Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

Ghost Recon was created by Red Storm Entertainment (a studio part-owned by popular author Tom Clancy) more than ten years ago. Ubisoft, attracted by the success of Red Storm's earlier Rainbow Six game, scooped up the studio and they've been happily churning out Tom Clancy games together ever since.

Ghost Recon broke the mold established by its contemporaries, challenging many of the core tenets of what a first person shooter was supposed to be. From the fact that Ghost Recon replaced the typical on-screen weapon display with a simple crosshair to the way in which gameplay was structured around tactics and planning, rather than rambo-like techniques, it was immediately apparent that this was something new.

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Ghost Recon was primarily built around teamwork and the unconventional situations the ‘Ghost’ team were put in. The idea was to navigate a large level - using a realtime waypoint system to out maneuver your enemies - with just a handful of team members, then get in and get out without raising the alarm.

The series grew and started to get a following, much like Rainbow Six did, gaining additional momentum with several expansions, sequels, and spin-off titles.

As a big fan of the series, it should come as no surprise that Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter (GRAW) - a launch title for the Xbox 360 - was my first "next gen" experience. The new name heralded a host of changes to the aging franchise, however, as it strayed away from first person viewpoint and sophisticated team planning in favor of a simple command system, frequent combat, and third person camera.

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier changes things up again, with the new name your first clue to the host of changes made to the experience. If you are wanting a GRAW-like game, you’re not going to find it here; Future Soldier is more about stealth gameplay than it is about flanking and suppressing the enemy.

Future Soldier puts you in control of a Ghost operative (a fictional Group for Specialised Tactics, or GST, where the term “GHOST” comes from). I won't spoil any story details, but if you follow the series' meta-narrative, you'll be pleased to hear that some characters return from GRAW.

The game starts off with the demise of an unknown Ghost team, who bought the farm while hitting a convoy suspected of couriering a WMD in Central America. This sequence is really just about introducing the plot of the game as you press only the trigger button, while your team runs around cleaning up the mess.

Instantly, warning bells rang in my ears; I was worried at this point Ubisoft were trying to follow recent shooter trends by walking me on rails to watch - rather than play - but gladly it doesn’t last too long.

After the first two missions, it becomes evident that the gameplay of this Ghost Recon has had an overhaul from its predecessors. You are still a part of the team, but you do not issue move commands or formations to your team anymore. Instead, there's a new ‘Mark and Execute’ command set to use; taking control of a UAV (or even down the sights of your rifle) you simply tag enemies and your AI squad mates will prep and setup all on their own to await your "go" order.

Using this method, you can either target one of the four marked targets yourself, and the rest of the team will fire when you pull the trigger to perform a ‘sync shot’, or you can hold the button down and the Ghost team will take out up to three targets at once.

To help you deliver on your "avoid detection" mandate, the soldier of tomorrow has more than just the portable drone technology I alluded to earlier. They also have “Adaptive Camouflage”, a clever cloak that's on the brink of being viable in the real world. Effectively, it's like a wrap-around LCD screen that displays an image of what's behind you, making you much less visible than you would be without it. Only recently deployed in the game's fiction, it's not perfect, so it pays to be aware of its limitations when attempting to stealth around the various locations you find yourself in.

Once you get good at sneaking around, you can creep up behind enemies and perform two types of stealth kill; either a hand-to-hand type (of which there are several variations), or a silenced shot kill (which leads to a controlled shot to the head and gently placing your target on the ground). I remember seeing this in an E3 demo, but it - like the rest of the game, now that I think about it - has changed a bit since then.

Continue reading on page 2.


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Comments Comments (7)

Posted by KatalystaKaos
On Wednesday 30 May 2012 1:09 PM
Thanks for the review NZgamer I was on the fence with this, worried it was just Ubi's cash in on the MW wagon. Looks like a bit of thought is required rather than just lining up your sites, will pick this up at some point.
Posted by Mongrel_Rob
On Wednesday 30 May 2012 1:46 PM
I'm still in two minds as to whether I'm going to get this. The MP beta really put me off, as it was such departure from the GRAWs before it. But from the sound of it the campaign is looking quite decent, and perhaps the different MP will grow on me, and should make a nice change from my usual CoD...
Posted by ReaperCrew
On Wednesday 30 May 2012 3:34 PM
I've played some of the campaign and most multiplayer modes and so far pretty much agree with all that Luke has written. GRFS is different to GRAW, but I also find it different to CoD, BF, etc which helps make the experience unique.

It gets obvious pretty quick that good team work is essential if you want to survive for long and/or successfully attack or defend the various objectives in multiplayer. Having a mic/headset, although not essential, can quickly go along way to help a fire team co-ordinate well and be successful in the field.

My only current frustration during MP is the lag (which varies between slight and unplayable) and the occasional loss of connection to the servers (possibly due to the lag). Hopefully the dev teams will resolve the server performance issues in the near future.
Posted by jtbthatsme
On Wednesday 30 May 2012 6:16 PM
This game does look and sound pretty good from what i've read and seen and your review is good too. I do wonder how you get 8.9 from your 4 scores averaging only 8.....
Posted by Digitaldude
On Wednesday 30 May 2012 7:20 PM
30 May 2012, 06:16 PM Reply to jtbthatsme
This game does look and sound pretty good from what i've read and seen and your review is good too. I do wonder how you get 8.9 from your 4 scores averaging only 8.....
Its not an average.
Game looks good, I rather liked the beta, might pick it up soon.
Posted by haydengies
On Wednesday 30 May 2012 8:33 PM
Looks mean as but I don't want to buy it until I know how good it is but It looks good :)
Posted by stepa780
On Monday 4 Jun 2012 6:12 PM
Looks intense!