But, launching into the latest from the series Tom Clancy’s: Ghost Recon Future Soldier led to a mixed experience, one that started me thinking about the complexity of today’s games, even those available on the not-so-humble-anymore home console.
The single player campaign is a compelling piece of macho semi-sci-fi military pulp fiction whose plot and purpose is quickly forgotten amongst all the bullets, map-briefing fly overs, radio chatter and chopper humdrum. All you need to know is that you and your Ghost Recon buddies have been sent into a dangerous hot spot to sneak around, kill a few baddies and hopefully fulfil the mission brief as quickly and self-preservingly as possible.
The great thing about the missions is that for the most-part triggering an alert via noise, the discovery of a body by a guard or dancing inappropriately in full view of an evil arms dealer will not automatically ‘fail’ the mission. Instead it is time for the Ghosts to get nasty and take down as many enemies as possible. Unlike a game like Gears of War however, this balls-to-the-wall run and gun style is not preferred and will most likely see you at the reload rather than the mission accomplished screen.
Near future gadgets take centre role here, along with high tech weaponry the Ghosts are armed with special vision spectrums, including ‘magnetic’, sensor devices that sort out friend from foe and the best gadget since the iPhone, the UAV; a small quad copter camera and mobile EMP grenade that can be used for identifying, and tagging enemies from the safety of concealed cover.
With all that is going on, the complexity of being a modern day soldier is just too much for an average gamer to jump into. Instead of a single joystick guiding us around the maze avoiding Ghosts, we need to master all of the controller buttons to employee the gadgetry, whilst maintaining situation awareness under fire from a host of bad guys. So the Ubisoft designers stepped in to give a helping hand.
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