It has been close to 5 years since we last had a chance to step into the shoes of a highly Advanced Warfighter infiltrating Mexico to overthrow an evil despot determined to start world war 3. Like its namesake Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 disappeared into the night without anyone knowing any different…except those of us who believe in them.
May 20th marks the return of our ethereal friends in a brand new game called ” Ghost Recon Future Soldier” and its potentially a game changer in the world of military shooters. Sadly its a game that’s flying so far under anyones radar that it also risks becoming its namesake; a GHOST.
The current state of the shooter genre is a large pie that is primarily dominated by a few key franchises year over year. It’s a short list and sadly there isn’t much room for new franchises as its mostly a battle of who’s sequel is going to outdo the others sequel. To be fair , there are plenty of new shooters that get released every year but a lot of them end up in the discount bin or fail to attract enough of a loyal following that any chance of a sequel getting green lit is minimal.
Ghost Recon Future Soldier represents a sort of anomaly to the industry. To many it is the next exciting installment in a long series of games dating back over 10 years ago. but to many more it’s the first time they have ever heard of the franchise. It is therefore faced with an uphill battle on two fronts 1) How does it go about fulfilling its legacy to an existing fan base and 2) How does it attract new fans in the face of established more prominent brands in the shooting genre?
The Ghost Recon franchise has released just as many titles as the Call of Duty series but to this day has yet to reach the levels of commercial success that the former has. Perhaps it is the long incubation periods between releases on major platforms or maybe its the fact that it does not water down its mechanics to attract a younger generation of gamer ie. gamers who do not appreciate a challenging experience. Ghost Recon has always been about tactical action laced with a strong learning curve and a variety of advanced options ( squad control, weapon and equipment options) over fast paced gunplay and a run and gun mentality. Whatever the reason the franchise exists on a pedestal for many of us as the pinnacle of what a modern shooter shoot be; and that’s why we love it.
Ghost Recon Future Soldier ( GRFS) is bringing the series forward again into a near future setting that allows the developers to showcase technology that isn’t quite in active use but is being tinkered with behind the scenes. It gives the gamers a taste of what the landscape of military conflict may look like in the next 10 years or so. In my opinion I think Ubi Soft ( the developers) have pulled a fast one on the Call of Duty franchise and hit that milestone before they did. GRFS exists somewhere in between a modern Warfare and a HALO experience. Its more akin to Crysis but grounded in modern trappings ( guns and environments are all very much still modern and recognizable elements)
The game is very much unique in presentation and bold in its ideas. In GRFS you will be playing with up to 3 other players in a co-operative experience through over 10 missions in a campaign that has you globe-trotting all over the world. The fact that they are embracing CoOp whole heartedly also shows that they are committed to winning over fans of existing franchises ( good-bye Spec Ops !) with features that are missing from games in its genre.
The wildcard is that it’s the first ” modern shooter” that dared ground itself in the 3rd person perspective instead of the now common FPS. GRFS is defiant in this feature utilizing a very polished cover system to give players a more tactical feeling while they navigate the levels they are thrust into. It’s almost like playing Gears of War with all your favourite machine guns and pistols dressed in Camo and wearing bad ass spec ops headgear…Its a 3rd person military shooter and even though the SoCom players will applaud Ubi Soft ; the COD players will shun it. But maybe that’s a good thing based on the state of their community these days.
All of these opinions are going to be put to the test very soon when the game launches in May. A public BETA is scheduled for some time in April but based on other BETA’s I have played in the past I expect nothing more than a ” server testing” demo of sorts. I know that I cannot pass final judgement until the game launches with everything polished and ready for release.
In the meantime if you havent experienced a Ghost Recon Game I recommend you jump in and play GRAW2. It is a dated game with a very slow pace that will frustrate all of you who have been grazing on the likes of Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3; but if you take the time to learn the game and understand it for what it is you may actually end up liking it. I do know that GRFS has a more sped up gameplay experience and a full intuitive cover system in its campaign and multi player component ( something that GRAW2 is lacking)
May can’t come quick enough for me and the game I have been waiting over 4 years for will have finally arrived on shelves. I know I will be logging plenty of hours on this game and look for it to start appearing on our EGL roster soon. I hope to start building a good community around this game and as always you can look to EVO Unlimited and EVO Games as your source of info and late breaking news for Ghost Recon Future Soldier.