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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Life + Arts

Latest ‘Ghost Recon’ edition underdeveloped

There is no “I” in team in the Tom Clancy Ghost Recon series.

The tactical squad, third-person shooter is all about teamwork, and video game publisher Ubisoft takes it to a higher level with “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier” for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

“Future Soldier” combines tactical military combat with advanced technological gadgets.

Using these high-tech gadgets and special camouflage, the four man military team of Ghosts set out to seize a Russian threat known as Raven’s Rock. This alliterative antagonist is apparently responsible for causing terror in a few third world countries and the slaying of some of the protagonist men.

The story throughout the campaign mode is nonsensical and hardly interesting.

One member in your squad serves as comic relief, but the other three are nearly irrelevant as characters.

There are not any redeeming qualities about any of them, and cutscenes try — but ultimately fail — to squeeze a tear out of the player.

Luckily, the game’s landscapes are gorgeous. From tropics of Bolivia to the snowy mountains of Russia, “Future Soldier” pops out at you.

Enemy character models are pale in comparison, though. You’ll find that the game spawns many doppelgangers throughout, but merely add in a couple glitches and then you’ll see that the graphical presentation is far from perfect.

Throughout the story, players take turns using stealth to their advantage and make noises while engaging in heavily laden gunfights.

Players will be able to throw out sensors to get a number of surrounding enemies, even ones behind walls.

Using the drones can give you an overhead scan of targets and can also pass through small vents and disable machinery.

The optical camouflage — your best gadget — can make you completely invisible and is a nice touch to the interactivity, but firing your weapon or moving too fast can disable that magic and leave you vulnerable.

With the Synch Shot ability, up to four enemies can be marked for a hugely satisfying swooping sniper shot, and when marking and ordering shots among your team, your shot triggers a slow-motion action sequence.

You can tag enemies for your teammates using Focus Fire and lessen the pressure when things get nasty.

The downside is that you cannot directly control any of your teammates. The AI can also put you in a tough spot if you are reckless, but stealth smart players may feel that enemies are a walk in the park, making the campaign too easy.

The online multiplayer mode pushes teamwork as well. You can jump right into one of four multiplayer modes and try your luck at being a one-man show, but you will seldom get very far.

Luckily, the game readily gives you the option to form squads with you and your friends online. You can take on the scout, rifleman or engineer classes and level them up during matches and by completing objectives.

From holding down resupply spots to compromising VIP targets, completing objectives gives your team the upper hand.

The online mode is deep and exciting, but Ubisoft’s server issues can abruptly end the game and cause all your progress to go to waste.

Ghost Recon has had its hit and misses, and “Future Soldier” seems to land right in the middle. You can spend a lot of time on this game given the extra campaign challenges and the “Guerilla” mode, but the game could have been greater had there been more development time.

The glitches and the blandness of the game taint the experience. If you do not care about graphic setbacks, this is probably the best third-person squad-based shooter game currently out.

However, it is far from being the best all-around shooter that players have seen or will see this year.

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