copyright © Jedo Dre 2011

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon:

Future Soldier

Rati ng:

Impact: What were we talking about again?

Ghost Recon series have had an evolution. It started before Ghost Recon even existed, with Rainbow 6 games where you played as a team of operatives completing realistic assaults on enemy compounds, and flowed into Ghost Recon games, similar in style to Rainbow 6 tactical shooter with a bit less accent on "tactical" and more on "shooter". But the strong hand of the free market has pushed further and further on Ghost Recon's back throughout the years to get it in line with the other more popular shooters.

You can feel straight away that something is wrong with this newest installment. An extremely brief introduction mission gets you into the storyline. Before you know it, the controls are ripped from your hands again so that the game can introduce another cutscene...and then another. This will set a precedent for the rest of the game, which will alternate between cut scenes and cut scenes you can participate in.

These cut scenes cannot however fix the fact that there isn't much of a storyline to remember. Kill this guy, go there, nuclear this, warlord that - it's the standard cheeseburger, what else you want?

The standard cheeseburger of a storyline would be fine, but the gameplay of the single player campaign is also utterly linear. There is no rethinking your approach to get a better sniping position. There is just the offensively invasive corridor of a game telling you where to go and what to do, and often, doing it for you.

The gameplay, the checkpoints, the menus, the controls, the initial incompatibility with windows xp - you can practically smell the Xbox.

The controls are introduced gradually throughout the missions rather than in a separate training mission, which is a nice touch of good pacing but in combination with the overly scripted gameplay it also contributes to the feeling that you are being nannied in everything you do, which in turn makes you feel like you are not playing a Ghost Recon game.

One of the game's main selling points is weapons. The game features a relatively large number of different guns and ability to customise them. But the game hides everything away and forces you to unlock the weapons and their mods before you can use them, which in practice means that for a while you will only have a couple of guns to run with. You can unlock the weapons slowly by completing missions and other little challenges, such as killing a certain number of enemies in a certain way and...and just getting to the end of this sentence is getting progressively nauseating. While the above-described game mechanic is a clever bit of pacing and most shooters feature "locked" weapons to reward the player's progress, Ghost Recon Future Soldier takes it to a much higher degree that may be acceptable in an arcade game, but is most unacceptable in a Ghost Recon game! It is just another reminder that you are in fact not playing a Ghost Recon, but rather a half-baked wannabe of another, better 1st person shooter.

Game makers wanting to improve their product is ok. What is not ok is slavishly copying the style of other more popular games and betraying what your franchise stands for. Imagine if you bought an Ipad, but when you turned it on you discovered that it is in fact a PlayStation Portable. You would be surprised at what is in effect misrepresentation and I, similarly, reserve the right to complain about the game that is overall acceptable, but not when viewed against the background of a false promise.

Look, if you want to watch a movie go to movie theaters. If you want an interactive cinematic action experience play Call of Duty. If I want to play a tactical game where brains and patience prevail over uncontrolled prepubescent rage, I would pick up a Ghost Recon game, and therefore playing this particular Ghost Recon installment is a feeling of something I valued and respected being gutted and fried before my eyes. In fact, they let me participate in eating it. Well I am not going to stay for the main course, and thus it is my sin that Future Soldier is one of those games I haven't finish before reviewing.

An afterthought: I think i discovered a new test to see if the game is worth playing. Is there any way at all to use a sniper rifle straight from the start. No? Moving on then. Guess whether Ghost Recon Future Soldier passes that test...