Being a fan of the 'Ghost Recon' series from Ubisoft, I was spirited to spring into the new exploits of the “ghosts”. Expecting a few new tricks from their lengthy console hiatus, the majority rules system applies; the "ghosts" are back. While the appeal of the 'Advanced Warfighter' has numbed over the years, 'Future Soldier' is a "step in the right direction" and will please anyone looking for an excellent squad-based shooter.
Switching up its war-time eloquence, GRFS ('Ghost Recon: Future Soldier') method shapes a more aggressive and cinematic experience. With the obligatory shaky-cam stylization, Ubisoft's goal to make 'Future Soldier' more visceral, is a success. Call it the “Call of Duty” approach, but it works. Sure, GRFS just another “war shooter”, however; the modern spin on squad combat builds its own niche. In comparison to the prior games, it's a considerable adjustment, but one that seems to fit. Characterization is a bit stronger and with a more personal approach you can believe in the tale without being bombarded with over-the-top characters; think “Battlefield 3”, not “Bad Company".
Interionic, 'Future Soldier' is trying to be more "bad-ass" while keeping the action as real as possible with the series. 'Future Soldier' is a tactical combat shooter that feels just as intense and immersive as "Advance Warfighter"; if anything, the game is "tighter." Digging deeper into its core, the ghosts have also been outfitted with more gadgets to help the team “cheat”, umm...I mean, take the advantage on the battleground. Sporting fancy optics, sensor gadgets and a team of uber precise A.I. squad-mates. The enemies really don't stand a chance (well, sometimes.) This is a game that favours your team but doesn't give you everything. Like prior recon missions bumping up the difficulty improves the sense of achievement, however; the bottom line remains the same.
To create an improved sense of adrenaline, more “action-esq” sections have been added, thankfully these "scripted" moments never detract from the brain powered shoot-outs. Quick jumping from cover-to-cover, stealth oriented sequences all fit nicely into the normal "shooting" gameplay. 'Future Soldier' also clicks in several timed objectives along with their newly added dynamic shoot angels. It might not have happened, but rest assured Ubisoft has distinctively adapted to the new formula of the modern shooter.
If you're really curious about what is behind the motives of the “ghosts”, you are tasked with searching down the origins of a bomb that took out another ghost squad. This terrorism tale of organized weapon traffickers spans over many diversified locations around the globe including Pakistan and Norway. While as a whole, it's not overly stimulating but when it's broken down by objectives, the pacing and minor-objectives pull the game together.
What does grab our attention is the new 'gunsmith' feature which is utterly insane for those who are interested in building their own custom weapons. The selections for dissecting each weapon is staggering and fun to explore. Never before have we seen this level of detail and obsession in crafting a weapon. From the typical magazine and stalk options all the way up to changing the trigger or your under-barrel; gun fanatics, you will be in your glory. Of course modding your weapon is completely optional, but the more parts you unlock, the more curious you will be. Although, no matter how “cool” it is to craft these detailed firearms, it is unnecessary in the grand scale of the game and how it relates to the gameplay. Take it or leave it, this is a noteworthy addition that is worth the attention its been garnering.
Beyond "pimping out" your firearms, 'Future Soldier' is copious on its new "wizard tech". The most stand out gizmo is their “active camouflage” suits (picture the Predator's cloaking device.) Activated when crouched, 'Future Solider' gets futuristic quick with this partial cloaking device. Unlike what you might expect, cloaking isn't a game breaker, it helps keep you undetected, sure, but it's still properly balanced to provide somewhat of a challenge. Highlighting another suave feature is the ability to mark up to four targets and gun them down in a synchronous motion. Extremely handy in stealth missions, this tool can induce feelings of megalomania (insert evil laugh) when you start mowing over your foes with ease. In their defense to not making you a squad of death, Ubisoft keeps the pressure. However, even with all the enemies aggressively confronting, the magically wizardry is just a bit too much. Am I complaining? Not really because its all the part of the fun of being a "ghost".
As expected the technical achievements are solid. The sound is crisp with that gritty war-zone feel. Equally impressive are the graphics that boast lifelike environments and "ghosts" in high detail. Other highlights wed the special effects, from simple additions like smoke clouds to the different lighting effects. Although strong throughout, facial and skeletal animation shows some blemishes when looking outside the main characters. Plus, if you are hiding behind a small section of cover, characters blend into one another like a transcendental portal opened on each others body. Beyond a few minor grips, GRFS is impressive and a major step up for the series.
Multiplayer is a big part of 'Future Soldier.' This fully rounded experience that encourages players to get online with friends. It's filled with several ways to depose and interact with one another, each game always feels like a new experience. Either playing cooperatively or competitively in four different modes, teamwork is key. Using teamwork, which is always fun with strangers, the shining moment comes when using different tech. This makes "ho-hum" modes like your typical deathmatch more interesting. It also makes their 'horde mode' much more varied. Named 'Guerilla' this is another run-of-the-mill adaption that actually works quite well online; and better yet, split-screen is available. No way is 'Future Soldier' going to draw you away from the other big shooters for too long, however; while you're online - you will enjoy your time.
In its fifth installment, 'Ghost Recon: Future Soldier' provides another satisfying action-packed run as the highly armoured Ghost team. In basics, 'Future Soldier,' is another cover-based shooter that plays up its use of high tech gadgets, squad formations and tactical teamwork. Sure, it might not sound like much on paper, but the quality of the campaign and host of fully loaded multiplayer features, 'Future Soldier' ends up being one of the years most entertaining co-op shooters. Solid.
Similar Games: GR Advanced Warfighter (9.0) | GR Advanced Warfighter (9.5)