Finally got my hands on this one, primarily to check out the Kinect features, but I like the series anyway. If you haven’t heard of any of the Ghost Recon games, here’s a quick description:
Join an ultra-elite four-man strike team and tip the global balance of power without anyone knowing you entered the battlefield in this Ghost Recon experience shaped by real-life military events. Whether you’re slipping into enemy strongholds to extract hostages or carrying out impossible strikes against high-value targets, precision, strategy, and teamwork are key each mission. Use beyond-cutting-edge technology that allows you to gain a critical advantage. See through walls with thermal cameras and X-ray scopes. Cloak yourself in optical camouflage and move unseen in broad daylight. Gather intel, mark targets, synchronize strikes, and more. The new Gunsmith feature lets you select each mission’s perfect weapon from 20 million(!) possible configurations.
It’s been 5 years since last the Ghost Recon was created so this one has been long-awaited. It’s quite a good game, it’s different from first person shooters being that it’s a third person shooter plus you have to be somewhat tactical, it’s tough to just run and gun such as the Call of Duty series. It has a little bit of everything for the shooter fans as well. One quick note, it automatically attempts to install some of the game data for an enhanced sound experience, but recommends to install the game to disk anyway for the optimal experience. It takes 7.7GB of space so make sure you have some disk space available.
The normal menu is controlled with the controller. The menu within the Gunsmith option however, is navigated with either voice commands or hand swipes and gestures, or you can use the controller as well. As for the game menu itself, you have your Multiplayer, Campaign and Guerrilla modes. There’s also a Squads option but because you must have a Uplay passport I couldn’t see what it is, Extras, Uplay and Downloadable Content option. I’ll go in order as usual.
The first thing I’d like to state which I think is quite unfair is you have to purchase the Uplay Passport, otherwise your online progression is limited to level 5 and rewards cannot be unlocked. There are quite a few things to unlock, being that with the gunsmith option there are many extra parts compared to other games. Anyhow, multiplayer offers 2 types of game types, Conflict and Saboteur.
In Conflict, basically you have random objectives and you just have to complete them like securing something. Points are awarded and some things offer rewards. In Saboteur, a bomb is located in a central area and teams attempt to secure, transport and detonate the bomb at the enemy base. The game does encourage you to use teamwork as it can be the tiebreaker in both modes. Other than that, that’s the basis of the multiplayer modes.
There are a couple of other options within the multiplayer mode that allow you to customize your character with the appearance and load out. Each time you enter the load out, Kinect is prompted as it encourages you to use Kinect instead of a controller. Lastly, there’s some public challenges that you can attempt to gain additional experience or perks. Characters are leveled up like most other games as well as weapon unlocks.
The Campaign mode is your normal story mode, the story is decent but the mode itself is quite cinematic, it is different and I liked it. It consists of 13 missions and some of the missions are quite long. There are 3 difficulty options that you can choose from; Recruit, Veteran and Elite. Overall, it took me about 15 hours to complete it on the Elite difficulty, although I won’t spoil anything but the last mission will have you shaking your fist in frustration. Supposedly, you can do a co-op option within the Campaign but I couldn’t figure it out but more than likely you must have a Uplay passport as the manual states to invite a friend initiates co-op campaign mode.
The Guerrilla mode is a different option. There’s 50 waves of bad guys and your objective is to secure a HQ for 1 wave, then defend it for 9 waves, then wash, rinse and repeat until you get to the 50th wave. I haven’t done it so I can’t tell you what the 50th wave is, but nevertheless, it’s a cool mode. It can be played both offline and online and if playing offline, you can play split-screen in which the Ghost Recon series is known for co-op gameplay. There are only 5 maps to choose from though.
Extras consist of your options (which has the standard voice/sound effects/music/etc) but also has the 3D option as well. I don’t have a 3D TV so I couldn’t test this out either. The in-game manual is also located here with the credits and the option to turn Kinect on or off.
As with all of the newer Ubisoft games, Uplay is here again. Here’s the 4 items you can unlock:
10U – Theme – Xbox 360 Dashboard Theme
20U – Double Time – Unlocks both weapons at a decision point, on one decision on one multiplayer character
30U – Rock and Roll - Unlocks the M60 and RPK light machine guns
40U – Rooftop Map – This adds an additional map to the Guerrilla mode
This area just accesses the marketplace and the DLC available. At the time of this review being that it’s been awhile since it’s been out, there’s now a couple of content packs available.
I decided to do a separate write-up on this section being that this is the only area that takes advantage of Kinect. The Gunsmith is just an area to customize your weapons, instead of text only like other games, it’s kind of virtual as you can rotate guns around, disassemble them and change many parts. The parts that you are able to change/upgrade are:
- Gas System
- Side Rail
When choosing your parts, if you don’t want to spend time figuring everything out, there is an optimize option that will automatically select what’s best based on one of the following requirements; Range, Control, Maneuverability or Power. After you’re done customizing your gun, you can then choose to test it out on the shooting range. Unfortunately that’s all there is to this mode. As for the Kinect functionality, I decided to just record their tutorial video as it will give you a complete understanding on how it works, see below:
Being that this is a Kinect site and review, I suppose the main question wasn’t answered, is this game actually “Better with Kinect?” In my opinion, no, it’s not needed and never was needed, my guess is Ubisoft is testing something out for maybe one of their future titles. It works for what it is, but there’s just not much to it. You can’t move around in the shooting range and it seems like its overly sensitive when aiming, but that could just be me. As for the game itself, if you are Ghost Recon fan or like tactical third-person shooters, this is a good game but it’s not one of those have to have it right now games.
This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 version of Ghost Recon Future Soldier
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