Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is a unique game in pretty much every way possible. It is certainly a nice change from the mindless run and gun shooters as every game mode, whether it be online or campaign shows you how tactics must be thought out, otherwise failure is inevitable. As the game boasts the title “Future Soldier”, it gives us an even show of what future combat may have while not going crazy with things created out of fantasy that we would never see on the battlefield. That said, all of the things used in the game are being looked into for combat by the military if not being used right now as we speak. The entire feel of the game is stealth, and it brings an entire new level of stealth gameplay to us, however the action is there in Ghost Recon: Future Soldier as it does not fall short of either.
No matter what you are doing, completing things in a stealthy manor, gives you an upper hand, whether it is to complete a challenge in campaign or keeping your position hidden from the enemy online after taking one of them out. Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, is fortunately for some and unfortunately for others a co-op based game, where have a team of people to play the game together is not just more beneficial in many ways but simply a lot more fun. Whether it is playing the campaign 4 player co-op, Guerrilla Mode (1-4 Player horde mode) or online multiplayer with the game automatically designating a team into Alpha and Beta squads it is much better of an experience with more people. As many can guess, doing things stealthy may require communication, which is much easier to accomplish with more people. Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is co-op heavy and that is one of the reasons that this review is being published after the games release as we did not feel it right to judge the game without having full as well as varying teams to play all the modes with. If you do not have friends to play the game with then you will have much less of an enjoyable experience seeing as their is no matchmaking for co-op campaign or the Guerrilla horde mode, which is something that will hopefully be updated.
For the most part you can play the game however you want to, whether it is letting the enemy know you are here, taking them out one by one or doing things stealthy. Doing things stealthy is more time consuming, taking much though at times to go about things without being detected or without an enemy finding a dead body. Some parts of the campaign even force you to not be detected, but doing it at your own will with a team of four people definitely feels good once complete as well as rewarding you with a higher Ghost Rating in the campaign. You get more points (higher Ghost rating) during a level for taking out enemies stealthy, getting Close Quarter Kills, and getting sync shots. Sync shots are a unique feature in the game as you can tag targets with the Right Bumper (or the air/land weaponized drone later on in the campaign), then once you, your team-mates and/or AI have clear shots locked (indicated by the tag changing from white to blue) firing on someones count will eliminate them instantly while going into a short slow motion scene as them drop to the ground.
During the campaign you are a squad of four, AI or not and you are forced to form a tight bond as you are literally Ghosts as your missions are classified from every other part of the military. You and your team act alone, being cut off from most of what other military squads are used too such as back up or airstrikes. Everything you do is classified to the point where no matter what the US government will not take responsibility for your actions as you must try to save Russia from themselves without anyone knowing you were involved but you and your three squad mates. Not only are things best done stealthy but every campaign mission has a tactical challenge with usually three actions that must be carried out, some time based, some stealth based along with a weapon challenge with each of these unlocking either a new weapon or weapon part for the campaign, which can make other challenges easier. Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is not all that difficult on Elite, which is the highest of the three difficulties. Even if you are playing with AI you can mark targets and order the AI to kill them. Your drone, which you must use at times can fly above the battlefield before anyone takes action to mark enemies, scout the area and can even land, going into a remote controlled drivable mode where it can be weaponized to set off a pulse charge. The AI in the game can prove useful at times however they also defy the physics you are faced with as they can run while staying cloaked as well as shoot through walls, however these thing hardly affect the actual gameplay.
You always have the ability to go into a cloaked mode, however in order to stay cloaked you must not make fast movements. This means that you can walk while crouched cloaked as well as crawl in prone cloaked, but as soon as you fire a weapon your cloak disengages. Enemies cannot detect you while cloaked from a distance but can see you when up close. Also once an enemy know you are in the vicinity by finding a dead body or spotting you at one point they are much more aware (turning from yellow targets to red) and this makes it easier for them to spot you even if you are cloaked. Before each mission begins you are advised what weaponry you should equip but can choose whatever you have at your disposal. You can also view all challenges here (while they are also viewable during the mission) and once a challenge is completed, it is saved for good so will not have to do it over. The graphics in the game vary as when a cut scene starts you can see the blatant lack of detail put into the character modules as they look nothing close to impressive where as actual gameplay, character modules are detailed from your gear to your weapon camo to some impressive landscapes one being a huge sand storm. Something such as a sand storm is when you would take advantage of another futuristic yet “in the works” item which is your magnetic view, that detects only things that have a metallic density to them, with the more metal density showing up brighter. This is one of the most useful items in your gadgets that you will not always have as it is some times swapped out for infrared vision. Of course the magnetic view is not available online for balancing issues, you can acquire a scope that has the same capabilities.
The campaign story is nothing to brag about as far as drama however it takes you all over the place, including different terrains which makes the gameplay that much more fun, while the end of the game has a twist the can leave many guessing the answers to different questions. Regardless it is very satisfying, especially in co-op as it is filled with action in a stealth based game which is hard to do. As you are forced to go stealth at times, the same goes for going gun heavy in diamond formation scenarios that has your squad form a diamond shape with the game moving your characters on its own as you fire away at onslaughts of enemies, back to back while you enjoy infinite ammo for the short yet satisfying scene. Some aspects such as that one seem to have been taken from other games like Army of Two and Splinter Cell: Conviction, however do not take away from the game as you could say the same for most titles. Some of the writing could have been better when it came to dialogue as you tend not to laugh at something that was suppose to be funny but once again this is a downside to a game that has tremendous more up sides to it.
