Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is, if I'm honest here, a big letdown. The trailers made it look great, and the premise was somewhat unique and it sounded like it'd be good fun. The end result? A glitchy mess of a single player campaign; generally the game feels like it's designed for eSports rather than just a well-rounded, fun game. That's not to say it isn't fun at all, but anyway, here's my long-ish review of the game, and just below you can find a brief summary, if you'd rather not read my walls of text. Also, I think it's worth noting that I played this game on a PS3, so obviously the PC version will lack some qualities that you'd expect in a console game, such as local multiplayer.
The physics engine really bugged me. You could crawl through tall grass and the grass does nothing, you sneak through murky water and the surface tension remains the same. This is downright unacceptable in a big release these days. Animations were repeated a lot throughout the game, there wasn't much individuality to the four members of your squad, or between the other NPCs for that matter. Graphically, the game is mediocre. Human faces and phsyiques leave a lot to be desired, and a lot of the textures are notably bland. That's not to say that the game doesn't have it's beautiful moments, there were some shots that I could sit back and admire, but they were few and far between.
The dodgy realism aside, let's look at gameplay. Once you get past the two (yes, TWO) "Press the start button" screens, you finally get the menu up. This isn't a great start, no game's menu should have a loading time. The main menu has multiplayer at the top, which really goes to show their main focus with this game. Future Soldier makes me think of a Call of Duty game, in the sense that the single player campaign leaves a lot to be desired in terms of story, but it kind of prepares you for the multiplayer side of the game. Online multiplayer is really fun, there's a great variety of different game types and a relatively balanced skill level, from what I saw. It, of course, has RPG elements; as you improve and level up, you're allowed access to more customisation for your character and weapons. This really paves the way for hours of online fun, and that is one really positive thing that I have to say about this game. The sneaking element is really cool, and it feels great setting up a synchronised shot and executing it perfectly. The futuristic tech is also a nice touch. Stealth camo, drones and sensors are all great additions to the classic tactical shooter style gameplay. The sheer number of weapons and the customisability of each one rivals Metal Gear Solid 4, there's just so much choice! Even in the campaign, though that's not quite as open in terms of how much you can change your guns, as you generally just optimise them for certain tasks.
The game boasts up to four player co-op for the campaign. This is a serious farce. While you can have up to four players playing the campaign, you can only do it with one player locally. As far as I could tell, you can also only invite friends to play it with you. The guerrilla mode (a game mode where you and your squad capture and defend a location from waves of enemies) is similar, and while you can actually play with two players locally with a splitscreen, it has that kind of lobsided splitscreen that just seems pointless. You also can only invite friends to play that game mode, if you want to play with others online.
Over all, when you buy this game, you're essentially just buying a new multiplayer tactical shooter. It's nothing groundbreaking, and nothing special, but it does still remain a fun game. As far as I'm concerned, it's worth paying for, especially if you're a fan of the genre or just online shooters in general. The multiplayer modes could make for some great eSports tourneys, both as a player and spectator.
TL;DR? Here's a quick summary of the game, with bullet points!
- The stealth-based gameplay is generally really fun, with some cool gadgets to play around with.
- Multiplayer is well done, and while it has a bit of a learning curve for the game modes, it's still easy to get into.
- Lots of customisation for weapons and, in multiplayer, your character too.
- The physics and graphics engines leave a lot to be desired.
- There's a severe lack of local multiplayer support, though online multiplayer is abundant.
- Lots of glitches still in the game, and even the main menu has a loading time.
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is a fun game, with some fun features and fun gameplay, but it has no real backbone outside of multiplayer. It's nothing to write home about, but you can still enjoy sneaking around Africa with your squad, popping caps in warlords and being cranky afterwards. So, despite talking for most of this review about Future Soldier's mediocrity, I actually don't think it's a terrible game. Since it's flaws are mostly related to realism and glitches, but the gameplay is still enjoyable.