The paradigm has definitely shifted – Ghost Recon: Future Soldier makes no illusions that it’s anything other than a primarily multiplayer game. It prioritises this over single player from the main menu, and that campaign itself isn’t the lengthiest of scenarios we’ve ever seen. It’s better value than the pitifully short offerings that Call of Duty has delivered in recent years, but that’s not saying much.
On the flip side, if you absolutely must play shooters with friends, you can go through the story in co-op. Elsewhere, in addition to all the expected – and undeniably engaging – multiplayer modes, ‘Guerrilla’ takes notes from Gears of Wars’ Horde mode, with endless waves of enemies.
It may be best that the narrative is underplayed though – despite its near-future setting adding a few new technological tricks to the series’ repertoire, it’s essentially a matter of tracing an arms trail after a dirty bomb is detonated. The attendant globetrotting allows Ubisoft to set missions in a wide variety of locations for maximum scope and spectacle, but, outside of a few twists along the way, there are few surprises.
Thankfully, gameplay is solid, nicely balancing the series’ hallmarks of shooting, stealth and strategy. Issuing direct commands is streamlined into marking key targets, which your squad will focus on. Semi-destructible environments up the tension too, as your cover could disappear under heavy fire.
It’s also nice that Ubisoft didn’t go crazy with the ‘future’ appellation. New weapons and devices are extrapolations of existing tech. Sensor grenades revealing nearby hostiles, light-refracting suits giving partial invisibility, and more are all based on currently developing technologies, and drip-fed into use so there’s always something new to uncover.
Add a star if your preference is multiplayer, as the game becomes immeasurably stronger in that arena. As a solo experience, it’s sadly mediocre.
Reviewed by Matt Kamen