September 17, 2012
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (Part 2)
As cynical as it sounds, at times the key to a good impression is a good title or name. Of course, nobody should ever judge a book by its cover, but sometimes one cannot help but be swayed by the collection of letters and words that precede its content. When coming across games with no knowledge of what it’s actually about, you read the title. Which one would you be more interested in playing: Affable Twig or Ninja Assassin? Affable Twig could be a fabulous game with never before seen gameplay and a groundbreaking plot, but are you going to take your chances with a game that may or may not be terrible over the more promising title of Ninja Assassin? The same rule seems to apply to the missions in Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. I don’t know what’s with the names of the missions in this game, but they all seem to be a series of random words that have little to do with the tasks you are assigned to carry out.
I don’t even know why it bothers me so much, but there’s something about taking on a mission called “Tiger Dust” that makes me furrow my eyebrows in confusion. When the assignment requires me to bring down several military helicopters to protect a VIP, I begin to question in what way the words “tiger” and “dust” have anything to do with the current predicament at hand. I suppose one could say “dust” is relevant, since this is a “realistic shooter” game and therefore required by law to have at least four inches of dust and soot covering the terrain at all times. But where does “tiger” factor into the equation? Perhaps the VIP’s real name happens to be “Tiger”? Perhaps it is foreshadowing an encounter later on where I will be put into a situation consisting of a large wooden plank with a rusty nail jammed into it, a hungry tiger, and a death cage arena? Nope. Maybe they threw the word “Tiger” into the fray just because it has a tendency to sound cool. But just as I accept that, the game sends me on a mission called “Firefly Rain” in which I am charged with infiltrating a nuclear base in the middle of a frigid ice cube, and so I begin narrowing my eyes in hopeless confusion once again…
Like I said, I don’t even know why I am so annoyed by such a simple and meaningless detail. Ghost Recon: Future Soldier was a relatively short game, and its fairly simple plot did nothing to amaze me so I’m not going to dwell on that. Instead, I will write about what I did have fun with: the gameplay. Despite it being the future and all, your gadgets are quite reasonable. You have a miniature drone that you can deploy whenever to survey the situation and/or mark priority targets when suppressed by heavy artillery while in cover. Your weapons still shoot bits of metal as apposed to futuristic lasers, and you still must resort to magical insta-healing adrenaline shots whenever your legs are blown off by a stray rocket. The only truly “futuristic” gadget that is introduced is the ability to use adaptive camouflage. I would say that it turns you invisible, but I won’t because using the camouflage has the vague appearance of what your character would look like if he wrapped himself in color respective Saran wrap. Maybe it’s just me, but the camo in this game looks only slightly more concealing than holding a leafy branch in front of your face. However, this is obviously not the case for the enemies in the game since they seem to have an enormous difficulty spotting you as long as you’re not slapping them in the face with a neon casino sign hovering above your helmet.
While there isn’t much variety in the type of guns you can wield, the game does give you the option to choose what kind of firearms you want to bring on your missions. The game will politely advise you on what kind of weapons you should bring so you won’t accidentally gear up for the wrong kind of situation. You can still bring a shotgun to a sniper fight if you want to, but you’re not going to have much luck bringing anyone down without holes in your once intact face. You also have the ability to customize your weapons with gun parts that will allow you to have more control or maneuverability which doesn’t seem to have a critical impact on play styles but is still a nice addition nonetheless.
Despite everything else though, I will say that this game has done cover-based mechanics some good. Many other games that consist of combat systems that rely heavily on taking cover can become very tedious when your character pins his or herself to the nearest mound of environment if you so much as walk within five feet of it. Moving seamlessly between cover is almost impossible and always seems to result in your character scrambling to the wrong side of said cover and then being juggled by bullets. If you had any intention of attempting to race to cover that resided anymore than ten feet away from your character, you might as well shoot your own character in the head since it would have been the same outcome if you had tried.
But whatever unfortunate events I have had with cover-based combat in other games in the past, I was pleasantly surprised to see a game with a functional system. Gone is the annoying magnet in your character that immediately glues you to the nearest object with bulletproof qualities. Gone is the impossibility of transferring from cover to cover without the worry of ending up on the wrong side while displaying all your vital points to the enemy. Ghost Recon: Future Soldier makes cover-based combat bearable and fairly smooth without making it too boring.
All in all, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is a good game although a bit on the ordinary side. There was nothing groundbreaking that astounded me nor was I dreadfully disappointed. It was pretty fun regardless of its generic nature and had great elements in it that could go on to make some sort of Holy Grail of games. Cover-based combat is always somewhat boring since killing enemies from behind a wall is never as much fun as killing enemies with your military grade combat boots up in their faces, but Ghost Recon: Future Soldier makes it quite tolerable.
Image Credit: Ubisoft