Not much Arctic about this Strike
The most memorable and entertaining levels in Ghost Recon: Future Soldier’s single-player campaign were definitely the maps set deep in Siberia. Trudging through snowdrifts, squinting through whiteout conditions, and laying waste to your enemies left me immensely satisfied. So when Ubisoft first announced the Arctic Strike DLC, I was looking forward to seeing how those elements might work in versus multiplayer.
The Arctic Strike DLC comes with three new versus maps, a new co-op map, a new multiplayer mode called Stockade, and six new weapons. Unfortunately, to my surprise, not a single versus map has a single damn snowflake. The only snow-oriented level is the Guerilla co-op map, which, thankfully, does drop in a blizzard after hitting level 10. Still, not getting a versus snow map boggled my mind—especially given the Arctic Strike moniker—and if it weren’t for the co-op map, I’d think it was blatant false advertising. Typically, when you think “map packs,” you think versus first and co-op second.
At least the versus maps work with what they set out to do and provide a little diversity. The first map, Skyline, is set on a rooftop. I expected this to be a smaller map, but it also includes a pleasant vertical element. And with wide-open spaces in the middle perfect for a team with a sniper to mow down unsuspecting noobs, this was my favorite map of the pack.
The next map, Evicted, is a massive area set around an apartment building. Since it takes place during the day, the visibility lines are clear, and the map plays well to campers and snipers, as you can go long periods of time before bumping into someone. Due to the lack of regular conflict, though, I found it boring at times.
Rounding out the maps is Riot, which may be the smallest of the pack but definitely fits into the category of a more traditional medium-sized map. Don’t worry, shotgunners—you can still get your kills here, but I had a lot more success with a strong assault rifle. And since it’s an urban setting, there’s plenty of cover, as well as chances to flank unsuspecting foes.
But the best value for the $10 (800 MSP) price tag this DLC carries may be the new multiplayer mode. Stockade plays a lot like prison dodgeball; if you’re killed, you get sent to a queue. Only by someone on your team killing an opponent, and you being next in the queue, can you return to the match. If your entire team ends up in the queue, or “stockade,” the match is over. Unfortunately, if you’re on a team with a bunch of campers or snipers and you bite the bullet, this mode can get boring quickly, as you spend several minutes at a time waiting in the queue with nothing to do. With an experienced team, this mode could offer up some interesting matches.
In the end, this is a standard map pack in terms of quality versus price. The three versus maps offer a little variety, but they’re nothing exceptional—and the fact that the lone co-op map is the only actual “Arctic” map still sticks in my craw. The only element of real note is the new versus mode, but it loses its appeal quickly if your team’s inexperienced or likes to camp all day, so unless you’re a hardcore fan of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier’s multiplayer modes, you can probably steer clear of this DLC and won’t lose any sleep over it.
SUMMARY: The new multiplayer mode definitely adds an interesting wrinkle to the online gameplay of Future Soldier, but with a name like Arctic Strike, shouldn’t there be, ya know, a bunch of snow and ice maps?!
- THE GOOD: New multiplayer mode adds interesting dynamic to Execution-style gameplay.
- THE BAD: Only three maps.
- THE UGLY: Watching an entire match from the bench after only one death.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost: Recon Future Soldier – Arctic Strike DLC is available on Xbox 360 and PS3. Primary version reviewed was on the Xbox 360.