To add to everything mentioned above, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is a Ubisoft game and for those that have been paying attention lately, this means that it has Uplay integrated into it. This means that whether you play Assassin’s Creed II or Splinter Cell: Conviction, that you may have attained Uplay points to unlock valuable things in the game whether it be a set of two weapons, an exclusive co-op map for Guerrilla mode or even some online unlocks that may give you an advantage. As always though, you can attain all the Uplay points you need to unlock all rewards in a game just by playing the game. Ghost Recon: Future Soldier takes everything a step further here by adding the Ghost Recon Network, where you can view your stats, customize weapons, loadouts and even unlock things in the game itself as well as showing you how to unlock everything. The Ghost Recon Network is viewable online on your PC as well as an Application on your Android or Apple mobile device. View everything unlockable through the game right here. There is even a Facebook game called Ghost Recon Commander that will unlock things in Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.
The one to four player co-op mode in the game called Guerrilla mode is as mentioned before just like a horde mode, when you must fend off enemies wave after wave until you reach wave 50. It saves your score for each map as well as what waves you have completed for each map. There are a bunch of pre-order bonus maps (Gamestop/Amazon) as well as a Uplay unlockable one (Rooftops) and more to come with DLC already set to be released soon with more weapons among others things too. Unlike other horde game modes, Guerrilla mode has “Wave Streaks”, which basically means if you survive a certain number of waves you will unlock certain bonuses which can be radar showing enemy positions for that round, invisibility, remote missiles, airstrikes and automatic turret guns. This adds to the game mode in a way we are not used to with it being a military third person shooter, these are the things you want as they also stay close to the theme of the game. Being able to see an enemy through a wall is a huge advantage as that wall may be one hundred percent penetrable.
When it comes to online, things change up a bit as there are three classes to choose from, however these classes have much more of a range of what they can do then a multiplayer class lets say in another shooter. You can choose from being a Scout, Engineer and Rifleman. The names of the classes seem broad because their attainable abilities are broad. The Scout is the class that can choose the snipers as their main weapon however they are also the class that chooses sub-machine guns as their main weapon. Scouts are the only class that can use cloaking in multiplayer and have a variety of unlockables unique to the other classes. As an Engineer, right off the bat you have sensors at your disposal, which shows where all the enemies are in your vicinity, even if they are cloaked, plus they can also carry shotguns which are no contest at close range. Engineers can also unlock remote UAV’s which can fly over the battlefield detecting enemies for your team-mates, but leave them exposed to fire while controlling them. Rifleman are most seen on the battlefield online is seems as they can choose between assault rifles and light machine guns as there main weapon. They also are the only class that can equip a grenade while as far as equipment they can unlock medkits and ammo boxes which will resupply them as well as their team with everything but equipment. Secondary weapons consist mostly of pistols but also stun guns, and flash bulbs temporarily blind an enemy (much less effect then a flashbang).
An entire team can be EMP’d by completing some objectives, while stunning an enemy is one of the most rewarding tactics so long as you can Data Hack them without being killed by another opposing team-mate. A successful Data Hack will not only grant you a ton on XP but will show you and your team the location of the entire enemy team wherever they are for a limited amount of time. There is a wide variety of online modes to play with each one being unique to others and other games as well. There is ‘Conflict’ where objectives are places randomly on the map one after the other, which could be hacking a terminal, defending one, protecting an HVT (high valued target) among others. ‘Decoy’ can prove to be one of most original of modes as there are three objects however only only is the real one as the others are decoys and no team knows which is the real one. In ‘Saboteur’ there is a centrally located bomb that a team must grab, take to an enemy enforced position and detonate it. Lastly there is ‘Siege’ where there are no re=spawns as the attackers must complete the objective that the defenders spawn on with out dying. Elimination of an entire team loses them the round as it is best out of three.
In addition to the standard online multiplayer there are squads, which are basically like clans but they are implemented into the game. By creating or joining a squad you can have squad matches which is 2v2 or 4v4, but you can only play with members of your squad on your team. Your squad has an overall level, playing just online outside of squad based matches gain your squad XP but playing an actual squad match against another squad gives your squad even more XP. Go up against other squads to see who is the best squad overall as your squad is tracked on a squad leaderboard, which you can also view on the Ghost Recon Network. The list goes on as there are daily friend challenges that can be sent back to friends once completed as well as decision point when leveling where you much choose one of two unlocks. Reaching level 50 with a class gives you an even more customizable version of that class while at any time you can customize headgear with each couple of levels giving you different options. Customize your weapons inside and out, with the support the Xbox 360 Kinect you can use your voice and hands to move your gun in 360 degrees. Change things from your trigger to you stock to you side rail and much more on you guns.
Overall, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is a nice change of pace and a great third-person shooter that requires the use of tactics rather then mindless versus. Not to say that the aforementioned genre is not fun at times, but is seems that when it comes to seriously competitive online shooters, it seems that first-person shooters tend to dominate the playing field. With any of the flaws that may come with Ghost Recon: Future Soldier comes even more intuitive features that are new and make the game that much more fun. You may find yourself going back to play the campaign whether to play with other friends, complete challenges or to get a higher Ghost Rating, giving the game replay value. If not that you have the in depth multiplayer system, which to ultimately dominate you will need to take to the Squad Matches. I would find it hard to believe that anyone could not find some enjoyment out of playing this game but coordinating tasks with friends in Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, are some of the most satisfying pleasures I have had in any game.