Ghost Recon Future Soldier review: Clancy's new direction is a pleasant surprise

From Splinter Cell, to Rainbow Six, to Ghost Recon and even EndWar - all Clancy games share the same DNA. Yes, obviously, they're all about shooting men in the face from various distances, and saving the planet from dastardly terrorist groups (usually based in Russia), but one thing that often gets overlooked is that they're all world leaders in making you feel like a badass.

Future Soldier is no exception - no other game does spec ops as confidently or convincingly. However, in doing so, it treads a little too hard on Splinter Cell's toes, giving you a slight sense that you've played this game before...

Where do you stand on Splinter Cell Conviction? Some loved it, others not so much. If you're in the Conviction fan club you'll enjoy the direction Ubisoft are taking Ghost Recon in. Crudely, Future Soldier is all about arriving in an area full of bad guys, scouting them out, picking off as many as you can without raising the alarm, and finishing the rest off with the largest gun you can carry. It's Conviction's aggressive stealth on a larger scale, with more men to kill and more allies to murder them with. Winner.
Those who bemoaned Splinter Cell's move away from more traditional stealth will have similar problems with GRFS. Everything has been streamlined - from targeting to your use of gadgets - and although that makes the game more accessible, it cuts down on the hardcore factor. You don't have to struggle to be good at Future Soldier, and while that's a good thing through 90% of the game, you feel a little spoon-fed for the other 10%. And some people love a challenge...
Future Soldier Cover


What remains constant from GRAW to GRFS (acronyms FTW) is the Clancy-ness; that uber-military styling so many shooters have since adopted. It almost feels self-parody now, requiring a Masters in Oscar-Mike-ology from the University of 30 Clicks Northwest to keep up. As far as we can tell, bad people are trying to occupy Moscow, except it isn't the Russians because the Cold War is over. It's ultranationalists; and just like Nazis, zombies and aliens, you can shoot ultranationalists all day without upsetting anyone. Phew.
Although the plot is near-unintelligible, it does have you hopping the globe to a variety of regions you don't often get to ruin in shooters. The Nigerian desert, an oil-tanker in the Norwegian Sea, a traffic jam in Peshawar - these are all unusual and spectacular places you'll visit during the campaign. The simple fact that you're not crawling down Fifth Avenue yawning as the Chrysler building explodes makes Future Soldier feel a little different. Each stage looks decent enough, and what they lack in visual polish, they make up for in massive scale. Stages can last for up to an hour at a time and they're filled with opportunities to get creative when you're picking off bad-guys.

As we alluded to before, Future Soldier makes you feel like King Gun. There's a smoothness to the movement of your soldier thanks to real spec ops hardcase mo-capping and consultation, and it genuinely makes a difference in combat. From opening doors and clearing rooms, to sprinting from cover to cover in open battle, this game feels right. Headshots are brutal, weapons handle genuinely differently when you tinker with them in Gunsmith, and scenery falls apart as you riddle it with bullets. What's more, the tactical side is well implemented and finely balanced. Early levels teach the basics of commanding teammates to take simultaneous shots (you can tag up to four enemies at once before giving the kill order, in some cases completely clearing that area of hostiles), while later stages ask you to consider how many you can pick off quietly - swinging a firefight in your favour - before setting off the alarm. Get it right and you can clear whole levels without ever being spotted.

Red Orchestra 2 January Teaser & more...

The Rising Storm team are proud to present you with a little something to whet your appetites for the forthcoming Rising Storm expansion to Red Orchestra 2: a teaser video showcasing the Iwo Jima level. This map features the beaches and tunnels of the heavily defended 'home island' with its iconic landmark, Mt Suribachi. This is the first map-specific material to be seen and hints at some of the goodies and new features coming in Rising Storm.

You can see the video on the Rising Storm Youtube channel: and there are translated versions in Spanish, French, Russian, Polish, German, Italian and Czech over with our good friends at 1C publishing.

It’s been a busy few months for the Rising Storm team, integrating our work with the public version of the recently released Red Orchestra 2 SDK and getting on board some top talent. New additions include the composer, Ben Hollway, who has worked on the music promoting this year’s Oscar ceremonies and with recording artists such as Devlin, and Harlan Glenn, who has worked in a research capacity for HBO’s ‘The Pacific’ and ‘Band of Brothers’ and as Pacific theatre researcher for both the Medal of Honor and Call of Duty franchises. The trailer itself features the special effects work of Richard Dawson, another new member of the team.
As you can see, with TWI’s support, this is a mod that is able to punch above its weight in terms of the quality of its crew. This is particularly so as RS has long been recruiting from the fertile gounds of the modding communities which grew up around TWI’s previous hits, Red Orchestra: Ostfront 1941-45 and Killing Floor. We do, however, still have openings for a couple more talented modellers to round off the ranks and applications can be made here.
And, as a little extra, we are now inviting applications for beta testers, so we have a team ready for when the beta testing starts in March: - so head on over!
Links for more information:

Alliance of Valiant Arms Update Released

Update for Alliance of Valiant Arms Cheats have been released. This update contains an all new game mode INFECTION. The update contents will patch automatically through the Alliance of Valiant Arms Loader when initiated. Updates include:

New Game Mode:

New Map:
Burning Temple [Infection]

New Capsule Weapons:
Galil MAR (Pre-Release Capsule)

New Weapon Shop Item:
K1A1 Rail (Point Man)

New Backpack Items:
[Infection] Increased Health (Backpack A)
[Infection] Special Weapon I (Backpack B)
[Infection] Special Weapon II (Backpack B)
[Infection] Increased Attack (Backpack C)
[Infection] Increased Jumping (Backpack D)

Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike: Source, Day of Defeat: Source and Half-Life 2: Deathmatch Updates Released

Dec 15, 2011
Updates to Team Fortress 2 Cheats, Counter-Strike: Source Cheats, Day of Defeat: Source Cheats  and Half-Life 2: Deathmatch have been released. The updates will be applied automatically when your Steam client is restarted. The major changes include:

Source Engine Changes (TF2, DoD:S, HL2:DM)

    Fixed a bug which caused Windows Aero Extensions video option to always be enabled, regardless of setting. Disabling this can improve compatibility with third-party programs and overlays, but may also affect performance.
    Fixed SourceTV showing player counts for the game server instead of the number of clients connected to the SourceTV server

Team Fortress 2

    Australian Christmas has begun!
        Added community-contributed winter event items
        Added new Grordbort Pyro and Engineer item sets
        Added the "Valve Gift Grab 2011 – TF2" achievement
        Added Naughty and Nice winter keys to the Mann Co. store
    Added a new Valve-authored control point map: Foundry
        added 12 achievements for Foundry
        added achievement reward milestone reward for Foundry achievement
    Added UGC Highlander medals
    Relaxed some restrictions on what misc items can be equipped simultaneously
    Additional improvements for client stability
    Updated the localization files

Day of Defeat: Source

    Added the "Valve Gift Grab 2011 – DoD:S" achievement
    Updated the localization files

Counter-Strike: Source

    Added the "Valve Gift Grab 2011 – CS:S" achievement
    Added rate limiting for connections and added the following ConVars to support that:
    Dramatically improved the dynamic model loading system's memory usage, performance, and stability
    Reduced memory usage on systems running Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7
    Improved alt-tab handling under Windows Vista and Windows 7
    Fixed a client crash during demo playback
    Updated the localization files