Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Review! Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Ghost?
Overview:Systems: PC, PS3, XBOX 360
Pros:Well-designed areas, deep customization, and multiple approaches to situations keep gameplay fresh and exciting
Cons:Predictable enemy AI, Heads-Up Display can become obstructive
This latest entry in the Ghost Recon series once again puts you in control of the most elite military force in the world. Whether you are a veteran of the series or checking it out for the first time, you won’t be disappointed in what Future Soldier has to offer.
“Imminent international crisis” is just another day on the job for a ghost. These high-tech warriors are the epitome of elite. Whether they are tasked with securing a high-profile arms dealer or taking a cruel dictator out of power, one thing remains true: they were never there. With a full arsenal of firepower and technology, the world is in turmoil and it’s up to you to fix what’s broken – one silenced shot at a time.
In this era of the military shooter, it seems “original” and “story” are not often found in the same sentence. Future Soldier starts to slip into that “go here and do this” groove early on, but as you complete your first few operations it all starts to come together as the main plot is revealed. Each mission has a detailed back-story and explanation, delivered by a certain former captain that previous fans of the series will immediately recognize.
GR:FS offers a satisfying ride through the familiar situations in which the world inevitably finds itself time after time. The progression through the events of the game is admittedly straight forward, without any branching paths or decision-based outcomes. This, however, is countered by the game’s unique presentation of events that keeps your eyes fixed to the screen and your mind always wondering what’s next.
Many of the game’s important events will be played out by your actions rather than in cut scenes. It’s one thing to watch your character finally take down a high-value target, but to be able to pull the trigger yourself is, in one word, fulfilling. Many of the game’s “sit back and watch” situations are reserved for the purpose of delivering new information to the player rather than playing critical parts of the game for you.
Much of the game leaves the decision to you on how you want to tackle any given situation. Whether you want to play the role of the one man army or rely on your team to do most of the work, the options and technology all work in your favor. The gameplay ranges anywhere from your typical cover-based shooter during firefights, to gadget-assisted sneaking in infiltration scenarios.
Before each mission, you will get a brief explanation of the terrain and opposition you will be facing. From here, you are allowed to choose your primary and secondary weapons as well as two equipment slots. But the customization doesn’t end here, as you can further optimize your weapons to your situation. Each gun in Future Soldier has its own list of attachments, optics, magazines, paints, and all other components of a firearm down to the trigger and barrel. Each option offers a brief description of how it will affect the weapon, allowing you to swap out parts as your plan of action sees fit.
As you make your way through the enemy-infested areas, you may choose to sneak through using stealth camouflage and your UAV drone to map out the area and any optimal paths. Or if you prefer a more dynamic approach, start the firefight with a well coordinated assault reducing enemy numbers before they have time to react. The new “Sync Shot” mechanic allows you to mark up to four targets and take them all down at once on your command. This is especially useful when you want to take down a small group of enemies and still maintain your undetected status.
Firefights prove to be the more simple route, as enemy AI is lacking at times. Combatants will usually take cover and wait there for you to shoot them. Further in the game the more advanced soldiers will attempt to move to your sides and overpower you, but in the process will often end up sprinting directly toward you giving you an easy kill. In contrast, your teammates’ AI is notably effective, choosing priority targets, calling out enemies you may not have seen, and even helping each other when they fall in combat.
Future Soldier’s graphics on the PC version are a remarkable improvement over the lackluster visuals of its console counterparts. Overall, the graphics are a mixed bag but are very impressive despite the few flaws that exist. The realistic environments and attention to detail in the game’s weapons are especially notable.
Player textures are highly detailed and movement remains smooth between animations. Sprinting, reloading, jumping over cover, and even melee take-downs on enemies have consistent animations that flow into one another with cinematic quality. Objects in the environment such as debris and foliage are often low-resolution textures, but this is a small price to pay for such quality graphics in more noticeable areas.
The environments are very rich in detail and realistically portrayed. A variety of locales are explored, including barren deserts, frigid tundra’s, lush forests, and decaying urban terrain. The use of lighting and shadows in these areas is well thought out and serves to bump up the realism yet another notch.
Future Soldier’s Heads-Up Display is portrayed using an augmented reality system. Most of the time it is kept simple, showing only your ammunition, what equipment is selected, and a marker for your objective. At certain points in the game, however, the HUD can get cluttered with enemy markers, tutorial hints and various other information that you already know or don’t want to know. Fortunately this remains only a small hindrance since the HUD is generally geared toward being useful and out of your way.
One of the most important aspects of any shooter is the atmosphere. It is important for the player to feel like they are on the battlefield and right in the middle of the action. Future Soldier does a fantastic job at creating a realistic soundscape as bullets collide with cover and explosions ring throughout the environment. Your teammates, as well as enemies, will call out their tactics or alert each other of what they are seeing from their end.
Each weapon has its own unique sounds, further altered by what attachments are present on the weapon. When in the middle of a firefight, it is possible to know what is being used to shoot at you and from how far. This is an important factor in determining which enemy you need to take care of first. A light machine gun will drown out the surrounding fire and the loud crack of sniper fire will ring out from afar, both alerting you to the dangers that lie before you.
The musical score in Future Soldier generally serves its purpose to further immerse the player in the situation at hand. The entire soundtrack is a mixture of orchestration and electronic instruments in which the two successfully complement each other. In combat, you will receive a pounding score to further the tension of the situation and during an undetected state you will hear a slow, ambient score to help you along in your silent endeavor.
Future Soldier is a definite improvement over previous Ghost Recon titles, while still holding its own as a stand-alone in the series. With its impressive graphics and interesting customization aspects, this is a title you definitely don’t want to miss. Once you finish the main story, there are a large number of mission-specific challenges to complete, as well as the waves of enemies to battle in Guerrilla Mode to keep the game’s replayability maximized. In addition to the solid cooperative gameplay in the Campaign and Guerrilla modes, the game features a feature-rich online multiplayer component in which you will compete with other players around the globe and progress through the various ranks and unlocks.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is a great game whether you’re familiar with Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon series or are using this game as a starting point. Do you have what it takes to be a ghost?
Written by Guest Reviewer Dragonlee71