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Sturgeon

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   Next operation, in Russia (Kaliningrad, airport).

 

Spoiler

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   Heh, perfect positioning of trees.

 

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   Map shows how trees were placed, strange to see that. Also, challenges. Later i re-played missions on elite difficulty to test differences and tried Hardcore to see if there are differences (yes, and there are noticeable)

 

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   Usually in-game graphics shows itself when there is one light source in scene to show of bump/normal mapping, as games are pretty bad at soft shadows/half-shadows and diffused light.

 

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   This shit is annoying, as it gets in the way when you are playing.

 

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   "Nothing is written here. You see nothing", but all that written with mistakes and in wrong form, lol.

 

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   Forced drone use to turn off ventilation fans.

 

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   This is real place, but closest airport to Chkalovsk town is military one and it looks nothing like in-game version.

 

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   For example i didn't saw civilian planes and hangars for them on sat photos.

 

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   This is SPETSNAZ! They look like usual conscripts from mid 1990s.

 

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   IIRC in Battlefield Bad Company 2 we already blew up Mria.

 

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   Revolver shotgun, lel.

 

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   Wow, thanks game for telling me about things you already told me.

 

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   Forced turret section starts right about now.

 

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   Russian text doesn't make sense. interesting if others are as fucked as russian one.

 

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   Fight with waves of enemies will happen here in 3...2...1...

 

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   Tank appears.

 

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   As already happened several times - we are saved by airstrike. 

 

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   "Modern Warfacres had shocking scene of terrorist attacks, we will have them as well!"

 

Spoiler

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   Those were 2012s, today nobody would be bothered by somebody filming that, hehehe.

 

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   Strange that they didn't put just "Russia" here. We are going in to save remains of Georgian SF team (LOL)

 

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   Hugged him to warm up in this rainy day and put him into sleep.

 

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   "Stop here, check your gear an make sure that player don't notice laoding screen." Also, this pistol comes from nowhere and i didn't took any pistols in this operation but Kozak constantly managed to pull it out of other dimensions or something in those cutscenes.

 

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   This look like a small town somewhere in Baltic states and not village in Dagestan.

 

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   Kek, Matryoshka written with mistake. 

 

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   Matryoshka written without mistakes.

 

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   Ambush busted with press of a button. Probably one of reasons why gameplay don't feel really varied.

 

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   Ghoststm gear was hacked and now HUD is filled with fake target markers. BTW, you can't just turn some of HUD off to avoid all that fake info, or turn it into other modes. Those elite special forces guys just continue to use compromised gear.

 

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   "Come on, hurry up. There are no ambushes here!"

 

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   "You see, cinematic moments like those are showing that everything is okey!"

 

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   Ow, that is ambush.

 

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   Killing those guys is not a problem. They use adaptive camo, but X-ray vision makes it useless.

 

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   Even guy that was tortuted 30 seconds ago, without any kind of gear and armed with just SMG can deal with them.

 

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   After street fight we back to a building which we entered after that 1st busted ambush, just another loading screen concealment sequence.

 

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   Seriously?

 

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   Ultimax MG is probably best MG in this game. Magazine fed (faster reload), same amount of rounds in it as in belt-fed MGs (150), basically same firepower with slower ROF that gives more controlable recoil.

 

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   This helicopter is staying in one spot way too long.

 

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   So surprising.

 

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   Their tactics is hust "rush to enemy position mindlessly"

 

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   In order to start end cutscene you need to run to Osadze guy that was wounded, if you don't do that a battle with Spec ops will continue, probably forever. Also, game doesn't tell you that you need to go back, which is unusual as it always fucking tells you where exactly it wants you to be.

 

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   That whole cutscene was pathetic. Tank appears and fires (misses), idiots jump probably into a river (we don't see), evil spec ops look somewhere down, end. So escaping them suddenly became easy and cliched, lol.

 

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   Fucking around in firing range before next mission, testing recoil patterns. This is OTs-33 Pernach pistol in full-auto without player controlling recoil, BTW.

 

Spoiler

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   I undestood that with just upper hint, no need for second one.

 

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   Quite light clothing for this weather.

 

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   I type faster in english than Kozak in this scene, lol.

 

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   I will take them out one by one. Starting to aim....

