Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon is back with a new futuristic addition to the series. Published and developed by Ubisoft, the all new Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, a tactical first/third-person shooter available on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, looks to be the best game in the Ghost Recon series to date. With tonnes of new and improved features including; enhanced weapon customisation, new ultramodern camouflage technology and the integration of the Kinect to control particular in-game activities, Future Soldier will draw you into your own little world having you literally believe you are the ultimate soldier.
The tale of the game is one of retribution; it begins with the scenes of a Ghost squad taking out an enemy convoy that is carrying a stolen military grade bomb. After eliminating the enemy insurgents, Ghost squad locate the bomb but it’s been activated and subsequently detonates, killing the team before they can get clear. Here is where the journey begins; you, Kozak, and the rest of your unit Ghost Lead, Pepper and 30K form a new Ghost squad that has been entrusted with the task of tracking down the source of the weapons that killed your ex-colleagues. Following Intel from your sources, you take off around the world stumbling into enemy territories where militant groups encourage rebellion in a battle for power before realising the world is on the verge of a war it doesn’t even know about. You are the only thing that stands in the way of this menace, and it is left down to you and your squad to eliminate the threat and prevent a global conflict that could have shattering consequences on the rest of the world.
As mentioned the new addition is much more futuristic than previous Ghost Recon games, and has a whole host of new features. The first of which is the availability of an all new high-tech arsenal with over fifty weapons at your disposal, each highly customisable; so whether you like to get in close and do high damage or pick your enemies off from range, you can optimise your weapons to suit your needs. Personally I like to sit back and think tactically, but the game does have scenarios that will force your weapon selection such as making you pick long-range weapons with silencers so as not to raise alarms which may upset some people though it isn’t a problem for me. However the Gunsmith customisation system that allows you to modify the weapons does really add something special to the game so even when you are forced to select a certain weapon you can really make the gun your own. Just disassemble your chosen weapon whether it is an assault rifle, shotgun or pistol and choose to replace every one of its Components from the gas system to the trigger. The possibilities are endless and every decision can alter the weapons performance.
In addition you’ll also be able to choose from a wide variety of grenades and other devices to help you out on your missions. For example with the new Augmented Reality system A.T.L.A.S. you can deploy small sensor relays that gather real-time battlefield Intel revealing enemy positions and you can view the world through different lenses to detect heat signatures or locate metallic objects like buried mines. You will also get the opportunities to use advanced technological contraptions to spy on your enemies with remote-controlled drones so you can plan attacks, as well as having use of the all-powerful Warhound to help counter air and ground armoured units, and the optic camouflage technology to help you vanish in the heart of action. These gadgets come in really useful at times, especially if you enjoy the challenge of remaining hidden and going through levels undetected or if you are surrounded and need to plan a way of escape.
Another really great feature of the game is the capability to order synchronised shots on enemy targets with the W.A.R. targeting system. There are two ways to do this, both start with aiming down your scope and selecting your targets, then just watch your squad get themselves into position. Depending on how many targets you select you can pick out up to three enemies and order your teammates to execute them on your mark, or if you choose to select the maximum of four targets your team will fire on the enemy once you pull your trigger. I really love this feature because it gives you the chance to take out multiple targets at once, meaning if you are taking on a large group of enemies you can really help your chances by reducing their numbers before they realise you’re there.
One feature I wasn’t really fond of though, and it is literally the only thing I disliked about the game, was the integration of the Kinect into Future Soldier. It just didn’t seem to respond too well; it wasn’t much of a problem where the Gunsmith customisation uses the Kinect to select new parts and assembling/disassembling your gun but when it came to the firing range it was an epic fail. Firstly the only command you are shown in the firing range is how to look down your sight, so you have to work out how to aim and shoot yourself, unless you go through multiplayer where there is a tutorial available. But after learning the controls I still had problems, the aim was moving off by itself and it wouldn’t recognise my movements to fire the gun, so either it wasn’t firing or it was just doing it randomly while staring at the ground.
