The Ghost Recon franchise has a new release but the PC version which is a console port does not stack up against past releases that were so much easier to enjoy and play.
Graphics & Audio: 8/25,
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier on the PC is a third person shooter following in the footsteps of Tom Clancy’s line of squad based gaming that goes back to 2001. The first games were single player first person shooters and over the years futuristic weapons and third person perspective may have been added but the squad based gameplay is still there.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier has three main game modes with a single player campaign, a wave assault mode and the online multiplayer gaming with the single player and assault modes being able to add other players in cooperative play. The coop play works well adding up to three others in your campaign and wave type assault games so there is help out there if the gaming gets a little too tough.
I was very surprised when I got to the end of the single player campaign and had such a tough time finishing the game due to the bad guys escaping my wrath and bullets. A second person available to help me out would have been great but I was not too keen on worrying about finishing the very last part of the game.
Future Soldier does a great job with the cover mechanism using the space bar to glue you to objects with your head down but easy shooting and aiming when you need to. The cover works well while in multiplayer but a few times fast paced action can leave you stuck to cover while the bad guys blow you away without being able to turn and fight back.
Future Soldier on the PC is an obvious port from the console versions and many of the problems with the game may be due to this but I cannot be sure. The game is enjoyable starting with a good single player campaign but many times I was questioning the designer’s decisions in gameplay and the entire project.
Take me back to the fun times of simple single player action like Ghost Recon and the numerous expansions from that popular PC game and I’ll be happy. I thoroughly enjoyed the simple action, well planned maps and engrossing gameplay of the single player missions that didn’t bother the gamer with silly plots.
Today’s video game makers seem to feel gamers want intricate plots with gripping backstories and numerous cut scenes with lots of fast paced action that could not be portrayed in the games actual gameplay. I have news for them, the plot and cut scenes merely give some pauses to the action for gamers to wipe the sweat from their brow and chug some more refreshing beverage.
Watching your men on screen hoist each other over a wall or ledge, opening garage doors and entering empty rooms again and again in quick cut scenes tends to ruin the flow of the game play. I hate when almost half of a game is spent watching some backstory or cut scene like it’s going to add to the game instead of take away from it.
In many games you can skip cut scenes by hitting a key but with Future Soldier once your about a quarter of the way through the campaign the game does not allow you to skip any cut scenes. I just don’t like all the cut scenes and numerous times when I have to watch action on screen instead of being a part of the action and controlling things.
Other problems with Ghost Recon Future Soldier are the audio stuttering, frame rate drops and utter crashing of the game that is the game itself and not drivers or the computer. A constant complaint a full month after release is audio stuttering to a point that the game freezes and eventually continues or simply crashes the game.
Other problems for both the online and the single player is inaudible audio, lag in online games and a crash in coop play that really hampers the games ability to allow players to play the game much less enjoy it. I had a few times where the multiplayer gaming would restart the entire game back to the beginning of the match but a few times it crashed and sent me back to the menus.
These issues will probably be sorted out eventually with patches to the game but the numerous cut scenes and smaller action scenes showing the Ghosts performing actions like hoisting each other over obstacles are never going to go away. The game just takes away from the action and points you more toward an action film with occasional playable sections instead of a video game.
The multiplayer gameplay was pretty good but issues did mar the experience several times so the game does not work very well in its current state. I really enjoyed the campaign when I was playing but much of the time I was waiting for the audio issue to settle itself out or watching some silly cut scene.
In most games I really don’t care about plot: toss a gun into my arms and a few clips, throw a few fellow shooters and then smartly push enemies my way and I will be happy. Give me minutes of watching my group open garage doors and clamber up ladders and you quickly lose my patience but nothing makes me madder than cut scenes that I can’t skip.
Graphics are another point where the game went more for atmosphere and ambiance than gaming and being able to enjoy the experience. Most of the time you have very good graphics with good action but a few of the single player campaign scenes are a mix of snow or sand storms and barely discernable action.
In a couple of the single player missions the action comes in a snow storm and a sand storm so you have barely visible enemies for you to shoot at and almost no other visible scenery. One of the missions is a helicopter firefight but the trucks and helicopters you’re shooting at are barely visible because of all the snow.
I love the gunship missions as they break up the gameplay and give you a bigger gun to shoot but when the enemies are barely visible you really don’t get much satisfaction out of blowing them up. I just think the visibility was more to cover up something like a lack of decent looking textures then add atmosphere to the missions.
Graphics and general looks of the game were pretty good for most of the game as well but a few times clipping through objects and lesser quality textures were noticeable. Audio was fine for the most part except for those game crashing stutters that are not part of audio drivers but is something the game is going to have to fix.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier will probably be a good game in a few months when things get hammered out with current issues and more gamers start to play online. I just hate to see a game with such promise get ruined by rushing the PC version to market as well as letting the plot get in the way of good game play.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier may turn out to be a good game but for now it is one that should be passed up in favor of ones without as many issues.
Future Soldier @ Ubisoft