May 22, 2012

Invisible Force

Lasting First Impressions of Ghost Recon Future Soldier from Ubisoft

GRFS_X360Since starting Lasting First Impressions in 2010, I have had incredible opportunities to be introduced to several games and gaming genres that I would have normally passed up.  Looking over titles that have been released over the several few months, I would have been remiss not to have ever tried titles such as last year’s Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Splinter Cell Conviction, and even last week’s Max Payne 3.  With my historical lack of shooter skills, these are titles I would have just ignored and never given a second thought.  I am ever thankful to have had the opportunity to review such titles and realize what I had been missing all these years by not having played their predecessors.

Another such series that I had unfortunately passed by in my years of ignorance was Ghost Recon.  While this series dates back to 2001 on the original XBOX, I remember knowing more about the first XBOX360 releases, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and its sequel, both lovingly known as GRAW and GRAW2.  Now, after a five year absence on the consoles, Ubisoft brings us the latest in the series with Ghost Recon Future Soldier and I am absolutely thrilled that I have finally realized what I’ve been missing all these years.

Contrary to what I had originally believed to be true, Ghost Recon is far more than your typical shooter game.  Yes it certainly does take its fair share of the shooter genre pie, but that pie is topped off with a huge helping of stealth and tactical strategy which sets itself above many other similar titles.  Not only does this title contain an intriguing single player campaign, that same campaign can be played with up to 3 of your friends online.  Ghost Recon Future Soldier has been designed to truly be a multiplayer cooperative experience.  While your AI team members will behave exactly as you would expect (they’ll even rush over and revive you when you’re down), there’s really nothing quite like playing through the entire campaign with your closest friends.

GRFS Screen

As gorgeous and incredibly fun as this game is, there are just so many features in Ghost Recon Future Soldier that if I were to talk about each of them, this article would be enormous.  Instead, I give you a simple list of some of the incredible key features you’ll find within that truly set this title apart:

  1. Cross Com
    Stay one step ahead of the enemy: Cross Com gives you real time intel projected directly on your goggles. The HUD allows you to control drones on the fly, as well as locating key enemy targets.
  2. Optical Camouflage
    Be invisible: Use optical camouflage to move undetected through hot spots and gain the upper hand on your enemies.
  3. Sync Shot
    Tag ‘em and bag ‘em: Use the tagging feature on the ground or by drone to coordinate synchronized attacks on enemy targets.
  4. Cover Swap
    Stay out of enemy sight: Exploit unique cover system and swap through dynamic covers to surprise, flank and eliminate the enemies.
  5. Hand to Hand Combat
    Become the ultimate “quiet professional”: hand to hand combat will give you brutal close-combat moves.
  6. Over the shoulder
    Relish in over 2500 animations: Your Ghost Recon character will roll, cover, slide, climb and disappear to stalk and take down your prey.

GRFS Screen 2

In addition to these amazing features, which you will utilize on a regular basis, Ghost Recon also brings an amazing arsenal of weapons such as the aforementioned drone, a walking robotic tank, and hundreds of weapon combinations that you can personally customize using Ubisoft’s new Gunsmith feature.  There is so much more to Ghost Recon than I ever imagined.  Many areas of the game require the player to take the enemy soldiers out quickly and quietly without setting off any alarms or alerting the other guards.  The optical camouflage essentially renders your soldier invisible as you quietly make your way through the war torn areas using Sync Shot to take out up to 4 soldiers simultaneously.  Being able to take your time to strategize the shots or even decide when not to take out an enemy is truly invigorating and certainly adds to the intensity of feeling like you’re really there.

Within my first hour of gameplay, I was completely mesmerized by Ghost Recon and found myself unable to stop playing.  When one chapter was completed, I just wanted to move on to the next and keep going.  The quiet stealth and methodical mechanics of the gameplay is what truly brought this game to life for me.  This isn’t about a continuous run and gun wade through countless enemies from one side of a map to the other (though there certainly is a fair share of intense gun fights in here).  The dynamic camera style made me feel like I was truly in these hostile territories and was really part of this elite infiltration team.  As with titles like Deus Ex and Splinter Cell, I thoroughly enjoy the tactical stealth elements here but the full on bullets flying combat is just as tight and thoroughly enjoyable.  Everything about this game, from the incredibly gorgeous, realistic imagery, to the silent, optical camouflaged stealth tactics, to the balls out action bullet-fest, just feels right and I am truly thankful that I did not pass this one by again.  Ghost Recon Future Soldier is an intense look at the future of counter-terrorism teams and certainly worth every moment of your (and your friend’s) time.

Ubisoft, I gave you an hour and I am incredibly IMPRESSED.

About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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