The Ghosts are back and offer some good fun with a bit of frustration.
I'll say right away that, like many, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 is still the best in the series. It had just the right blend of action and strategy with some envelope-pushing graphics. I had hoped, especially based on the preview footage, that Ghost Recon Future Soldier might do the same. Not so.
Graphically, Future Soldier is a real mixed bag. Some environments look good but then others just look awful. And the cutscenes are dreadful. The characters look blocky and cartoonish, which is a real disappointment. But in-game, they move along nicely, if not the same over and over (cover mechanic!)
But hey, I'm in it for the experience, and FS was a push-me pull-you experience of gripping action, often repetitive strategy, and frequent frustration.
The first oddity was the chain of command. You play as part of a four-man team that has a leader. All through the game the tag "Ghost Lead" hovers above his head. During cutscenes he is giving the rundown. But once the action starts, it appears nothing can happen unless you make the call. All sync shots, movement, placement, healing . . . it all depends on you.
And speaking of sync shots, this is a fun bit of gameplay though it makes many scenarios far too easy. Throw up the Drone, mark the targets and like that, enemies are down. You don't pull a trigger. Rinse and repeat. It's fun at first, but then it gets too old. And worse, the game hinders the ability randomly. This also applies to the stealth mode. A mission will start with a No Alarms mandate and after a bit of sneaking, suddenly, it's all guns a blazing. I suppose that is in service of the story but it felt so contrived as to be annoying.
And speaking of annoying, far too many of the blazing gun fights just didn't work as they should have. I like a challenge, but many fights left me in sheer frustration as to what was going on. Unseen enemies target your head with incredible accuracy and you go down fast. Yes, there are sensors you can toss about to locate enemies, and that works fine, but then again, the game tells you to mark targets for your team to kill for you.
And is there any one of us now who is still surprised that the helicopter coming in to extract you is bound to be blown up some RPG? This is done far too often.
But that doesn't mean there isn't some fun here. In fact, many missions were creative and exciting. Some rooftop sniping and an airplane hangar firefight were downright awesome. But, like so many shooters now, it is all blending together. The Kinect added weapons loadout is novel but does little to change the gameplay.
I am a real fan of the Ghost Recon series. This game doesn't break any new ground, but it does offer some fun, especially the co-op missions. I haven't played any online multiplayer so I can't judge this part of the game.
This is a rental for sure, but worth that much. Play it with a friend.