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Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Review

 

The father of modern FPS returns

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Ghost Recon: Future Soldier’s development history is similar to its Tom Clancy branded and Ubisoft published brethren Splinter Cell Conviction. Both games debut early but were delayed for an indefinite period of time and both ultimately took a drastic change that turned its ordinary convention on its heads, breathing new life into both franchises. They share similar threads of gameplay DNA, with Future Soldier’s Ghosts taking down several enemy combatants with the press of a button; similar to Conviction’s “Mark and Execute” mechanic. However, it’s a team effort compared to Conviction's one-man show.  Ghost Recon quickened the pace and added a more call of duty-esque setting to it as compared to Conviction’s fast paced stealth. An emphasis on a stealthier approach to combat throughout the game further reinforces comparisons with Conviction, with your Ghost now able to sneak up on foes and deliver takedowns.

The Ghost Recon series has long been known for prioritizing careful planning, tactics and stealth over a quick trigger finger, though the precise definition of tactics has changed since the first game. The Original Ghost Recon had a sense of tension that saw you leading your squad of well-armed soldiers through the underbrush, forest and desert, knowing all the while that a single bullet would mean life and death. A premise so mercilessly hardcore and so focused on patience and stealth was never going to survive into the mass market of regenerating health, though it’s still a surprise to find that the latest instalment of the series has dropped even squad command from the single-player game.

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Improving a series built on such a legacy has been tried without success in recent years, Sony’s SOCOM and Codemaster’s Operation Flashpoint series fell short of expectations as they tried to seek new horizons and tweaked the formula that carried them up in the first place. Future Soldier, however, prevails where those two titles stumbled. The action is more kinetic, charged and louder, but it maintains the illusion of realism, and entertains with its roller coaster of set pieces and measured, varied objectives.

As with many modern shooters, you are pretty much never in charge of routes and all you do is just follow from one objective marker to the next and although the maps have much more width and pathways as compared to the infamous trip wire corridors of modern FPS. But the game would still resort to the nefarious trick of “warning” you when you stray too far away from the action.. The AI is solid, your fellow Ghosts would walk together in formation, taking cover and calling out hostiles; the mechanics are decent; it all just feels right. Future Soldier may have captured the mind numbing tension of the first game, but what it does it does excellently.

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Is Future Soldier worth it? Yes, easily. There’s a great deal of content here for the money, and a set of high-level weapon unlocks, combined with challenges to complete on every mission, should keep you coming back to the single-player or co-op games as to the online versus modes. Dismal story aside, this is a solid, professional, deeply enjoyable product. Like the Ghosts themselves, it’s so good at what it does that you run the real risk of not noticing how superbly it’s doing it.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Written by Kenny Chen KangYi
Article syndicated from POPCulture Online
© POPCulture Online 2012