Ghost Recon: Future Soldier has been on my wish list for over two years. It was first announced for release sometime in 2010, but like most games, it suffered countless delay's. It's obvious that Ubisoft wanted Ghost Recon: FS at it's highest standards, and they have certainly succeeded.
Once again, Ubisoft have decided to stay on the futuristic path to the series. Like the previous two installments, Ghost Recon: FS is set in the near future, but it's far more advanced than the GRAW series. Whilst the series is known for it's tactical gameplay, Ghost Recon; FS focuses more on tactics and gadgets than ever before. Wheither is be in the campaign, co-op, or multiplayer. Working togeather and using gadgets is the key to sucsess in Ghost Recon: FS.
The game opens with you taking the role of a Ghost Team memeber. You are sent in with your team to investigate and secure a dirty bomb, which is heading up north. It's a decent opening, and throughout the story you will be sent to various locations, each offering use of the many high-tec gadgetary. Most objectives vairy, from securing an area, breaching a building, or defusing a bomb, for example. It's nothing that hasn't been done before in a shooter, but Ghost Recon: FS stands out on it's own. This is due to it's fantastic tactical co-op mechanics.
You can play the entire campaign in solo or co-operatively with three other friends.
The solo experience is enjoyable, and your AI team members do a great job with your commands. They are very intelligent, and help make the solo experience more rewarding. But it's the co-op that really makes the game special. You and your team will rely on each other to progress through the campaign. You will be tasked to team up in many occasions, one been breaching. The target system is one of the most helpful features. This lets you target spotted enemies so your other team members can see their position. It's similar to the one in Splinter Cell: Conviction, but instead you have three players needed to line up a shot. The other difference is that, instead of just pressing a button to take out an enemy, you must aim and shoot yourself. It works really well, and it adds to the intense co-op tactics needed when playing co-operatively.
One of the most helpful gadgets available is the drone. For fans who have played the GRAW series, the drone will be quite familiar. Although it's a bit more advance than before. This drone can not only fly above the field, allowing you to mark enemy positions, but it can also turn into a ground vehicle. It's also able to send out a sonic pulse that disables nearby electronics and stuns enemies momentarily.
Most of the mission can be completed stealthy, if you remain undetected. Thanks to your cloaking device, you can stay nearly invisible to enemies. This lets you sneak up onto enemies and take them out quietly. You can use a stealth attack by hitting them, or if you wish, shoot them with a silenced weapon. It looks great, and gives it a more intense experience. Breaking stealth will result in a large firefight. This will require you to constantly take cover, as like in COD or battlefield, you cannot run out into the open. It's very realistic, and requires some skill.
The main campaign can take roughly 10-12 hours. As well as this you can also compete in Guerilla, which is a horde type mode. Then there's the competitive multiplayer. For lots of fans, multiplayer will be a big part of the game. It's what made GRAW 2 really shine and made up for it's short campaign. Multiplayer here works extreamly well, but you might be left disappointed if you played multiplayer on previous Ghost Recon games. This is due to the lack of game types. There's no deathmatch or team deathmatch mode here, but the modes that are available are great. Conflict is one my favourite modes. Here you must complete objectives as a team. For example, downloading data from a certain point, and then try to defend it. Siege is another mode, mainly for the hardcore gamers, which has no re-spawns. Only four modes does seem slightly short, but lets hope Ubisoft bring back the traditional modes in a DLC pack.
Multiplayer is packed with tons of weapon attachment. It's overwhelming how many different attachments can be place on each weapon. From red dot sights, barrel, muzzle, to even the trigger. There's a lot to play around with, and each playable character has it's own levelling system and weapons.
In the end, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is a solid addition to the franchise. It brings back the elements from previous games and expands on it in a different way. With a perfectly portioned campaign, co-op and multiplayer, Ghost Recon FS is a welcoming and refreshing addition to the franchise.
Review by Gareth Smith