Ghost Recon: Future Soldier gets even more content added to the title’s already robust combination of single player and co-op features with the latest DLC pack, Raven Strike. This second expansion includes three additional co-op campaign missions and one new Guerilla mode map. The campaign missions offer varying environments, non-linear tactical options, and more difficult mission layouts, as compared to the core game. For those who can’t get enough of playing Future Soldier’s co-op with their friends, Raven Strike won’t disappoint.
The story takes the Ghost team back to Russia with some of the largest environments yet. The missions will have you infiltrate a foggy swamp to capture a Russian General, search through a narrow train yard for vital intelligence, and assassinate Bodark leaders in the city of Moscow. Each area demands different strategies and keeps the gameplay interesting throughout. For instance, one level has wide-open fields, in which your sniping and infiltration skills will be tested as you systematically pick off patrols. And then another takes you to a rail yard, where tight corners will force you into heated, close-quarters firefights. The variability in each mission makes for an exhilarating challenge and includes some thrilling set-pieces to play through.
The missions introduce new elements and environments that will have you changing tactics regularly. In the first mission--which is located in a swamp--waist-high water and nonfunctional optical camo prevents conventional sneaking; so, finding alternative routes and flanking during battle becomes more important than ever. In another mission, enemy helicopters pass overhead in cadence. Not only will you have to keep an eye on enemy patrols, you’ll also have to time your takedowns, lest you be riddled by high-powered helicopter fire for getting spotted. These new elements set Raven Strike’s missions apart from the main campaign and make some of the most enjoyable levels in the game.
The expansion’s final level, Argent Thunder, which puts you in the city of Moscow at night, is among the finest of Future Soldier’s missions. Not only is it incredibly challenging (one of the first enemies you encounter is an Armored Personnel Carrier), but it forces you to use all of the gadgets and skills you have at your disposal. Notably, you won’t be using equipment like your night vision goggles because Ghost Lead told you to, you’ll have to launch your UAV into the sky and alternate between vision modes as a necessity. You and your co-op partners might have been able to sneak by in previous missions, gunning your way through troops and forgoing the high tech recon equipment, but in the Argent Thunder mission, having elements like the enemy APCs in the vicinity doesn’t permit such carelessness—especially on the higher difficulties. The levels set excellent examples of how Ghost Recon missions should be played.
The Raven Strike co-op missions are best played with a few friends, but having some partners is required if you want to get through the 50 enemy waves on the DLC’s Guerrilla mode map, Sawmill. The map is a new environment for Guerrilla, which is a wide-open outdoor area with dispersed cover surrounding a large central building. If you haven’t dug yourself into Future Soldier’s addicting Guerrilla mode yet, Sawmill won’t offer anything more to draw you in than the standard maps already do. But if you’ve enjoyed battling through the waves of enemies with your friends, Sawmill makes a strong addition to the existing map list.
Raven Strike’s missions are challenging, the environments keep your squad’s tactics changing, and the levels feature new elements that keep the gameplay fresh. If you are looking for a few more missions to play through, the Raven Strike DLC is a great option, but even though it’s fun with the AI squad members, without the support of co-op friends, the replayability of the new missions fade.