Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon videogame series returns with Future Soldier and it's all gone a little bit James Bond.
- Futuristic equipment and war machines
- Great computer AI
- Tactical gameplay
- Kinect control for gun custimisation
- Available on Xbox 360 and PS3 (£49.99)
- Available on PC (£x39.99) 15 June, 2012
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier - Gameplay
To the casual gamer, it might seem like all first-person shooters are the same. If you've played one Call of Recon or Battlefield Duty, you've played them all, right?
Wrong. Running blindly into battle with bullets spraying might win the day in some digital war zones but in Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier it is the perfect career choice if you always wanted a job modelling body bags.
Gameplay for most of the missions is a more considered affair and using stealth to take down targets without alerting their colleagues is all important.
That said, a number of bigger set pieces have been added into this latest version of Ghost Recon to try and capture some of the Call of Duty audience. Thankfully, the majority of those shootouts still require you to make use of cover like your life depends on it (top tip: it does!).
While that might sound frustrating, the game uses a very simple system to make it easy to move from cover to cover and keep the gameplay flowing.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier - What's in a Name?
Always previously based in the real world, this latest Ghost Recon game lives up to its full title and places the action in a near future conflict.
That allows the designers to have some fun and imagine the kind of tech they think will be deployed on battlefields in the coming years.
It's not as subtle as a visit to Q by James Bond - you won't be pulling a pen out of your pocket to shoot foes or blowing off doors with the explosives hidden in your watch.
Still, Bond would be impressed by the Warhound mobile artillery droid that comes equipped with mortars and sidewinder missiles, or the high-flying drone aircraft that can spot targets for your team to take down.
He'd also be popping down to his tailor to get one of the stealth camo suits that matches itself to your environment if you stay still. Not a unique idea by any stretch but it does work incredibly well.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier - Intelligence
Talking of robots, your ability to progress through the game requires teamwork and in the single player mode that means relying on the computer AI of your squad mates.
Amazingly, this has been tweaked to a point where you will trust them to have your back on a mission.
As a fully functioning unit they are capable of giving you cover and when they are ahead of you on the battlefield you can depend on them to take down targets without giving away your team's position.
The best compliment we can give the AI is that when you head online to play multiplayer games with real-life players supposedly looking out for your interests, you will miss their professionalism.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier - Art
The focus from the art team's point of view appears to have been the futuristic weapons. These do add some great touches to Ghost Recon - it's just unfortunate it seems to be at the expense of the rest of the development.
As it it, many other areas of the game don't really deliver. Future Soldier looks good - and some pieces look really good - but the level of general design detail seen in the backgrounds and environments of similar games simply doesn't exist here.
The same goes for your compatriots. As much as we praised their battle AI and enjoyed the way you genuinely bond with them as you work together as a team, that feeling is destroyed when their badly realised avatars appear onscreen in cut scenes.
Sadly there's no escape from those mini movies as the game designers chose to make them impossible to skip over. We suggest whoever decided that keep their online multiplayer screename a secret or risk being shot on sight in his own world by angry gamers.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier - Kinect Control
If you ever wanted to live in a world like Minority Report without having to make awkward conversation with Tom Cruise everyday, your dreams have finally come true.
Anyone who saw the news about Ghost Recon at E3 2011 will recall the demo for Microsoft's Kinect motion controller.
Building a customised weapon in the GunSmith mode can be done using hand gestures to swap parts in and out.
The voice control can also issue a few commands to put the finishing touch to your personalised killing device.
Testing it out on the firing range also allows you to lean in and out using the motion sensor.
That's your lot, though. None of these features make it into the game itself and you won't be jumping over your sofa to duck for cover anytime soon.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier - Verdict
For all its futuristic kinks, the focus on teamplay is Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier's biggest strength.
We won't deny that commanding heavily armed droids or keeping watch over the battlefield from drone ships is fun.
However, it's the shake of the camera as you are pinned down and have to dash between cover points that gets the adrenaline running.
Poor artistic decisions and gimicky weapon creation modes detract from the overall enjoyment but the engagement that comes from wanting to keep your virtual squad alive can't be ruined by such small problems.