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Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Review

Over its decade long legacy, the Ghost Recon franchise has endured a succession of substantial changes. Once a taut, tactics-heavy simulation tasking players with managing multiple teams across vast battlefields, more recent entries in the series have gradually gravitated toward visceral action, echoing the more intimate firefights popularized by other consoles shooters. The recent release of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 finds the title emulating the trajectory of sister series Splinter Cell. Much like Conviction, the operators from Delta Company bring in only the swiftest of strategic options in order to sustain a break-neck pace.

One of the virtues of the Ghost Recon series has been its collection of high-tech weaponry, all modeled after purported military prototype. Here Future Solider excels, bestowing everything from sensor grenades capable of discerning foes to magnetic vision that is used to identify armed personnel amidst situations of limited visibility. Although optical camouflage may sound like preposterous science-fiction, as it provides Ghosts with a fluctuating chameleon-like appearance- the device is depicted with a convincing set of limitations. Moving too fast, too close, or instigating a muzzle flash will quickly alert any enemies to your position. From performing drone-enabled recon to overpowering combatants with a massive, cover-creating mech, Future Solider understands that having the technological upper-hand is unswervingly mesmerizing.

While skulking about clandestinely and exploiting the weaknesses of outmatched enemies of fun, the game rarely conveys the sensation that players are behind the battlefield brainstorming. Habitually, Future Soldier’s restricted pathways and automatic fail conditions force gamers to play by the title’s prescribed set of tactics, instead of providing an open-ended sandbox of variable strategies. Ideally, Ghost Recon wouldn’t abruptly end the game for a triggered alarm- instead forcing players into a formidable firefight against an empowered enemy.

Despite this fault, the game’s core campaign has a number of notable potencies. Future Soldier’s ally AI is a step above its peers, with teammates acting autonomously, by healing downed Ghosts and gunning down aggressors. Alternatively, CPU-controlled players know how to restrain their trigger finger, generally acting like well-trained soldiers instead of fresh out of boot camp rookies. When the opportunity to engage multiple hostiles presents itself, players are able to mark multiple targets, triggering a breathtaking display of coordination, as all four Ghosts send a quartet of foes slumping lifelessly to the ground, recalling Conviction’s invigorating Mark and Execute mechanic. Playing the game’s campaign cooperatively with a group of online participants, Future Soldier’s ambiance is radically changed, with the game cultivating a nice sense of camaraderie as players creep along, dispatching antagonists like a coldly efficient killing machine.

Although Tom Clancy titles traditionally shuttle players across the obligatory geo-political hotshots, Future Soldier is especially fluid. Flinging players across the globe into divergent locales like arid Nigerian deserts, Russian forests, and Norwegian tundra, each of the game’s twelve stages offer engaging set-pieces such as a fierce engagement in the middle on an obscuring dust storm. Woefully, the game’s finale delivers a firefight which overstays its welcome, abandoning Ghost Recon’s more strategic and signature concepts for far too long.

Beyond the title’s eleven hour campaign are two additional time sinks: the cooperative wave-based Guerilla Mode as well as a robust multiplayer component. The former is Future Soldier’s version of Modern Warfare 3’s Spec Ops supplement, challenging group of players to withstand an onslaught of increasingly abundant and powerful enemies. While playable by a single participant, success beyond a handful of stages requires a team, as the mode typically requires players to defend an area against a throng of flanking foes. Building on the recent beta, Ghost Recon’s multiplayer nicely carves its own niche, offering a selection of well-scrutinized maps filled brimming with cover. Coupled with the fragility of soldiers, victory on the online battlefield demands precision and patience, endowing the online arenas with a district vibe. The spoils of war are quite pleasing; triumph rewards the players with the ability to modify their arsenal in the game’s compelling enchanting Gunsmith module. With options for a variety of optics, magazines, stocks, muzzles, grips, and side rail devices, playing virtual armorer is undeniably engaging.

The evolution of the Ghost Recon franchise from uncompromising simulation to a widely accessible shooter was enviable. Following the disbandment of Zipper Interactive as well as Codemaster’s Operation Flashpoint team, the audience for hardnosed military verisimilitude seems to have all but disappeared. Pleasingly, Ubisoft’s Red Storm, Paris, and Romania teams have streamlined just enough tactical elements into Ghost Recon: Future Solider to distinguish the game from its action-oriented contemporaries. As with most Tom Clancy titles, the ability to toy with tomorrow’s tech will prove to be an irresistible temptation and one that’s ultimately worth a full-price purchase for those with a fetish for firearms and associated gear.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

110 comments

  1. Deagle, I have to trust your review on this one! You’re in your element on this one.

  2. Wow, really good review. Much more fair than the 7.0 from Vox and Gamespot.

    • Ugh. Didn’t like Arthur Gies reviews for IGN and he hasn’t changed at Polygon. His review are just a long list of complaints that barely mention what the game does RIGHT. Someone pour some Xanax in the guy’s coffee, please.

