Near Future War
Ghost Recon Future Soldier is the latest in the line of Tom Clancy games from Ubisoft and it's a corker. It combines solid third person action with intuitive controls and adrenaline charged combat to bring the near-future of warfare onto the Xbox 360 with a bang. Using the innovative Gunsmith, optical camo and other tricks the Ghosts are back in business and business is looking to be very good indeed.Dirty Bomb
When Joe Ramirez and his Ghost Predator team are killed by a dirty bomb whilst on a mission, it's up to Ghost team Hunter to investigate and this leads them on a globe trotting story of revenge and payback. The story is pretty decent and has all the right elements to make a fun and engaging ride, though we felt pretty let down by the ending since it's pretty abrupt and there's no real sense of any kind of closure.Gameplay
The game is single player, online via Xbox Live and System Link capable. The campaign is fully playable with up to 4 other players and it uses checkpoint saves to track your progress. You can set up numerous campaigns so you can keep your favourite saves to play with other people and the weapons/attachments that you unlock via in-game mission challenges carry over across onto new saves.
You can play split-screen in Guerilla mode but the best experience is with friends online.
The game is a third person action game with a dynamic movement system, cover based gameplay and first person aiming for better accuracy when looking down the iron sights or through a scope. The controls are intuitive and easy to learn, they come naturally and pretty soon you'll have full mastery of the movement and cover system, gadgets and all.
It's possible to quickly relocate in a battle, get behind cover, leap over small obstacles and throw yourself around into prone to avoid sustained fire. With a choice of difficulties leading up to Elite, getting out of the line of fire is a must since it doesn't take many shots to take you out in Elite mode.
The campaign stretches over 11 missions that can take a 40 or so minutes to complete each, and there's a prologue that eases you into the most basic controls. There are several missions that appear to be on rails, more linear than the others in the set but these are still great fun and once you get access to the optical camo and other gadgets, you can really start to pile on the tactics.
You aren't left micro-managing the other members of your squad in single player either, you can mark targets when you're undetected (up to four) for sync-shots and stealthy kills. You only have to hold down the right bumper to order your team to open fire...or they'll fire on your go when you either shoot a marked enemy or use a stealthy approach to take one down. The Ghosts will attempt to acquire their targets, moving with stealth and subtlety across the expansive battlefields. An Augmented Reality system replaces the old Cross-com and provides up to the minute intel on the battlefield, giving a sight-line on the enemy that has been marked as well as info on who has them in their sights and so on.
If things do go hot and you get detected, you can order your men to focus their fire on a marked target just as you would order a sync shot. By tapping the right bumper you can mark up to four enemies, by holding it down, you give the order.
This system also plays into the hands of real players rather than AI, letting you set up some great tactical plays and removing obstacles before they become a problem. As long as you remain crouched and move slowly the Ghost's optical camouflage triggers and allows you to get closer to the enemy than you ever have before.
With stealth shots and melee kills providing a satisfying way to remove a patrolling guard.
You can also deploy a UAV to scout ahead and provide intel to your squad both in single player and cooperative play. Again, these intel gathering systems along with sensor grenades allow you to survey an area and get the drop on your enemies. There are set sequences that trigger in the campaign where you're forced into an on-rails shooter with a limited amount of freedom to aim where you want.
These sequences are initially quite jarring, but also fun. They do take you by surprise and when you lose your full control it does feel a little odd in a game that emphasises tactics and freedom a lot. There are also room breaching slow-mo sequences that have been done pretty well.
Once you realise that the extra sequences are implemented to break up the gameplay and provide a different kind of challenge, they sit a little better and work well enough in the context of the story that the game's trying to tell.