 

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   ... enemy moves and my squad members moved forward. "Ghostlead" looks at me like "what are you waiting for, let's go"

 

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   Enemy started to see me, while i was aiming from cover, but don't see 2 other "Ghosts" under his nose - enemy AI is set to not see AI-controlled "Ghosts" in stealth sections.

 

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   Scripted "ambush"

 

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   I can feel how this space is set up for another ambush, i sense trigger script in that part of ship, heh.

 

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   Enemies are endlessly spawns until certain scripted moment.

 

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   Is this Modern Warfare 1 first mission?

 

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   I think we saw that cutscene already.

 

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   Ow, it bugged out.

 

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   Yeah, another forced turret section that PC versions of GRAW 1 and 2 managed to avoid.

 

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   I'm just firing at orange dots, without this vision mode enemies would be very hard to see.

 

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   Next mission - in Russia. Civil war, ultranationalists (maybe) and so on.

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   Lol, description of that guy.

 

Spoiler

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   "Stick to basics.... and DARPA auto-guided rounds", kek.

 

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   Those auto-guided bullets locked on wrong target!

 

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   Confidence exercise?

 

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   He smokes with his chin, haha.

 

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   Round lockes on head in strange point. I suspect that they used same point on 3D model that is used to track his visual/spotting arc.

 

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   Nice looking level.

 

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   Small area set up to challenge player - patrolling guards on hill slope with 2 LMG gunners inside of house on top of that slope. Taking that position in head on combat would be a bit risky on higher difficulties, stealth is not so easy as well.

 

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   Looking at patrols paths to figure out timing as soldiers walking around intersect with each other.

 

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   On top of this hill slope.

 

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   Well, 2 small areas done, time for loading screen hidden behind boring long cutscene.

 

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   Areas outside of small range of level area are very basic looking, without any objects of features. Some of latests maps for GRFS had just 2D picture wrapped around levels, lol.

 

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   Apparently devs forgot to model something here or texture is bugged. 

 

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   For some reason a lot of regular Russian troops are armed with AN-94s.

 

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   Scripted attack - it will happen even if you take this position silently

 

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   Vehicles in this game have better spotting capabilities around them than infantry.

 

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   This does look like Russian village, although not sure that region where this mission happens have such villages.

 

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   I whish this level of destruction was in this game, heh.

 

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   I don't remember such artillery gun being in service of Russian Army.

 

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   Another turret section.

 

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   Roof on the right is strange - leafs suddenly ends in mid section. 

 

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   Is that Belarus' tractor?

 

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   Nope. Obvious reference ooportunity was missed.

 

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   Thanks to almost perfect X-ray vision enemies can't surprise you.

 

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   Cemetery sequence - obvious choice is to have firefight on it. This time - against snipers

 

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   Details are quite nice on this map.

 

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   Immersion level - 100%.

 

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   110%, hahaha.

 

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   Yet again we are fighting hordes of enemies in the end section of mission, exactly like in several others missions.

 

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   And yet again we are going to be saved from all this with good old airstrike controlled by a player.

 

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   For next operation i put together this abomination.

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   X-ray sight, "silencer", double drum mag (i'm not sure if it would fit right, as mag insert window is mounted at an angle, heh).

 

   This operation was more interesting as i was alone, without 3 other pricks

Spoiler

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   Of course it is Siberia, where else Russian president would be held in custody?

 

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   Because Kozak decided to equip night vision instead of magnetics/x-ray vision system, x-ray sight on AN-94 is good additional help for single-man infiltration.

 

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   Heh, our expensive adaptive camo system could be busted just by some light bulb.

 

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   Those objective markers are as obnoxious as in worst CoDs and similar games.

 

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   Endless vents, what i always wanted in my action games.

 

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   Looks like capitalists already infiltrated this prison.

 

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   Uh.. this fucking room is like 5x5 meters, i don't really need those markers, just design levels to funnel player to places you want. Wait, this is already a case, thanks to corridor-like level layouts of almost all locations in GRFS.

 

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   ... again, weird placards with Russian text with mistakes. Those are tips to check your car engine placed on walls of internal parts of secret prison.

 

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   "...of free people"

 

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   "To be careful". Thanks, random crate to remind me to be careful while sneaking into secret prison. Also, this box is American spy, kek.

 

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   This guy doesn't pay attention to things around him. A hazy cloud of something is looking at him and he just drinks soda, talks on the phone, smokes.