  3. Thanks Des, I was mainly interested in the SP game and couldn’t find how long/how many levels there were anywhere.

    SO each stage is about an hour long?

  4. Really good review. I don’t see too many complaint coming from this one.

    Funny thing is I downloaded the beta but never got in on time. I heard once they got the matchmaking fixed, it was really funny.

  5. thanks for the info, DEagle. Have you played Arma II and it’s expansions? I’m thinking you’d like that.

    As for GR:FS, how the difficulty. Too easy, too hard?

  6. The name of the game is TOM CLANCY’S Ghost Recon:Future Soldier.

    • Why not just call it Ubisoft presents Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier powered by Kinect?

  7. I’m hoping this comes in the mail today. Why so slow, Amazon (non prime). In the meantime, I’m reading the review.

  8. Take this review with a grain of salt. It’s a known fact that DesertEagle faps to Guns n’ Ammo. 😉

  9. Good review, Deagle. A could have used a bit more MP talk, but then we would have heard “it’s too long”

  10. All the HUD stuff looks cool in screenshots, but the circles around guns and writing in the air and all that is distracting. I wish there was a way to turn it all off.

  11. How many maps are in Guerilla mode and multiplayer?

  12. Got it with a free Redbox rental and really liked it. SP and MP are both pretty good. Managed to get through 3 missions.

  13. Great write-up, I enjoyed reading every word.

    I’d love to write for your site and think I’m pretty good at reviewing. What’s the best way to contact the editor?

  14. Love the review. Especially the part about how missions just end, which seems unrealistic. Tried playing Guerrilla on my own and got schooled by wave 10. You didn’t mention in game challenges that give rewards.

  15. Just waiting for Rainbox Six. I always like that series more.

  16. I’ll probably pick this up today. About the review- doesn’t BF3 and MW3 have things like UAV’s and AC-130? That’s kind of strategic…

  17. GR deserves nothing less than a “A”/100.

  18. I rented from Redbox and I immediately loved it, which I didn’t expect. Totally buying this tomorrow! Great review 🙂

    Who wants to play some MP?

  19. Might have to grab it this weekend.

  20. game looks good. will pick it up soon.

  21. What I’ve seen of the multiplayer kind of reminded me of SOCOM, which is very good in my book.

  22. I also downloaded the beta demo and never got around to trying it out. I think I may have to correct that now.

  23. Jared Z (@Darklurkr23)

    I played the demo it looked kind of fun. I hope they up the health in the real game cause you die in like 1 shot and I hate taht in games, but I’d still love to win it!

  24. Was gonna skip gettin this game but your reviews makin me think twice lol

  25. wildbillhickcock

    i am a huge fan of the series and thanks for the review/contest

  26. Ghost Recon FTW!

  27. Was kinda hoping that the main campaign was split-screen co-op-able so I could play it with the misses, but I’ve always enjoyed the Tom Clancy tactical shooters anyway. Thanks for the contest!

  28. Glad to hear the game’s pretty solid, I look forward to playing it in the future.

    Thanks for the contest!

  29. Nice review, now i definitely need to play this game xD
    Thanks for the contest!

  30. I want it! Nice review man!

  31. Great review! My expectations were pretty low at first, but after reading this I am happy to see it turned out quite well and still retains quite a bit of the classic GRAW feel!

  32. Thanks, Des great review.

  33. Game looks sick, nice review

  34. Game look great! Wouldn’t mind winning it

  35. And the flowers are still standing! Solid review gents…..

  36. awesome review. hopefully I can get my hands on this game soon!

  37. Excellent review. One of the best I’ve read for Ghost Recon. Much better than Polygons grumpy review.

  38. Loved the demo, definitely need to pickup the full game. Great review.

  39. nice game mite pick this up

  40. Great review, was really excited for this and it got really good reviews from everyone. Im having a lot of difficulty deciding between this or Max Payne 3 though. Either way I’m definitely going to try to get both eventually. Thanks for the review again!!!!

  41. Game looks great.My only complain would be the Uplay pass.I hate,HATE how games are doing this.Some games I like to rent before I Buy and if I ilke the game I usually buy it to support the dev.But now,If i rented this game I would not be able to play Co-op and only able to get to level 5 in multiplayer.The multiplayer doesn’t bother me that much,but blocking me from trying out co-op with a friend makes me mad..

  42. REALLY NEED TO GET THIS GAME

  43. Nice Review. I have to say I miss the more open simulation aspects of the original Ghost Recon. I’d love to see Ubisoft make a Ghost game with large open maps and all the advanced toys and tell the players just to go hunting.

  44. Like the review thank for being honest since i have gotten lots of mixed reviews on GR FS graphics and gameplay

  45. Game looks awesome.

  46. great review for a great game.

    looking foward to getting this game sometime

  47. A great review for a great game.

    It’s about time people see and read the entire review and not only see the score at the end as that is hardly worth anything if a person skips the entire content.

