The target my team and I need to rescue is in a shipping container located inside an industrial facility; and it’s crawling with bad guys. I launch a drone into the air to give me a birds-eye view of where they’re located. My team takes up positions on a bridge while I sneak through the river to the other side. I silently sneak up on one guy and take him down. I slowly move from cover to cover, my adaptive camouflage making me nearly invisible, as I work my way to the backside of the facility. Another enemy on patrol is silently disposed of. I take up position and shoot a guard on a balcony. I mark two enemies for my team while I focus on a third, and we simultaneously take them down. Finally the alert goes up and a firefight breaks out. The bad guys focus fire on my team on the bridge, not realizing I’m behind them. The fight is intense and explosive, but short. Soon the area is clear and the target is in our care. This is Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, and this is a different, more thoughtful type of shooter.
Ghost Recon is a refreshing change of pace from the high-adrenaline shooting gallery of Call of Duty r the explosive destruction of Battlefield. Oh, there are big moments and intense firefights, and there are destructible environments (it’s always satisfying using a sensor to spot a guy behind a wall and then taking him down by shooting through the wall), but Future Solider tasks you to use your head as much as your trigger finger. One of the first questions I was asked about this game was whether or not there are a lot of stealth missions. Yeah, there are those, but they’re well paced with more fast-paced, intense action moments, and sometimes those moment fade in and out of one another. A level may start stealthy and end in an all-out firefight. Ghost Recon is a tactical shooter that’s more methodical and thoughtful than something like Call of Duty, and if that’s not your cup o’ tea, then don’t even try it. But if you’d like a change of pace from the standard frantic shooter (although there are plenty of frantic moments in this one), this game is one you shouldn’t miss.
Ghost Recon: Future Solider is a mix of the great tactical elements of the franchise (still love doing a breach, always a thrill), mixed with some new elements from Splinter Cell: Conviction (specifically the ability to mark targets and do a simultaneous take-down) along with some Gears of War. The cover system borrows a lot from Gears, but feels right at home here. While in cover, just hold down a button and you’ll run, slide, leap, or in some manner get to that cover. It’s smooth and works great for finding a flanking position during a firefight. I’ve already mentioned the simultaneous take-downs you can do with your team, but it is one of the most satisfying moments in a game. Plus, did I mention you get a mech to play with? Oh yeah. It’s called a Warhound, and it’s awesome. So solid third-person shooter mechanics with some fresh additions from other titles all adds up to to a really fun shooter, if you don’t mind a slower but just as fun and intense pace.
The game also seems to borrow a bit from the Bad Company series in that it tries to humanize the members of the Ghost squad. Bad Company provided some great characters that were funny, endearing, and ones that you actually cared for. I like that Ghost Recon tries to take a more personal approach with Future Soldier, but it’s not always successful. There are moments where the banter helps reinforce that these guys are truly brothers-in-arms, but other times where it tries too hard and it just doesn’t work because of clunky dialogue or stiff animations or voice work that isn’t quite convincing. It’s not all bad, but it also doesn’t quite succeed.
All-in-all, my first few hours with Ghost Recon: Future Soldier have been a lot of fun. It’s a great change of pace from other shooters, forcing you to think before you shoot, to plan ahead, and use your team and tech wisely. Toss in some awesome co-op features and some solid multiplayer (which I’ll talk more about in our full review), and this is a game that doesn’t stray too far from its roots while adding in some elements from the modern shooter genre. If you like team-work and tactics, along with some pretty cool tech in you shooter, you need to join up with the Ghosts.