Ghost Recon Future Soldier: First Impressions

There's no way to change the rate of fire on your gun.

Oh wait, there actually is a way! See, you've gotta go into the gun setup menu before a mission and choose a physical trigger for the rate of fire you want. There's a trigger for full auto, and that's the one you're stuck with for the entire mission.

There's no way to change the rate of fire on your gun during a mission.

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That's idiotic. Does anybody at Ubisoft actually know how guns work? You don't need to physically replace the trigger on a gun to switch firing rates, you can just use the fire selector on the side of a gun to switch from safe to semi automatic to three round burst to fully automatic. That's what you did in the other Tom Clancy games, because that's what real guns do. That's what you're supposed to get when you play a Tom Clancy game... real guns. Because realism, yo. Fucking retarded designers. 
If you're one of the designers who worked on this game, please msg me and explain how you came to this boneheaded decision. I'm dying to figure this out. Did you actually play any other Tom Clancy game before getting hired to work on Future Soldier? What the hell is wrong with you? Guns have multiple rates of fire on them by default! It's not about the stupid trigger!
There's also options in the gun setup menu for a collapsible stock and an extended stock. What the fuck. Do they not realize that a collapsible stock can be... extended into an extended stock?

I've been playing through the first few missions, and so far, I'm really disappointed. There are entire scripted sequences where you're just armed with a pistol and forced to shoot it out with soldiers with machine guns spraying you to hell and back while you're standing out in the open. How am I not dead? I'm playing on the Elite difficulty setting, BTW. You're just standing there in the open calmly shooting these guys with your pistol while somehow being turned into swiss cheese and yet not dying. This is not what a Tom Clancy game is supposed to deliver. Of course, the other horrible part is that these scripted sequences won't even allow you to move out of the way, because all you can do is aim. It's like a shooting gallery, they've taken away all bodily control from the player. This is stale, boring gameplay. Stop boring me to death, Ubisoft.

The lethality is toned way down, because there've been times when I've sustained multiple gunshots and still survived (On Elite). You just magically heal back up to full in a few seconds, like in a Call of Duty game. Again, where is the realism?

Then they feel the need to cram in stealth sequences, while you're sitting there going WTF? Look, I enjoy stealth games, like Splinter Cell, but I don't need stealth in my Ghost Recon game. I don't play Ghost Recon for a stealth experience. Thankfully, these seem to be rare, but they're odd and jarring and momentarily frustrating when you do have to play them.

Now the new addition to this Future Soldier entry is the Predator-style cloaking devices that the Ghosts have. Personally, I don't care for this, because it ventures away from the realistic tactical atmosphere of Tom Clancy games and veers off into sci-fi territory. It's also completely ridiculous how your Ghost character doesn't even have the common sense to fully enclose his body with the cloaking gear, as you can clearly see that he has his sleeves rolled up, exposing his bare white arms. Why would you roll your sleeves up when they're providing cloaking to your body? This is just stupendously idiotic.

The game also introduces sensor balls that you can throw to mark hostile targets. What I don't understand is how you can resupply on your handy dandy sensors from an African warlord's weapon stash? Those sensors are really useful, but they seem high tech. Why would you find them out in enemy hideouts? Instead, what you should be doing is recovering your own sensors and reusing them. But the game won't let you pick them up again after you've thrown them. Why is that? They seem like they should be reuseable.

Now with all that said... there are still moments that are enjoyable. When you're laying prone on a desert landscape and calmly placing a headshot from long range with a silenced rifle, then crawling a couple of meters to a new location, and making another on a second hapless guard... that's still an enjoyable experience. It's a primal sensation of dominance and control that never does get old. Then you're reminded of the old Ghost Recons and how good those were. 
The sync shot kills from SC Conviction are back, and while they still make the game feel incredibly easy, I have much less of a problem with them here because it feels more appropriate and something your Ghost team would be capable of. In Conviction, it just looked fairly over the top and ridiculous, while here you expect that a four man squad of special forces badasses would have the teamwork and coordination to pull off four headshots at once. After all, Navy SEALs sharpshooters did the same thing when they rescued that ship captain from Somali pirates. That's basically what you're doing here and it works in that context.

But a funny thing arises... your squadmembers now seem completely invulnerable or somehow amazing at dodging incoming rounds, because I've never seem any of them injured or taken out by enemy gunfire. In previous Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon games, they certainly were vunerable to getting shot and injured, or even killed during a mission. The first Ghost Recon would frequently have me ending missions with limping squadmembers in tow, which made for some rather painful hikes up Georgian (country, not the state) forests and mountaintops. GRAW allowed you to patch them up with medkits if they were injured. Here, they seem to have taken on the traits of Captain Price or Soap from Call of Duty games, where you just don't worry about them because they've got godmode on. On one hand, it does mean that you don't have the responsibility of babysitting them, but on the other... there's no longer any consequence or danger to the squad, and it just feels like more of a lone wolf run-and-gun style of game.

Conviction's melee stealth kills are also in here, a first for a Ghost Recon game. I like em. They changed em though, because now you can initiate the kill from a range of about five feet away, instead of having to get right up next to the guy. This is a Ghost Recon game though and not a pure stealth game, so I appreciate that they realized the range needed to be more flexible.

One of the frustrating things about the gameplay is just how limited you feel in the environment. Ghost Recon games are supposed to be incredibly vast and expansive, which allows for a lot of tactical movement and flanking. That was always the difference between Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six. Ghost Recon was an outdoors game while Rainbow Six stuck to indoor CQB. However, there are so many times when you're just moving around the seemingly vast landscape of Future Soldier and suddenly run right into that invisible boundary that tells you to head back immediately. It's not an invisible wall but that lame boundary that you find in Battlefield games where you know the game's going to kill you if you stay out for more then five seconds. Obviously, game maps can't go on forever, but there seemed to be a very low margin for exploration, which leads to a feeling of extreme linearity and restriction.

Now, if there's one aspect of the game that really shines and shows where the dev team spent most of their effort and hard work, it's in the vision modes. Vision modes were a big, big deal in the Splinter Cell games but felt much less so in the other Tom Clancy games. Here, they've certainly been given the full Splinter Cell treatment and have all the flair and nifty filter effects that one could possibly cram in. Thermo vision and a new Magnetic vision both look incredible and actually factor heavily into gameplay, with one sequence during an African sandstorm being a particular highlight.