 

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   We need to snatch a pair of eyes for security system lock.

 

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   "See how i am scary? I will put silencer of my pistols right inside of your head and place my hand on the other end of it to be sure to hit myself if i press a trigger!"

 

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   Developers forgot to model his torso under bodyarmor, lol.

 

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   So i went back to clear enemies left and only lights from their flashlights are left...

 

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   Loading screen in elevator. This thing on side rail is scanner that detects targets when you ADS and put marker on your HUD.

 

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   One of rare moments when your character have different look. You can't change it before operations.

 

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   Airstrike was scripted to happen to "cover our escape", which was pretty dumb. 

 

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   Explosions!

 

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   Explosions right in your face! ARE YOU HAVING FUN? IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT?!

 

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   Of course enemies suddenly know in all that chaos that we are escaping.

 

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   Now we are in Moscow, our task is to protect protesters from Raven's rock Druzhina (really fucking dumb name for evil organisation).

 

   For that operation i put together even worse AbominatioN-94 than last time.

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Spoiler

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   One of recent unlocks, trying to pick my second gun.

 

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   You can "modify" this shotgun into... that... thing. 

 

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   Incendiary rounds/pellets with god-awful spread. It is so terrible, i wish this game had some sort of challenge mode where player were forced to play with really bad weapons, lol.

 

  Let's get to actual mission.

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   Heh, those plackards. ""You can't fuck us" or "Fascism will not pass".

 

Spoiler

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   Well, tanks on streets is ok, as banner above says - it is a weapon expo.

 

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   "Russia dolls shop"... ughh.

 

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   Unlike all other Russian text in this game those look like real things written by somebody who knows Russian. Says "Russia without fascism"

 

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   "Fascism, enough [stop]"

 

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   Yeap, this is Moscow. Soviet high rise buildings are mostly seen in Moscow, much less in St.Petersburg. 

 

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   HAhahaha, we are protecting Russian communist party protest!

 

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   Immersion level - over 9000.

 

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   Is this Niva?

 

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   Damn, it is not. They missed another opportunity.

 

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   Lol, it is like those people were in Moscow.

 

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   Seriously, this is what you could see on streets in 2010s. Those are crappy shops with mostly beer and beer-related products.

 

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   Surprisingly colorful map.

 

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   Dat advertising, lol.

 

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   This is like a photo of real thing.

 

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   T-90 on children playground

 

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   "Company" ???

 

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   "Street". What street?

 

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   Just "Alley", lol.

 

   Now real start of the operation, kek.

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Spoiler

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   MVD soldiers with AN-94s, haha.

 

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   Sneaked behind enemies, stepped into this.

 

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   Sniper action.

 

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   This time loading screens are concealed behind news report.

 

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   Firefight with Bodark on rooftop

 

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   Another loading screen shows one of bad guys yelling things in a static shot.

 

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   In this sequence i managed to brake the game scripts.

 

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   Umm... this guy hands already are broken.

 

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   This looks very much like a place near one of subway stations not far from my old home.

 

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   Sneaking behind this roadblock to fuck up everyone in the same time with sync shot.

 

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   Those kind of shopping center are everwhere in St.Petersburg and Moscow.

 

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   Whole squad was taken out without rising alarm.

 

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   At this point game is broken - i took out every single soldier on a roadblock without rising alarm and without AI having a chance to getting into combat mode, which fucked scripts in this part of map - you are supposed to rise alarm and get into fighting. Now this part of map is empty and i can't progress through "loosing signal" soft invisible wall because supposed enemies were not spawned as script was not triggered, hahaha.

 

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   "Best car for best girls" but actual wording make this text to mean something like best car that you buy this car by paying with girls, lol.

 

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   I was forced to restart previous checkpoint as i was not able to progress simply because i was sneaky in a game where you are frequently asked to be sneaky...

 

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   Probably scripts in this game are also tied to explosions.

 

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   Just lmao at this AK"-47" with 2 sets of iron sights.

 

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   Game didn't authorized my blatant disrespect to mandatory pre-planned mission pacing and abuse of movement speed using this strange function called "sprint".

 

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   This is poor-man version of MW2 Burger king defence mission, for sure.

 

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   Enemies just mindlessly rush to your position. At least here they are sprinting, compared to somewhat slow movement of AI in GRAW 1 and 2.