  48. I’ve been really interested in this game despite me not being a Shooter fan.

  49. Great review, you guys wrote an excellent critique.

  50. Nice review. I was pretty bad at the multiplayer beta but still want to play the game lol

  51. Out of all the reviews I have read I swear to god this the best one I have read. You included a lot of details even more than gameinformer and IGN. THIS IS THE BEST!

  52. You might have given this game a B+ but the packaging and futuristic solider plot deserves an A++++++

  53. Your review actually is the best one if you read the other reviews they have left out at least 1\2 the details that you included I even got a little confused with one of the I was even thinking for a moment about not getting the game until I read this and now I want this game and I mean really want it but I can’t because it costs a lot. By the way I read a couple of other reviews and those deserve an A+ too.

  54. Great review! I have a friend who’s really into the series and wants to check this one out. I played the beta a while back came in not knowing much about the game and loved it. I played better on this than COD and Battlefield online. Also looking forward to the Kinect features too. Still need to get one though. Glad this game isn’t a disappoint and looking forward to it.

  55. Looks amazing! I can’t wait to play it.
    Your review could use a few more pictures

  56. Last Tom Clancy game I bought was the first GRAW, but I might have to change that for this one.

  57. i played the beta of this game and had fun,was hoping to get the full game but it’s so popular XD everyone runs out

  58. I’ve always been a fan of Ghost Recon, hope this lives up to the name.

  59. Ghost Recon has always been a good team game. =)

  60. didnt think much of this game but the review really changed my mind. only played the beta but the SP sounds prty good.

  61. Master ChiefZ08

    My Bro just picked this up for the PS3, which kinda bummed me out, but I still look forward to trying it for the 360, wink wink ^_^

  62. I’m glad to hear the game’s AI isn’t a complete dunce. I played the beta and thought the online is pretty fun. Hopefully it’ll live up to the past GRAW games. Thanks for the review!

  63. I love it when reviews have lots of pictures. It can be so boring reading a massive wall of text.

  64. Great reveiw. Really looking forward to playing this.

  65. AntaraelDulacre

    Great review, really interested in the game now =D

  66. B+ on site advertising for game in the right column. Hmmm.

  67. this is a must get loved the beta even with all the glitches
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  68. Looks great. Good article!

  69. Seems like a pretty decent game based on the review. It feels good to see more 3rd person shooters hitting the market again!

  70. I loved played GRAW 2 with my friends, so it sounds like I’ll love playing this too! Nice review.

  71. Good review. I tried the game out the first week of Beta, but stopped cause of the constant server and game issues. Heard they fixed most of the issues so I might have to pick up a copy.

  72. I played this at PAX and the controls were a little bit weird but I loved the GRAW series so I might give this one a try.

  73. Played the beta and it was fun though why are people so good?? kill me like nothing.

  74. Great review as always DE looks to be an awesome gam

  75. Great review!

  76. Great review. Rented from Redbox and was loving the game.

  77. Been waiting for this game for 2 years. Review seems great at a B+. Looking forward to it. Thanks for the review DE!

  78. Thanks for the review, I’m looking forward to playing this now.

  79. Awesome review! I really want this game now!

  80. I never got around to the GR series, but having played the beta, I’m quite interested in this one, thanks for the solid, thoughtful review

  81. I was in the beta for this and it was a fun game and was a good change of pace from the GRAWs. Great review on it. I’d love to get my hands on it. 🙂

  82. WilliamRLBaker

    Don’t know if I’ll be purchasing it I played the “”beta”” and it was a little iffy in my opinion.
    thanks for the contest by the way.

  83. Nice review.

    Thanks for the contest and best of luck to everyone.

  84. i waaaants me some future soldier! pick meeee son!

  85. I’m probably going to end up getting this game. I’ve always been a Battlefield fan, not so much Call of Duty. This game sounds like it might actually be more to my tastes than either of the other big competitors.

  86. The visual element is very beautiful, I like the idea that it is advanced but still in a realistic theme, I am a big fan WW1/2 games but I was blown away with modern fighting games, looking forward to playing this one.

  87. Just read your review. Great job. I might have to find a way to sneak this into the June budget.

  88. Interesting that they would choose not to use an openbox sandbox element for campaign in this game. Automatic fail conditions are good in certain situations, but in a game that was marketed as one that focused on multiple tactics for completing objectives, it seems strange to have those in here.

    Awesome review, though ^_^

  89. Michael Garrett (@garrett0024)

    Great Review! I currently have it rented and can’t experience the online completely. But it’s so fun I keep playing even though I maxed out the rank without an online pass!

  90. Looks like a competent enough action game, the long development probably won’t help its overall sales though. Great review

  91. Based off of playing the Beta, I would say a ‘B’ is about right. It was definitely fun. I do hate the direction that they’re taking the series, though. =\

  92. Good to hear I won’t go wrong if buy it.Thanks for the review.

  93. Thanks so much for the contest, guys. And getting it UPS is a very nice gesture. Waiting can be difficult.

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