Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

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Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

Post by Tomenaki » 27 May 2012, 19:40


Ghost Recon is an ongoing Tom Clancy series, made by Ubisoft, which began back in 2001. It was your simple squad-based combat game where you controlled a group of 4 Ghosts (special ops team) and worked through various missions throughout the game. While I never played any of the others besides this one, I have seen enough of them played to know they weren't my type of game. The third person shooter, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (GRFS), adds a revamped stealth element to the gameplay which really plays to my type of gameplay. I have been looking forward to this game since I heard about its release back in 2010. One thing that really helped me get psyched up about Ghost Recon: Future Soldier was the fact that it was basically Metal Gear Solid 4 with a squad of other people. Needless to say, it has not disappointed.

Future Soldier begins with a bang as you control another squad of Ghosts as they go through a mission. It, unfortunately, ends in their deaths and thus the current team of, Kozak, 30K, GhostLead, and Pepper must take up the mission to find the masterminds behind the bomb that blew up their comrades. The story stretches across 12 missions to find the group essentially responsible for the bomb that blew up the other Ghost team at the beginning. I'm sure you can blaze through the story, but it took me a good 7-10 hours to finish it. You go through each mission, going up the chain of command in the criminal organization in order to find the head honchos. All the while, you have story aspects thrown in between the gameplay which add more to the relationship of the Ghost team. One thing I have to say I like in the story is the banter and relationships with each of the Ghosts in the team. Their conversations seem to mimic those in units of the same type and shows that they work as a cohesive unit, but also have fun with each other. The overarching story can seem a bit weak or disjointed, but I see nothing wrong with a mission-based story since it's normal for there to be long periods of nothing between missions in the military.

As I stated above, this is a stealth-based, cover-based, third-person shooter and it plays quite well to all of those aspects. I must warn you, though, the game is not at all easy, even on the lowest setting I had more deaths than I care to count, and it's not as if I am horrible at this type of game. Getting to cover can sometimes be a bit tricky or sticky when you want to move from it, but overall it's quite well implemented. Before you think you can simply run through the levels guns blazing, you will be destroyed quite quickly if you try that. Perhaps going for realism, the Ghosts are nowhere near as resilient as you may be used to in similar games. Even compared to Splinter Cell: Conviction, these guys can take perhaps 4 or5 good hits before falling. You, however, have plenty of time to be healed by one of your three teammates. You must, must, MUST play smart in this game or you will end up dead very quickly. This game also features a similar "Mark and Execute" system such as Splinter Cell: Conviction where you can mark up to 4 targets and you and your team will be able to take out each person with a perfectly timed Sync Shot. It adds a nice layer of breathing room to the game, either leaving you to focus on one area or to simply take out enemies that will be ale to see you. It could make certain areas easy, but I found that the game balances things well even with that skill at your disposal.

You also have the aspect of Optical Camo where you basically cloak into the surrounding area in order to stay undetected. This camo only works if you're crouched or not running and it's not as if the enemies can't see you at all depending on how close to them you are. It does, however, make the stealth element of the game more enjoyable. There's something viscerally pleasurable about sneaking up behind an enemy cloaked, taking him out with a shot to the back of the head, and laying him down on the ground without alerting a single soul. You will use the camo a lot in the game, so get used to using it to your advantage.

I feel as though I should mention the A.I. in the game. In short, you could not ask for better partners. They are perfect shots, come to heal you when you're down, and will never be detected by enemies. You're the idiot that causes that most of the time, usually to horrible consequences. It's rare that your partners go down, so you won't have to heal them much unless they fall in the process of keeping you alive.

Future Soldier introduces a new Gunsmith mode where you can go in and customize the weapons you take into the mission with you to your hearts content. Want a powerful machine gun to mow down waves of enemies? You can customize it to do just that. Need a silenced sniper rifle that can see ridiculous distances across the map? You can do that too. Want a good all-around assault rifle for any use? There's plenty of those you can customize for your characters as well. I found myself just playing around with Gunsmith for a while to find the best mix of parts until I had a weapon that fit my style of play perfectly.

