Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is a third person tactical shooter from Ubisoft. It was released for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles on May 22, 2012. The PC version was released later on June 27. It’s the fifth instalment in the Ghost Recon series and is set in a near future.
The campaign will take you to locations such as Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia and Norway as you and your team of highly competent special forces ‘Ghosts’ try to stop an extremist Russian group known as Raven’s Rook from destabilizing the world with their arms dealing and use of nuclear weapons. Its pretty standard fare for shooters these days, with the story evolving very quickly in short bites between missions that make keeping track of everything difficult. Still the story is pretty good; I was actually vested in the story which makes for a big change as compared to most stories from shooters.
Luckily, your task to save the world is broken down into several manageable missions. Each begins the same way, you will receive a brief overview of the mission from your team leader with the chance to examine what to expect during the mission, why the mission is important and what sort of firepower you should be bringing to the party by exploring the mission briefings details on your tablet computer. For the most part the recommended load out is all you could ever need but for the pedantic the customization options are enormous. With a range of Sniper rifles, machine guns, assault rifles, shotguns and sub machine guns to choose from not to mention that every gun can have its muzzle, grip, gas system, magazine and more optimized for your needs the system can almost be overwhelming at times. Still it’s fun to test out your creations at the gun range and if you got a Kinect you can make full use of it while exploring this feature on Xbox but in my opinion its mostly a gimmick.
Once you have decided on your load out you can enter into battle. Be prepared though, this aint Call of Duty or Battlefield, and careful thought is required before any shootout if you expect to survive. I don’t mean to say that there won’t be some intense shootouts or intense moments but you will have to use your brain and all the tools at your disposal to succeed. It forces you to think strategically, to plan ahead and use cover at all times. Often the best bet, and sometimes your only option, is to quietly whittle down the enemies numbers by taking them out one by one or perhaps I should say four by four as you and your team can set-up and execute simultaneous shots. A sometimes necessary tactic, to prevent a patrolling guard from stumbling over a dead body and raising the alarm.
As I said though Ghost Recon: Future Solider has intense action sequences as well and in fact I would describe it as beautifully paced. It shifts effortlessly between moments of considered calm and preparation to moments of extreme mayhem and delicious set pieces. It’s a perfect blend of tactics, stealth and action!
Future Soldier can be an unforgiving game at times but most times you die you will have to admit were your own fault. Helping you in your missions though will be a wide range and assortment of tech and gear. From magnetic goggles that help you see through sandstorms and walls to camo cloaks that make you all but invisible when you’re still or crouched and moving slowly. The proper tool applied to the proper problem at the right time can make the impossible not only probable but easy as well. There are also sensor grenades that pick out nearby enemies, aim-assisted sniper rifles and airstrikes.
The drone is perhaps the piece of kit you’ll find most useful, though, and while it will be instantly familiar to anyone who’s play previous games, it boasts a handful of new features. Firstly, it can transform into a radio-controlled car and emit a sonic pulse that disables nearby electronics or temporarily stuns enemies. It also provides a bird’s-eye view of the battlefield, giving invaluable insight into the enemy’s position. That last is its best feature though because not only can you learn the enemies patrol patterns but it also allows you to tag and mark enemies for death from yourself or your team mates at a later time from precision rifle fire.
The entire campaign is also playable with up to three friends and some missions will feel entirely different when playing with friends instead of AI team mates. It’s harder for four gamers to maintain their discipline together than it is for one player alone. Pulling of some stealth sections will be much harder as a team but the action sequences should be much easier.
There is also a decent multiplayer suite of course. Four games mode are on offer: Conflict, Decoy, Saboteur, and Siege. Conflict is your typical death match but the player archetypes are much more differentiated than in other shooters. A scout is blessed with adaptive camo and sensor grenades for example, so although they’re poorly armoured, they provide invaluable intel on the enemy’s position. Intel plays a big role in multiplayer. In a game where a player can be invisible or you can shoot through walls knowing where an enemy is located can make all the difference. Decoy is an interesting game type and the one I enjoyed the most. Two teams are tasked with securing three objectives but only one is the real target. You can try get all three and hope to get lucky or try hack for intel to reveal the real target all the while shooting the other side. Ghost Recon’s multiplayer requires more teamwork than similar offerings from most shootings and makes for intense and quick bout of combat that can be very memorable as you discuss the action with your team post game.
Finally there is Guerilla mode, which is Future Soldier’s take on ‘Firefight’ or ‘Horde’ mode. It’s for up to four players, either online or split screen and it’s an absolute blast. It borrows all the best elements from the campaign, and you and your team using a combination of stealth, overwhelming firepower and co-ordinated strikes must defend a location against ten waves of enemies before relocating and starting the process over again against stronger and smarter enemies in a new now unfamiliar territory. I love playing with a team rather than against one and modes like these are my often my favourite offering of a game title and Guerilla mode is no exception. Its endless hours of fun for anyone who’s interested and trust me you will be interested in this game.
The game’s excellently balanced pacing won’t fail to deliver the action. Still it’s the subtle use of many features unique to Future Soldier, like tagging enemies, stealth combined with action, UAVs and drones that make it such a unique and enjoyable experience.
Weapon effects are outstounding and background noise is handled well as is the surround sound effects. Average soundtrack though.
An engrossing story which thanks to its clever tech and cool gadgets imparts the settings near future perfectly.
A fantastic looking shooter with some great effects marred only by the occasional poor texture
Lasting Appeal: 8
With a ten hour campaign that’s worth revisiting while playing with friends Ghost Recon Future Solider does better than most shooters. Its also got great multiplayer and fun co-op options in the vein of Firefight or Horde mode.
Price point: R600
One of the best games in recent memory, well worth the full price point of a new game and a steal at any other.
-Ghost Recon: Future Soldier – Mission Walkthrough 1