 

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   Probably should have tried spinning - that's a good trick.

 

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   This is comedy at this point. AI rushing to one exact point, lol.

 

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   This is unusual - level maker decided to use some of his scripting to do something more than just "wave of dumb rushers" - truck is trying to ram our Admiral Burger fast food eatery

 

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   When blue line "swipe" screen games says to you that all clear.

 

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   For such firefight this fast food place is in good condition.

 

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   Office building was our target.

 

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   Hey, destructible cover mechanics that you can actually use in gameplay. Just 1 mission before game ends!

 

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   Rare enemy, straight from MW2, lol.

 

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   Also rare thing - Russian general that is not slavic.

 

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   Next operation - have a party with beer, crash party of our Russian opponents, who thinks their party in woods in old mansions is cooler than ours.

 

Spoiler

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   One of Ghoststm nickname is 30k, for some reason.

 

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   "Police", heh. Never saw our Poliece wearing those arms bands. Especially not with AbominatioN-94 equipped with X-ray sight, UGL, double drum mag and painted in USSR "TTsKO" camo pattern.

 

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   Those guys put together a roadblock, just to prevent us from destroying their get-together.

 

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   That is serious defence for just small party outside of big towns

 

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   This guy is abusive husband. First time player see villains, lol, just before killing them.

 

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   This is nice looking map. Generally places in GRFS are more interesting visually than in GRAW1 and 2.

 

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   A lot of patrols with frequent visual contact between each other.

 

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   Some textures don't have visual contact with each other, lol.

 

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   Heh. Torturing people while being hunted.

 

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   This shack is strange place for general to be, especially wearing his uniforms and being guarded by PMC.

 

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   Nice looking forest, but very tight corridor layout of plae kind of ruins this feeling.

 

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   Sync shot is a bit OP ability.

 

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   American SF tasked with killing Zadornov sounds like a joke for a Russian (Zadornov was known comedian that joked about Americans often).

 

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   Sadly this old mansion is just a prop. They could have made additional gameplay bits with searching this building for another target 

 

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   In a few moments all HVTs will be killed, after i take out this guard.

 

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   This is one of very rare properly "directed" sections. After contact was lost with a team in this mansion, coordinator can be heard on the radio giving orders for a special team to get here and recon.

 

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   In game they are relatively easy to see, sometimes easier than normal bad guys (because of their dark uniforms).

 

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   I have similar forest 15 minutes of walking away from home, lol.

 

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   ... although i didn't walked into swamps inside of that forest.

 

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   This moment was dumb - both targets were in LOS but Ghoststm were busy doing cutscene instead of shooting. So a chase sequence is what i got instead of swift HVTs kills.

 

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   One of HVTs can not be killed until he reaches scripted point.

 

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   Last VIP reached last unit, but we have an ace in our sleeves - diamond formation. Power of plot armor and on-rail shooting will allow out easy to kill group of SF dudes to charge enemies through open ground and win the fight easily!

 

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   This is end of original story missions. I will also post 3 DLC mission playthroughs and then - a review.

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   First DLC mission - takes place between missions of main campaign in Kazakhstan.

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Spoiler

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   Those trees look drunk. Also, this swamp forest is something i would expect to see near St.Petersburg, with dead Germans and Soviet soldier remains inside of it, not a place in Kazakhstan.

 

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   Human-eating rocks.

 

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   Even if it is a stealth game (mostly) light doesn't play any role in it.

 

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   Layout of map is obvious - easy to see where you are supposed to sneak around inside of small arena-like locations connected with very tight corridors. This is not terrible, but this map that shows everything in your face is not helping to build immersion, as it looks like a gameplay design document for this map.

 

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   Small events like armored car passing buy bring just a bit of life in that map and make it less generic.

 

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   Enemies are not so easy to spot here.

 

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   This "defend x from wave of enemies" sequence was made a little bit better than in main game. Village is open from any side and enemies are spawned/delivered to battlefield from different places, so defene of this village becomes somewhat "mobile" action and feels like a defene against opponents that tries to get to their target using different paths and tactics. Although in this case on a pic it was dumb move - dropping infatry right on top of VIP location in the middle of village.

 

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   Smoke screens to conceal attack.

 

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   Because i don't have x-ray vision, detection of Spec ops enemies is not easy. There are 3 soldiers in the middle of the road on that pic.

