Updated: Jul 24, 2021
Dumbing down a franchise at its finest
I remember grabbing the highly anticipated “Ghost Recon: Future Soldier” years ago & never playing it for some reason. One year during Raptr’s “clean out your closet” sweepstakes I decided to delve into Future Soldier & immerse myself in the Tom Clancy universe I once was immersed in years ago. Hopefully I would find answer as to why this game with so much hype was eerily quiet amongst the gaming culture once it made its official splash onto the shelves.
Most of us older gamers remember when the classics such as Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon and eventually Splinter Cell came bursting onto the scene (the latter changing the stealth genre tremendously.) Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon were similar games. Both were tactical squad based shooters back when the genre was booming with games like SOCOM, Star Wars: Republic Commando, and Full Spectrum Warrior leading the pack. To me these games were that perfect blend of military warfare, stealth & tactics with you being able to specifically command your teams using various commands. As technology evolved so did the gaming experience with gamers being able to issue commands via headsets in future titles.
So what happened to this genre? Call of Duty 4 happened. The gaming culture apparently was willing to spend millions of dollars to play an interactive linear Michael Bay movie than carefully plan & take out enemies in a variety of fashions. With this change map designs changed as well, everything became more centered around having “awesome” 2-3 second firefights than really strategic locations where drawn out battles of wit took place. The series of old still survived, but slowly were stripped of features with each iteration.
Eventually it was just you & your AI partner whose only commands are usually to pick you up when you’re down if they have any at all. I read forums & I realize that a lot of people didn’t like to “babysit” AI teammates (yet they cry about how they constantly die on harder difficulty levels by themselves) so it was just due to Call of Duty, but I still miss the strategic elegance these games brought to the table. Yet, they still had huge amounts of action to keep you interested with those tense situations where you’re pinned down & don’t know what to do or clear out an area only to realize that there is 4 times the enemies in the next…& they have snipers wielding .50 caliber rifles as well. It seems today that only Operation Flashpoint (a game series that has decided to stick with realism & not a casual consumer base) is the only series left with these qualities, but hardly anyone on the consoles play it.
Overall, I couldn't find my groove in Future Soldier. The series has been stripped of what made Ghost Recon special, the maps are uninspiring & the AI is extremely lacking. Frequently I found myself yawning in the middle of huge firefights (most of which took way too long.) There were a lot of annoying mechanics & bugs as well, one of which caused the enemies to infinitely respawn as the main objective never completed in a mission early on. After playing that mission for an exorbitant amount of time, killing hundreds of enemies, I restarted, completed the mission only for the same bug to happen on the next at which point I called it quits.
2 out of 5 Stars
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
Release date: May 22, 2012
Genre: Third-Person Shooter
ESRB rating: M for Blood, Intense Violence, Strong Language Last updated: May 22, 2012