Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
PS3, XBOX, PC
The Tom Clancy series has always been a mixture of showing off the military tactics of the United States armed forces and the premise of technologies that evolve and revolutionize warfare to help them rid the world of enemies whether they are foreign or domestic.
Five years have passed since the last Ghost Recon game which was affectionately known as GRAW2 (aka Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2) that had graced the PS3, XBOX360 and the PC. Making an appearance at several past E3 shows with its fluid combat and devastating killshots to enemies, the Ghosts seemed to have made an impression on the world, myself included in the lead up to its release.
As the Eleventh title in the Ghost Recon series for Tom Clancy, is Future Soldier just another military game with the same tactics, the same gadgets and the ‘oorah’ male bravado that is modern soldiering of today? Or have Ubisoft hit another bullseye with this latest installment?
“It’s a good day in the office” for the Ghosts, saving the world is just another day on the field. A ghost team, call sign “Predator”, ambush a convoy in Nicaragua on a mission to disrupt weapons trafficking in the region. After downing all hostiles, the team investigate the transport truck, but upon finishing the inspection, an IED (improvised explosive device) attached to the cargo goes off, killing the team with it.
This marks the start of a chain of events that leads another ghost team, call sign “Hunter” to pursue and investigate the origins of the bomb that murdered the Ghost Squad “Predator”. This pursuit of sanctioned justice by the U.S Government sees the new Ghost Team travel all over the globe, in several hotspots and in several cold spots as well find the perpetrators
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (GRFS) comes with very shiny ‘bells and whistles’ so to speak. With the layout for controls, and in this case played on the PS3, every button seems to be used well. Shoulder buttons, the R3 and L3 buttons are used quite effectively, though like anything else it can be still abit weird to get used to in the beginning. The button layouts are standard, your shoot button, weapon switch from primary to secondary, your equipment button and of course grenade button. All are there as if it were for any normal shooter (in this case, a tactical shooter)
But first, GRFS comes in with several modes, Campaign, Multiplayer and Guerrilla Mode. Campaign mode is self explanatory, though the twist since GRAW2 is that the game runs with four men, players initially take control of Staff Sargeant Kozak for the entire game (if playing without co op). Kozak is accompanied by Ghost Leader Captain Cedric Ferguson, Master Sargeant Robert “Pepper” Bonifacio and Sargeant First Class Jimmy “30K” Ellison. Each character have their own special weapons and loadouts if playing in co-op, but as computer controlled they all operate the same.
Multiplayer Mode is actually also named as “Adversarial Mode”. Several sub modes comprise of Conflict, Decoy, Sabotage and Siege. Conflict is mainly objective based where players vary in mission types from capturing sensors that give away enemy positions to EMP (Electronic Magnetic Pulse) blasts that knocks out your enemies HUD (Heads up display). Decoy pits both teams to reach 3 objectives randomly on a map to retrieve a “key”. Both teams have no idea which holds the key but only one objective holds the prize. Sabotage is planting a bomb in your oppositions base. Lastly Siege mode is the one that players will need to take care as you only have one life to eliminate the other team, first to 3, wins.
The twist is, is that GRFS supports co-op in campaign mode where players can jump in and fight all missions with human players. The only downside to this is, if even one person exits from the session, the session will restart and players will play with the computer as that character. This can lead to frustration if people for example have a horrible internet connection.
Like GRAW2 there are some new additions that will enable gamers to really get an advantage over their opposition. One of them is a camera drone. Drones are remote controlled devices that have a camera attached and they can mark and highlight enemy positions. Sensor grenades can be acquired and thrown to acquire and highlight enemy positions. This may sound unfair, but like the games motto “Only the dead, fight fair”
Each weapon in the game can be modified to suit your firing/fighting style. If you need more ammo to a sniper rifle, throw in a larger magazine, need sights on your pistol? Just put an optical sight, need to change the type of trigger from semi-auto to match trigger? You are able to do it. No sweat. This can all be done in the “Gunsmith” option, like
blacksmith for swords, Gunsmith for guns. Tweaking and adjusting your gun is the way to get the edge over your opponents in multiplayer. If you go stock standard, I would say good luck in your aiming. The Gunsmith is a great feature to really personalize and get the best out of your weapon, and the longer the skirmish and if you run out of ammunition, you’ll need to scavenge for another weapon on the field, that’s if you have survived quite long or you just have an itchy trigger finger.
For your classes of soldiers, theres the Engineer, Rifleman and Recon. Recon are snipers though they do also use sub-machine guns. Outfitted with less ammunition, can run faster and the only class of character that has optical camouflage. Rifleman are the well balanced of the classes handling rifles and can handle heavy machine guns and have the most ammunition, they are also more protected in the torso area for body shots. Tip like any tactical shooter game, aim for the head. The Engineer like to get real close, mainly with PDW’s (Personal Defence Weapons) which are a nice balance of rifle for medium range engagements and can wield powerful shotguns.
Everyone has a sound system, hopefully it’s a decent system and it isn’t mediocre as just a few speakers attached to a monitor (that’s me, but I have an excuse, I’m rebuilding my home theatre system!) the sounds of GRFS is in a word, crisp. Very, very crisp sounds ranging from footsteps in the snow to engaging multiple targets in front, behind and from your flanks. What has been carried since GRAW2 as well is speech from your squadmates when they call out potential targets and descriptions. Squadmates remain quiet when pointing out targets, but once you get into a firefight, the start to shout, so it adds depth and realism that if you are playing with just the computer in campaign mode, they are very descriptive and I can say on several occasions they have helped me out in a jam when I haven’t seen any other targets to down.
Sounds from your weapons is really, really great. The detail of a gunshot report, whether the weapon has a suppressor on it to the booming of a sniper rifle, absolutely authentic. What has been revealed via Ubisoft is that all weapons used in the game are authentic sound from the real world weapons used. Again, this adds to realism and quality, and if there is one thing that scores brownie points with myself in playing games, is quality.
GRFS from the E3 presentations in the leadup to its release looked really good. The fluidity of the character model movements, the transitioning from cover to cover and firefighting looked excellent. The attention to detail of the soldiers, enemies and their gear is quite impressive.
Though the only drawbacks, and this is very very small, is the colours for the locations that you will be conducting your missions in. The colours schemes both affect the campaign mode and the multiplayer maps. It feels bland, and though details for say swaying leaves and the wind kicking up dust do look great in terms of the detail being added in, the colours again just aren’t flashy. No doubt, myself as a gamer can understand that this game shouldn’t have obscene colours or colourful palettes for its surroundings. It’s a tactical shooter, with serious locales with the colours that represent those locations with weather and fighting your opposition.
The latest installment of Ghost Recon is a game that does have some serious fun to it. A lot of games are trying to get away from the stagnant First Person Shooters like the Call of Duty’s of today, but this tactical shooter does muscle its way with some new in-game tech that can be used and new features. But primarily the game, isn’t outstanding in its innovation. For 5 years to wait and play a game that does not see a longer campaign or has anything groundbreaking in terms of ‘ground breaking features’ is where this game falters.
No doubt there is nothing wrong with rehashing or going by the same formulas for a game, but in 2012, gamers today garner for the more creativity, like the movies struggle for new stories. Its innovation and creativity that will win gamers, GRFS is a game that can fill that void until the newer games come out, and that isn’t a bad thing.
Get it. The game has and did have promise. Though in this day and age of separating the shooters of the Call of Duty’s and the Gears of War’s/SOCOM’s, it unfortunately has filed into a single file line of video game titles that won’t necessarily be famous but it will be played just to be experienced. This isn’t necessarily bad, but this isn’t necessarily good either.