing still in front of the enemy while camouflaged isn’t such a good idea as they prove to be preoccupied, not blind. If you maneuver yourself where you shouldn’t be, they will see you. Staying just out of sight, in their peripheral will help you sneak out of tough spots.
My favorite part, however, has to be the tagging system. Similar to the system in Splinter Cell: Conviction where you are able to dispose of multiple enemies at once, the tagging system in Ghost Recon:Future Soldier allows you to do the same thing but with the cooperation of your team. By simply tagging each enemy you’d like to dispose of – that’s a nice PG word, dispose –and waiting for your teammates to line up their shots, you can make a quick go of any level when it is used right.
The thing that both kills me and attracts me to this game is how different it is from popular shooters of the last few years. Having played the last three Call of Duty games and Battlefield 3, to me Ghost Recon: Future Soldier feels both like a challenge and a welcome change.
Multiplayer operates much like one would expect it to. A lobby of players join together, split up into teams and fight over objectives. The game types are familiar and easy to understand and the players are your normal run of the mill gamers. What is interesting about multiplayer, however, is the tactical gameplay of campaign spills over into online play. Standing out in the open or standing in one spot for too long can be your death. If your team doesn’t attempt to flank the enemy it is possible to get pinned down at your spawn. Team play is key and so is taking cover. Ghost Recon tries to keep things familiar and palpable while still changing things up. You still get all the goodies of frag grenades, UAV’s and place-able entries, but with the added tactics of “not standing still.” Don’t get me wrong, camping is possible, but you’ll find mostly snipers stick to this tactic.
No doubt about it, this game is fun, but like I said there seems to be something in this game that keeps it from being the full package and for me it’s the storyline.
In Conviction, the storyline was so compelling that at no point did one find themselves pulled out of the game. Ghost Recon: Future Soldier does the opposite. Many times during gameplay I found myself going, “After this I’m going to play something else.” Not because the game was difficult, though there are points in the game where you have to keep your eyes and ears peeled, but because the game didn’t do much to interest me or pull me in.
The whole premise of the story is that a Ghost Team, having been assembled to track down a dirty bomb, gets killed by said dirty bomb and another team, the team the player is a part of, is tasked with tracking down said dirty bomb’s origins. Of course the story gets progressively more complex, but the inciting incident is – in my opinion – lacking. They do a good job of expressing the sadness and need for revenge in the beginning with images of flag draped coffins, but that’s about it. I guess they were hoping to incite some latent national pride with images of coffins covered in flags, and perhaps that would have worked have I not seen so many of them on the news already.
Of course, some would argue that a video game is about having fun and isn’t supposed to be a modern rendition of MacBeth – or as some would call it “the Scottish play” – but it would be nice to have a little more “umph” to the game. Homefront did this very well, despite their horrible voice acting and being a very “meh” game in general, and while playing I honestly felt the need to continue because I was so invested in the story.
Like I said, this game is fun. If you enjoy tactical shooters, or shooters in general, then you will enjoy this game. Be warned though, especially if you like your games to come with an extra side of meaning, this game lacks a little in that department. Still, I’d recommend it. If only so I could have a full group of people to play co-op with and use the tagging system to really F some stuff in the A.
TL;DR: Story is “meh”, game is “Yeah!” Buy it, kill stuff, be merry.
Replay Ability: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5