Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier has been a long time coming from Ubisoft, in fact it’s way overdue since it was first shown at E3 in 2010 – but as we leave the past behind in Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, the new futuristic offering is still thankfully the classic, third-person strategic based gameplay best known for the franchise only now in a whole new tech infested world of terrorism. Control your squad, take cover, and shoot to kill – we’re back on the saddle of Ghost Recon’s war horse… only there’s not really a horse…but it is one hell of a war!
One great thing that has to be said for Future Soldier is its lengthy campaign chapters and unlike some other warfighter games that we shalln’t mention, this doesn’t try to take a stab at the Call of Duty fan-base to help build a name for itself – and it neither has a run and gun infiltrated setup to speed you along the campaign in a matter of hours. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but there’s no getting away from the tactical strategic approach with Future Soldier. It is a well-paced, perfectly timed combination of exploring large terrains and implementation of your objectives as part of a team. If you’ve ever owned both previous Xbox 360 Ghost Recon titles, this will have you reminiscing in no time, as over the years it has been easy to forget that war titles used to be about challenging, gritty environments that put you through your paces as a gamer, and Future Soldier brings it back home – instead of the more modern run and gun games where the war happens only in the distance with a crumbling world of cinematics to make you feel part of the action. Ghost Recon: Future Soldier isn’t about the wow factor and how over the top its cinematics can get for drama and intensity, it’s about effectively managing a squad, best use of resources to remain alive – and forward planning.
With the Xbox 360 console now fast approaching its seventh year, there has been a hefty amount of shooters over the years, so it goes without saying that Future Soldier’s objectives albeit in a near future setting are quite predictable military style operations. If you’re a fan of shooters in either the first person or third person perspective you could have already guessed that you’re likely to shoot enemies, locate and capture important people, grab the all-important Intel and hold your position until you’re rescued. While the controllable actions have all been done before, it’s a breath of fresh air to be able to use new high-tech modernised weaponry in your missions. You get to experience the use of Active Camo to remain hidden whilst you stealthily creep around in cover, a Warhound that can file target and directional missiles on enemy locations as well as vehicles, a Drone that can be launched into the air to spot enemies or alternatively driven around on the ground to target and fire a Sonic Pulse, as well as other high-tech futuristic devices to aid you on your missions. It’s a full on tech-fest!
If you like customisation options, this game has a potential 20 Million combinations to make your weapon as unique as possible. With a complete range of Sniper Rifles, Shotguns, PDR’s, Assault Rifles, LMG’s, SMG’s, Sidearms, you get to pretty much change every minor detail and add-on combined with adding a choice of Frag grenades, Flash bangs, Incendiary’s, EMP grenades, and X-Ray sensors to your arsenal. Whilst on the subject of weapons – “Better with Kinect” is quite an overstatement as the use of Kinect voice commands and hand controls to customise your weaponry is both pointless and useless. An un-needed gimmick that thankfully can be switched off, but disappointingly because this game has a Kinect feature (albeit small) you have the “feeling tired or sore – take a break” pop up constantly as you play the campaign which cannot be removed unless you disable notifications.
The Ghost Recon: Future Soldier campaign is by far one of the most extensive and gripping experiences for a modernised war game and a great bonus to be able to play through the whole story co-operatively with friends on Xbox LIVE as you are transported across the globe to locations that include Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia and Norway. It’s visually impressive and on par with current top titles in the same genre as well as being both challenging and entertaining, it has that “just one more go” appeal where once you’ve started you’ll struggle to put it down.
Offering the majority of replay value, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier features both Multiplayer Modes and Solo or Co-Operative Guerrilla Missions. Kicking off with Guerrilla, it’s a Wave based survival mode combined with objectives across a variety of maps where you are scored based on your performance solo or as a team. Familiar within most games already such as Survival in Call of Duty, Horde in Gears of War; if you’re into the whole run around a map shooting at enemies with weapon drops and reward streaks as you progress…then you’ll love this. It’s a great addition that wasn’t around in the previous Ghost Recon titles and progresses in difficulty as you could aim for reaching Wave 50. It’s a better mode to be played with online friends who you can invite or be invited to – this mode does not feature the ability to join randoms’ online via a lobby system, and playing solo can be somewhat of a struggle!
Multiplayer features just four different game-types… yes – just four! Conflict, Decoy, Saboteur and Siege Modes. Conflict is a team based objective mode where objectives are randomly located across the maps and completing them will score the team points. Decoy is a game of Attackers vs. Defenders best out of three match – Attackers win the round by completing objectives whilst the Defenders can only win the match by stopping the Attackers. Saboteur, has a bomb in a central area where teams must either secure, transport and detonate it at the enemy base – and finally, Siege is a no respawn game type where there are Attackers and Defenders. Defenders will deploy near an objective whilst the Attackers will deploy randomly across the map, but as well as Attackers aiming to complete the objective it’s also about elimination. Having no respawns will deplete teams and if a team has no active live players, the team who has been completely eliminated will fail the round.
Just as in the campaign, the Multiplayer element also features the same Kinect enabled weapon customisation options. Although using Kinect for this is still pointless, the customisation process in Multiplayer is far from useless as from here you get to take advantage of unlocks as you progress your character class. The better you perform, the more you rank up, the more you get to unlock.
You initially start with the ability to play as a Scout, Engineer or Rifleman. Pretty familiar classes within most shooters as Scout’s are more strategic with Sniper Rifles, the Active Camo and other weapons with suppressors. The Engineer can assist his team by detecting enemies, using better equipment to complete objectives and reveal enemy teams whilst using Shotguns and Personal Defense Rifles. The Rifleman has improved armour abilities whilst using Assault Rifles and Light Machine Guns to rain bullet fire on any enemy within range. Ranking up your characters to Level 50 will offer additional character unlocks and further customisation options with improved weaponry loadout options.
Multiplayer sadly is not as great as it could have been…with constant server errors, lack of simple Team Deathmatch modes despite a great selection of Maps ( 10 on disc ) and additional Uplay Unlocks. It’s a great game and far better than any other Tom Clancy branded title around, but despite that – it still could have been improved as the limitations of online gameplay with only a handful of game modes is quite a let-down.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier has a fantastic campaign, but multiplayer is nothing memorable enough to blow you away. Fun, challenging, and likely to be left on the shelf after a few weeks if you haven’t traded it in for something else.