If you’ve played Mass Effect 3 (namely its multiplayer), Guerrilla mode feels similar. Up to four players capture designated areas and defend them against multiple waves of enemies. If enemy characters capture the headquarters or kill your entire team, the game is over, but completing the ten rounds provides with a hefty experience bonus that contributes to character customization unlocks for multiplayer. Guerrilla is a quick and fun alternative to the campaign and multiplayer modes, but lacks the enemy variety and challenge you’d get from other games, making it the weaker of the title’s main modes.
Competitive multiplayer is a hefty piece of the Future Soldier pie, if not the heftiest. There are four game types: Conflict, Decoy, Saboteur and Siege. Every mode focuses on a variant of capturing objectives, which emphasizes the need to work as a team. Conflict finds opposing teams fighting over randomly spawning objectives, whereas teams must find the one true objective out of three in Decoy, and arming or disarming a bomb is the primary goal in Saboteur. Siege feels like playing an old school game of Counter-Strike, since teams are either defending or attacking an objective and there are no respawns. You could run out and try to score some kills before biting the bullet, and spend the rest of the round spectating as a result, but using gadgets and squad tactics really run their paces here.
Success in multiplayer depends on how much you can reveal about the other team and coordinate with the three soldier classes. Engineers equip themselves with multiple gadgets, like sensor grenades or UAV drones to spot out enemies and make them visible through walls. Stunning an enemy with a taser and hacking their data feed also reveal all other enemy squad member locations. Snipers get the expected long-range rifles, but also have unique, enemy-revealing scopes. Rifleman classes can get some impressive multi-kills simply by flanking spotted players with their assault rifles or provide cover fire with light machine guns. All these options offer gameplay alternatives that focus heavily on teamwork – an element that’s lost with many other contemporary shooters.
A primary motivator for doing well in multiplayer is earning experience. Gaining levels allows you to purchase attachments and weapons in the robust character customization feature, Gunsmith. In Gunsmith, primary and secondary weapons stylishly explode apart showing the various parts that can be swapped out for parts that fit your specific playstyle. Gunstocks can be replaced to add greater control or mobility; short barrels provide mobility while longer ones are more accurate, even the gas systems can be switched to affect the rate of fire. The level of customization gives a strong sense of ownership over your preferred weapon and being able to have complete control over the look and function of your loadouts makes you feel like a unique soldier on the multiplayer battlefield.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier feels like a welcome relief from the run-of-the-mill, run’n gun shooters. Co-op involves actual team coordination with the delightful full co-op campaign and horde modes, the team-focused multiplayer is a blast to play with friends and earning unlocks in the in-depth Gunsmith customization system is incentive enough for you to stick with these online modes. Although Ubisoft missed the mark in creating a genuinely unique, futuristic setting, the tactical, slow-paced gameplay and unique squad-based experience sets Future Soldier apart from the typical shooter.