Posted on May 26, 2012 AT 03:39pm
I have to say it’s really tough to compete in today’s shooter market. Whether it be in first or third person perspective, or it’s a juggernaut such as Call of Duty, Battlefield, or Gears of War, it really is a tough market. Ghost Recon is one of the flagship titles that adds a few innovative ideas of their own while taking a few from other well established games. That is fine, but one wonders, was that more of a good idea than a bad one?
Playing both of the previous advanced war-fighter games, they were utterly amazing because it was unlike anything else that was on the market at the time. Future Soldier combines the intensity of firefights with the stealth of the silent kill; this is one thing that was done right. The experiences in single player allowed the option to fight the enemy straight up or maneuver around the environment to pick off your targets. It works surprisingly well, considering you know what happens by taking either approach. Now in regards of the story, how do I put this delicately? Take a stereotypical black veteran sergeant and throw in a few wise cracks, who are obviously top class soldiers, and attempt to give them characteristics that will end up becoming forgettable. Then throw them out onto the field in various missions that lead up to you saving the world from a terrorist group launching nukes (that about sums up the story). You basically roam around the world (South America, Africa, Russia, etc) taking on various missions that are suppose to somehow connect on why you are really there. In South America, you go to rescue some drug dealer, then somehow end up in Africa to take out some warlord, to winding up in the Arctic for no real reason with new toys that makes you feel overpowered as you basically take on an army.
What I did enjoy was the fact that I could play the campaign with three other friends instead of lone wolfing it as usual. As far as the A.I. goes for the campaign, you can get through most of the single player by yourself, but at times, your teammates like to shoot at people they aren’t suppose to. That one tiny mistake makes the game go from Ghost Recon to Call of Duty really quickly. In one particular mission, there’s a part where you really have no choice but to take a stealth approach, unless you have the patience of doing that portion over and over again.
The gadgets that you have at your disposal are just utterly amazing. There is a standard stealth suit that covers most of your body while crouched or standing still. You are equipped with three different sensors – magnetic, thermal, and night vision. There is a drone which acts as a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), and then later on you will have the pleasure of playing around with the Warhound, a quad-pedal mini tank armed with a endless supply of mortars and missiles. The plus and downside to this is that you can about spam the mortars and missiles till everything is dead around the area. If you are playing by yourself, then you will have access to all of the nice gadgets, however if you are playing co-op, it is often chosen at random. The idea behind the tech is just something serious, and the way it’s implemented in the single player was nothing short of awesome. The concept of being out-manned and outgunned, but having a few tools at your disposal to even the odds, was well played on Ubisoft’s part.
Ubisoft outdid themselves with the Gunsmithing option. When I saw the trailers for the Gunsmith, I couldn’t help but imagine the possibilities and what kind of guns other people would make. When I was playing this with a few friends, I spent about 10-20 minutes each mission tweaking my weapons. Of course they mentioned: “Oh here we go, he’s going to take 30 minutes customizing all his stuff AGAIN. Might as well go make a sandwich”. I was just very intrigued on how customizable our guns really are. For example, if you feel your gun is firing a bit too fast, you can go into the trigger area and switch it from full-auto to match trigger or semi-auto. Don’t like using iron sights? Well, you have the options between a red dot, tac scope, or even a thermal scope if you so please. You can also change the size of your barrels to fit your preference; long barrel being you get more range, but lose maneuverability, and vice-versa when switching to a short barrel. As this customization is nice, they do effect your stats, so bare that in mind when you are making modifications to your guns.
My feelings on Guerrilla mode are a bit mixed. On one hand, it was nice to see their spin on Horde mode and it definitely works out with the wave perks. On the other hand, it seems like every shooter is trying to have a Horde mode just like Gears of War. It truly felt like Guerrilla mode wasn’t thought out all the way through as if it was like it was tossed in at the last moment just to say ,”Yes, we have a Horde mode too.” Also, what is disappointing is there isn’t any type of matchmaking for the mode. I’m all for inviting and playing with my friends, but sometimes we just need another extra body to play. With Future Soldier, it’s non-existent. This is not to say that it is all bad because sometimes we ask for these familiar features to be in the game but there’s just that wish that there was just more meat to the mode.
Multiplayer is an overall satisfying experience. With the various modes in the game, I definitely enjoy the variety. One mode that stood out was the Decoy mode. Basically, you have two teams fighting over three objectives, but the catch of the game is only one of them is real. Neither team knows, so you try to capture them all in hopes of protecting the real objective. It adds another layer of depth in multiplayer that I have not seen before. As far as the classes go, you progress through the ranks playing these game modes, completing objectives, and helping your teammates out. For those who have caught the Call of Duty plague, your K/Ds really mean little here. You actually have to understand the concept of there being no “I” in team. Lone wolfing in the multiplayer, on all fronts, is only going to result in your team losing. Not saying that it can’t be done (if there’s a will there’s a way), but more than 98% of the time you need to take your team into consideration.
Three different classes are present for you to enjoy and explore. Scouts carry a sniper rifle and can go invisible while standing still. The Rifleman class is the go-to for assaults and leading the front. Last but not least is the Engineer, who is more of your radar guy, using gadgets to aid the team. They all work very nice together. It doesn’t feel like there is anything particularly game breaking, like one class really being considerably stronger than the other. In most of the matches I played, the Engineers threw out their sensors in the middle of the map, while the Riflemen moved up, with the Scout sitting somewhere close invisible. Scouts normally run around with SMGs, but have to pick and choose their fights due to their low armor rating. Rifleman have the most armor points, so they act as the rushers with their LMGs or assault rifles. Engineers are a bit in the middle, they have the option to rush, but often sit in the back aiding the Rifleman and Engineer.
The game isn’t without its faults of course. Often times during the single player, I would find my weapons floating in mid-air and even the enemies I shoot simply sitting there after they are already dead. A minor glitch here and there, where when I reach a waypoint, my A.I teammate thought it would be cool to just lay down and not move again. There were a lot of restarts because of the A.I doing that, or just running out like they are a one man army. There are also some parts of the game that felt too easy, like the Arctic, and a few instances where it was simply way too difficult (aka the Airport at night). Perhaps it was just me, but it seemed a lot of the time that the Ghost side on multiplayer had a serious advantage over people on Bodark. For example, many of the objective points seemed to always spawn near the ghost side. If you were on the team, you saw nothing wrong with this, but on the other side, it was killer running more than halfway across the map to take an objective that was so close to them to begin with.
Summary: Ghost Recon: Future Soldier was a nice experience and something different from the overly saturated market of shooters. The blend between stealth and action is a difficult formula to balance out, but Future Soldier executed it nicely. There are small glitches here and there, but nothing serious and they will be buffered out in the upcoming patches.
The Good: Nice blend of action and stealth in single player, great innovation to multiplayer, and Gunsmith.
The Bad: Matchmaking is pretty absent out of Guerrilla mode and single player, A.I has blonde moments.
The Ugly: Getting dominated in multiplayer due to the failure of teamwork and communications.
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