Future Soldier also features Co-op in the main campaign, as well as your typical Multiplayer mode and a new Guerrilla mode where you have to fight off 50 waves of enemies. I was quite happy to see that the campaign had co-op (which you can leave and the computer will take over your spot) so you and friends could play through the story as the kickass Ghost team you know you are. The Multiplayer features several modes, each with different aspects such as capturing a bomb, placing it, and detonating it, simple timed matches to see who kills the most people, or the unforgiving Siege mode where there is no respawning. If you die, you're out for that round. Personally, the Multiplayer is quite unbalanced for those just joining, and yet still somewhat unforgiving for those trying to level up the various classes. I'm not very good with the Scout or Engineer class, but you have to work on them in order to get better weapons and unlock parts for your guns. I take slight issue with this because I think what you put into the campaign should help open things up for multiplayer so you're not at the back of the pack with level 1 gear. I've played worse Multiplayer, and I don't hate it in this game, but I feel like they could improve it quite a bit. It's fun with friends, and not too bad when it's just random people, but it's not what I plan to focus on later in the game.

From the first few screen shots of Future Soldier, they have only worked on improving the graphics in the game. The Ghosts and areas look very good despite running on an older engine (though it's been highly modified for this game). I take issue with the faces of characters in the game, though. That is one of the places where the YETI engine shows its age, but seeing as you spend most of the game with a mask on, looking over your shoulder, or cloaked, I'm fine with somewhat sub-par face graphics. You can only do so much with an older engine. The cloaking effects are perfect, though, and it's always great to see the cloak cover the Ghosts. The areas are all fairly unique and their textures definitely work well. There are some rare instances of screen-tearing in scenes, but overall the graphics hold up to the pedigree of the game.

Future Soldier features returning composer, Tom Salta, who has done a good deal of the music in the series, and introduces the electronica group, Hybrid for the soundtrack. Despite this somewhat odd sounding mix, both composers work quite well for the atmosphere and feel of the music in the game. I will show a few examples below.

Conspiracy - Hybrid
- Welcome to the world of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.

Nicaragua - Tom Salta
- Salta returns with an interesting change in style than I'm used to, but it still plays very well to the first mission in the game.

Nimble Guardian - Tom Salta
- A bit of hispanic flair thrown into this one.

Refugee Camp - Tom Salta
- This is your first "Don't be detected" mission, and it plays quite well to that. Much more ambient and toned down.

Shanty Blitz - Hybrid
- Another ambient piece which I think fits the game quite well.

Noble Tempest - Hybrid
- Quite the oppressive feel to this one.

Peshawar - Hybrid
- This is definitely not a place you want to be stuck in for long. I do like the overall feel of the song though.

Tiger Dust - Hybrid
- I really like the inclusion of vocals to this one and the mix of styles. There's a bit of electronic, some symphonic, and a bit of ethnic as well.

Silent Talon - Hybrid
- Welcome to Ghost recon: The Movie.

Firefly Rain - Tom Salta
- Salta returns with a great ambient piece. I believe this is another "don't be detected" mission.

Ember Hunt - Tom Salta
- Another more ambient piece, but it plays well into the game.

Nemesis - Tom Salta
- Run run run RUN! In all seriousness, though, it's quite the nice orchestral track which really screams "you should get out of here as fast as possible". Also, welcome to Russia.

Stampede - Tom Salta
- Tom Salta pulls out a dubstep-like song for the game, which totally caught me off guard when I heard it on the soundtrack. Still a good tune, though.

Welcome Aboard - Hybrid
- The first bit of low notes should tell you enough about this song. It's oppressive and ambient.

Deck - Hybrid
- This just kind of grows into a somewhat creepy theme.

Air Ride - Hybrid
- This sticks to a more action-based feel which works quite well. It also changes up halfway through the song as well.

Ghost Recon - Tom Salta
- You didn't think they'd give the main theme to anyone else, did you? I like what Salta has thrown in here though, makes the track quite amazing.

Future Soldier - Hybrid
- Of course the theme to this game goes to Hybrid, who brings their own brand of amazing to the franchise.

The music to this game, to me, is quite stunning and fits the near-future world of the setting. It has elements of orchestra and symphonic tones as well as ethnic ones and electronic aspects as well. I was leery of having Hybrid do any of the music, but their collaboration with Tom Salta has proven to be a very good thing for this game.

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is at it's core, a very good game. The gameplay aspects are solid, the story is fairly good albeit somewhat typical, the characters have some great banter, it looks good graphically, and it has some great music. It requires a little polish here and there, and I wish there was more connectivity between the campaign and multiplayer. I also wish there was a split-screen mode for the campaign as well, but alas it is not so. Outside of these issues, though, I am quite pleased with what the game has to offer. The campaign is definitely the strong suit of the game, which I am very happy for since recent games seem to be focusing on multiplayer instead. I can see great things in the franchise if they keep up this type of game and gameplay going.

Story: 7/10
Gameplay (Campaign): 9/10
Gameplay (Multiplayer): 8/10
Graphics: 8.7/10
Music: 9/10
Overall Score: 8.5/10

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