The last we saw of the quality Ghost Recon franchise came in 2007 with Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2. It was a semi-near future title that put players in situations that demanded the use of tech, sneak and strategy in order to win.
Now, Ubisoft has created a brand new Ghost Recon in Future Soldier. This title happens in a future that’s not-so-near.
The combination of new gameplay elements, synch shots, cooperative play and in-game tech make it a genuinely fun game.
An interesting, yet basic plot.
It’s always the Russians, right? At least when it comes to combat in the future. The plot here is going to feel extremely familiar. You’re part of a special ops team tasked with recon, infiltration and destruction.
Without spoiling too much, your primary target will be a cell of anti-government folk in Russia. The game delivers plot details by way of standard map panning with voiceover and a mix of cutscenes.
The map banter is never engaging, but it often stands simply as a way to tell story in between levels. The cutscenes, however, are an interesting breed. At times, the scenes can be great slices of life for the small special forces crew. At others? They’re terrible. Like, cringe-worthy.
When you’re not being pulled out of the story by lame one-liners, the adventure in Ghost Recon: Future Soldier can be engaging. It feels entirely rehashed, but it works on almost every level. Heck, there are even a few solid twists along the way.
Ghost Recon: Batman Soldier.
The bread and butter of this game, if it isn’t obvious enough by the assets produced by Ubisoft, is the future tech. All the sensors, HUD changes,weaponry and combat aids feel like futuristic toys. That’s what I mean when I reference Batman here; the Ghost Recon team feels all powerful.
All of the power and tech comes to fruition when you pace yourself and slowly plan the way you’ll own each encounter. Between marking targets with your UAV, silently taking down the loners and knowing when to engage in an all out firefight, every skirmish feels like an interesting chess match. Sure, the AI can be really stupid here, but your NPC helpers seem to know what you want to do and work to facilitate that as much as possible. It’s a great feeling.
As the story advances, however, the all-powerful feeling fades. Without giving too much away, the battlefield is leveled out quite a bit as the game reaches its conclusion. I personally found those levels to be a lot less interesting. Planning and tech use still happened, but doing so didn’t give me as much of a rush as it did before.
Cooperative play is just fun.
There are two types of multiplayer in this offering from Ubisoft. You can either engage in the standard fare of competitive levels, or you can take on the campaign in cooperative style. The competitive play is just so-so, and it stands as little more than a distraction from the overall game.
The cooperative play, however, is really fun.
Take all of that planning and gadgetry that was so enjoyable in solo stints from the single player campaign and add up to three of your friends to the mix. The title goes from being one man’s high-powered romp through platoons of bad dudes into four friends taking on the world.
Playing together in this title feels great, and I highly recommend the experience to those with a friends list full of capable players.
Glitches force checkpoint reloads.
Know what stinks? When you’re playing a game and you have to reload to an old checkpoint because one of the NPC characters glitches out. It happened to me several times during my playthrough of this title.
One time in particular was quite frustrating. While navigating through a building with rubble, players are asked to go prone from time to time in order to duck below fallen walls. The NPC characters take the same route the players do. One character in particular went prone and never stood up.
He just crawled into the same wall forever. I need him in order to proceed to the next area. The game frequently requires players to stand in visible circles before the next segment begins. The prone NPC never made it to the circle and I was never able to proceed. This happened three times. Each time, I had to reload the checkpoint and try again.
Is this game worth your scratch?
Whether or not you should pick up Ghost Recon: Future Soldier hinges entirely on one thing: are you tired of military shooters?
Yes, the gadgets and setting make this game a standout in the cover-based shooter genre. However, it’s still a war game with a standard set of typical pieces. Bro-love, shoot-shoot, kill-kill and a false sense of emotion all come out in spades during this title’s playthrough.
The competitive multiplayer won’t do much for the title’s value, but the cooperative play can be really, really fun. If these things all add up to what you normally enjoy in games, then Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is a great buy.
It treads familiar ground in new ways.