Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Game Review (Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier - 360)

I initially remember seeing this way back at E3 2011 and thought it looked pretty interesting, but didn't have any plans on buying it when I realized Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 were already coming out in the fall. Using their heads, Ubisoft decided to delay the game until now.

Future Soldier takes place -- shockingly -- in the future. As there is a lot of new equipment as well as modern, this game has a very half realistic, half fantasy feel to it, and it's really rather a good thing. As soon as I started playing, I felt as though this game was like Gears of War with a military skin, and I still sort of do feel that way. To me though, that isn't an insult at all, because Future Soldier manages to play very well -- almost like a Gears of War mixed with SOCOM, with added elements from games like Battlefield (Squad spawning).

The graphics in this game are hit and miss, depending on what you're looking at. Generally speaking, they look pretty impressive -- especially when you're up against a wall with an LMG trying to mow you down. From a distance or really close though, the textures are pretty bad. But the graphics really aren't that important... the game play is.

When playing the campaign, definitely do it on co-op. Actually, when doing ANYTHING in this game, do it with people that will talk. Communication is important in most online games, but it's really essential in Future Soldier. In campaign, the A.I. will generally get the job done, but they take awhile to do it. What I like to do is play with people you know, look down your sights, and synchronize a shot in slow motion to take enemies out. It's simple, effective, and fun. The campaign is also a bit of a challenge, as the A.I. will try flanking you... so don't take your sweet time, because you'll find yourself dead on the ground. Probably the best thing about campaign (co-op or not), is that on most missions, you can choose to have an all-out firefight, or go through as stealthily as possible -- it's really up to you. 

The online multi-player is what I was most interested in, and I figure what most people wanted to play. Why wouldn't you when there are 20 MILLION weapon customization options? I didn't play the beta, but some people in videos on YouTube said it was pretty enjoyable and likened it to "SOCOM before it sucked." That comment alone basically made me decide to give it a try. While the controls took a bit of getting used to after playing Battlefield and Modern Warfare, I eventually got used to them, and really started enjoying myself after just a couple matches. One thing I have found though is... if you don't have many friends to play with, I really suggest you pass on this game. Considering most people don't use headsets or are in parties when playing, you'll just get extremely frustrated with their idiotic decisions. Unlike a game like Call of Duty, you need friends to play Future Soldier.

As I said early on, Future Soldier feels quite a bit like Gears of War, which isn't a bad thing in most every aspect, besides when trying to escape enemies. At least once or twice a match I'll find myself getting shot at, decide I have to run away, and die because I either: Get stuck on a wall, can't run, or hop over an obstacle when I don't want to. As annoying as this can be at times, it still isn't enough to ruin the game, because the cover system for the most part is very effective.

As much as I enjoy this game, it's certainly not without its problems. Here's a list I've noticed already:

1.) As mentioned, the cover/running system can feel "sticky" or wonky at the worst possible times.
2.) When in a squad of any number with friends, it's not too rare to find yourselves in different squads and/or teams.
3.) Head shots are way too frequent -- I've gotten one-shot killed from across the map with the AK-74U too many times to count already.
4.) Some games after completion don't show up on your stats at all.
5.) You can't actively see anybody's rank, and the number of stats are limited.
6.) Some pretty serious lag issues online... the game either has virtually no lag, or is laggy to the point of being unplayable.
7.) Some guns (ACR and M14) seem way more powerful than anything else in the game early on, and grenades should be nerfed a tad as well. While capturing an objective, an enemy can simply lob a grenade and either kill you or knock you out of being able to capture it.

There are a few other issues I have with it, but even with those flaws, Future Soldier remains very entertaining, as working as a team can be very rewarding. I enjoy the sometimes long-lasting duels or all-out firefights, as well as the seemingly endless customization for your weapons. If you have a small group of friends and are looking for a new LIVE game to play, you should choose Future Soldier. With a patch or two, this could be the best shooter in recent memory. Somehow, someway, it finds itself to be a unique and incredibly fun alternative to the likes of Battlefield or Modern Warfare.


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