Now time for the Multiplayer mode discussion, though unfortunately because the game isn’t released yet, the fact all my mates are busy and that the game arriving late meant I missed the arranged time for the chance to play multiplayer I won’t be able to comment on the actual gameplay. Instead I’ll just be discussing the different modes and what Ghost Recon offers to those who enjoy teaming up with mates to unleash hell. There are ten multiplayer maps, two possible factions to select from, three different classes and four game modes; the different game modes all require you to focus on completing certain objectives and encourage working in cooperation with your team; these include some new material and an old classic in the form of Ghost Recons Siege Mode. For those of you who don’t know Siege Mode, it’s where the objective is to either attack or defend depending on which team you end up on. One team will be spawned in one central location; they will then be given an objective to defend a target with their lives. The second team will be spawned on the outside of the maps and given the objective of attacking the target that their opponents must protect. For the best chance of winning you will have to work in cooperation to try and take out the enemy because each player only has the one life and will not respawn once killed until the round is over. There will also be the chance to play with up to twelve players in six-on-six matches that should really make for a truly immense online gaming experience.
There are many cool features in these multiplayer modes; one in particular is how you can supress your opponent by bombarding them with your bullets. This will cause their screen to shake and make it harder to fire back at you, but beware because the same could happen to you. Nevertheless if you cooperate well with your team you can get out of the suppression situations by having another squad member take out the enemy pinning you down, then allowing you to press on with your objective. There are also some great benefits in multiplayer by mixing up your classes, the rifleman class is best for those who like to get in close to the enemy, the scout is best for sitting back and providing cover for team mates with your sniper, and the engineer has some great gadgets available to gather enemy Intel which you can share with your team. Even the two different factions can make a difference to the game, because both have different equipment available to them, so make sure you check everything out to find which suits you best.
You will also have the chance to play a fully co-operative campaign allowing you to complete the story and all its missions with your mates. This looks amazing and I can’t wait to play it because the fact you are in constant contact with friends means you can make the game even more tactical by getting your mates to flank enemy targets. It also means you can assign each player a different role so you can have one mate covering your backs with his sniper as you run into battle. In addition to that you also have the new multiplayer feature to Ghost Recon; a wave based mode known as Guerrilla, inspired by real-life U.S. Army counter-insurgency techniques. You can choose to play this as two player split screen on the one console, or team up with three friends online and fight for your life. The way it works is by cooperating with your team mates to form an unstoppable army of four that has to enter, capture and protect targeted areas against hundreds of enemies as they come at you wave after wave.
Now it’s time for all the technical stuff like game graphics and sound so feel free to skip this if you aren’t interested. The graphics in Future Soldier live up to the quality of all Tom Clancy games, they are absolutely top notch. I really love how every little detail is almost perfect, like how firing at enemies behind walls or crates doesn’t just create a bullet hole, but it actually destroys the scenery, taking chunks out of brick walls or cracking open wooden crates. The way you can disassemble your gun and see every component in great detail is also a brilliant tribute to how well Ubisoft have worked on developing this game. The only downside is the character design which is still brilliant, though certain things like when a character speaks and its mouth moves or when a hand is holding a phone tend to look a little stiff in my honest opinion, but that’s just me trying to find a negative in the game which isn’t easy. The sound is great too, the voice acting is excellent and everything sounds so realistic, in fact if you have an awesome sound system in your house you would actually believe you were in the middle of the battle with bullets flying left, right and centre.
Overall this is the first game I have played this year that has actually made me go out and force friends to pre-order it. The whole game is near enough perfect; the graphics and sound are impeccable, the gameplay is truly outstanding and the multiplayer has so much to offer. The only real negative I have is the Kinect integration, but even that isn’t enough to put me off as it doesn’t really play a big part in Future Soldier. If I had to pick one thing about the game as my favourite it would be how well the game was made, especially because it is a futuristic take on this game genre with the use of advanced technology, but it isn’t too advanced that you would sit their thinking it was unrealistic. So basically just go get this game, it is AMAZING.
Disclaimer: All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.