- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Developer: Ubisoft Paris
- ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
- Genre: Futuristic Shooter
- Pros: Awesome Technology, Exciting Missions, Strong Design
- Cons: Frustrating Design, Occasional Glitches, Lackluster Storytelling
What will war look like in the future? "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier" (the first game in this series since "Advanced Warfighter 2," five years ago) attempts to give players a vision of intense combat in a world where battle has truly changed by virtue of modern technology. Throughout a series of campaigns, the player gains access to a number of incredible devices like sensors that can track enemy locations, drones that can target people, metallic companions called War Hounds, and, coolest of all, cloaking devices that allow you to sneak up on your intended target. Without these futuristic toys of war, "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier" would probably just be a subpar shooter but the variety injected into the mission structure by combat devices that other games don't employ helps keep the game fresh.
You play a member of a Ghost Recon squad of four and the co-op nature of war will play a major role in your success or failure in "Future Soldier." Not only will you need your fellow soldiers to help you flank an enemy but you will often "spot" for them, targeting enemies for them to shoot, sometimes even in sync. Send up a drone, target four enemies, and shoot them simultaneously with the push of one button. Pretty cool. The teamwork aspect of "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier" is one of its most engaging aspects in both single and multiplayer play.
As you travel the world trying to stop an international disaster, you'll employ a series of high-tech gadgets. It requires a different strategy than the "more is more" approach of "Call of Duty." In fact, the game is at its best when it relies on its stealth nature. When it tries to compete with the "Battlefield" and "CoD" franchises with big set pieces like machine gunning a convoy from a helicopter, it doesn't really feel like a Tom Clancy game. When you're slowly crawling through enemy territory, half-camoflaged, targeting enemies with a drone and taking them out in time with airplanes taking off so as not to raise an alarm -- that's a Tom Clancy game.
To that end, there are a few missions in "Ghost Recon: Future Soldier" that feel a bit narrow-minded in their design. It sometimes feels like there's only one path from checkpoint to checkpoint and it becomes a series of trial and error that can get frustrating. I wanted "Ghost Recon" to be a little more adaptable to my mistakes or my style of gameplay and less of a title where I felt like I needed merely to find the right path of cover or kill the enemies in the right order so as not to raise an alarm.
One of the saving graces of "Future Soldier" is a common failure of games like it -- the A.I. of your fellow soldiers. They will often flank and take out enemies on their own or move to you quickly when you're in medical need. It's incredibly refreshing to have ally A.I. this refined as even casual war game players have experienced titles where your fellow soldiers really feel like they're just there to get in your way.
As is standard with all modern war shooters, "Ghost Recon: Future Soldier" comes with a nice array of multiplayer options, most of which build off the co-op nature of the campaign. There are five game modes and all feel like they are organically part of the stealth-based experience as they award strategy over power. My favorite is a mode called Conflict, which features a rotating series of objectives on a large map. The map design is strong. As stealth games are not my strong suit, "TCGR: FS" is not my first choice for multiplayer but it's hard to find fault with its design, depth, or variety.