 

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   Some bad guys are taking position to deliver suppressive fire instead of rushing to target.

 

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   Spec ops sniper appeared in watchtower next to my position. It appears that it is scripted event, although sometimes enemies can rush to your place (in my case - this building on a small hill) and it is not scripted.

 

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   2nd DLC mission - in Russia.

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   Background is obvious 2D picture "wrapped" around level, lol.

 

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   This section is strange - you need to sneak around a field with constantly spawning helicopters that  fly over you.

 

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   Some parts were modelled inside of those Mi-24s

 

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   That chopper have crew modelled as well, haha. It dropped infantry and flew away.

 

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   Sometimes that Mi-24 clips into others after taking off.

 

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   Level makers like to put you into sewer or piles of trash.

 

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   I can see where level ends.

 

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   T-90 with Shtora IR dazzlers textured to be "on", heh.

 

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   Kozak is standing but that T-90 is bigger. Somebody fucked up size of that thing.

 

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   Soviet Union leftovers.

 

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   Texture work is a bit wrong, lol.

 

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   Another very interesting cutscene. Kozak (on the right) have same expression as i had.

 

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   Enemy spawning "room" is so obvious.

 

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   Monitor shows information upside down, heh.

 

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   WIth X-ray vision on you can sometimes even see how those guys are spawning in.

 

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   Penetration mechanics are pretty fun to use.

 

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   Last guy

 

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   Last DLC mission

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   Jem extraction team arrived.

 

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   Moscow looks war-torn, but you never know what exactly is happening and whole thing doesn't feel like a war.

 

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   "Mobil' " What mobil? At least part of telephone number looks like real thing.

 

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   GRFS really like to use smoke everywhere.

 

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   In DLC they also added reflections.

 

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   This is what GRFS is basically - comic strip about Military-man superhero.

 

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   Force punched that guy inside, lol.

 

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   This section was long and rather boring fight against constantly "replenished" crowd of bad guys.

 

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   Another "waiting for things to load" cutscene.

 

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   Probably the only plate with proper Russian text on it that i saw, haha.

 

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   Smoke everywhere!

 

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   Tickling him to death.

 

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   One of Ghoststm found good LOS on marked enemy - right next to him. Genious.

 

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   This is probably the only place near BTR-90 where you can hide from 360 spotting ability of this vehicle, because spotting is tied to turret and LOS between it and you.

 

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   Not really rare on some map - automatic turrets. They feel like a device from some other game, and for a reason (will cover in review).

 

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   Some additional things about GRFS for review

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   Friendly AI movement is controlled by (what i believe) scipted sequences via points where they are allowed and where they are not allowed to move. Here is example when they refuse to get a LOS for sync shot, usually they do that at any cost (even if they need right next to a target for establishing LOS).

 

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   "Kazakhstan" looks very much like some swamp areas around St.Petersburg.

 

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   Probably the only one "open" map in GRFS - you can approach this village from 2 sides and you are free to move inside of it.

 

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   Those events are scripted, but brings life to maps and affect gameplay.

 

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   That GAZ truck dropped additonal troops, complicating my sneaking plan. 

 

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   This is dumb move.

 

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   Snipers in towers inside of that village are scripted to spawn.

 

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   Although action on the ground looks like not totally scripted.

 

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    Heh, shot in the back.

 

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   ... "this region is secret demining only. Don't to stand here. To you will be killed" kek.

 

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   Looks like local snipers also like to use laser points as every other sniper in actions games.

 

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   Those "breaching" animations are reused so many times that  they are really becoming boring. This time level makers didn't even bothered to check if it fits right - guy on the right is staring into wall. This happens in several places in different missions, BTW.

 

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   "Deep fire department" or "Deep fire engine".

 

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   Some areas look cool, put gameplay is very simple - "frontal"/head-on fight with no interesting twist or additions.

 

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   Replayed this section of Moscow mission to cofirm that you can brake mission scripts by playing it normally. It did this time as well, and this is 1.8 version of GRFS after several patches, lol.

 

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   "Secure" objective means we need to kill all enemies spawned in specific area, but because first roadblock was taken out silently enemies were not spawn in, hahaha.

 

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   Attempt to move to tunnel, through which you progress futher ends up with that "soft" invisible wall. You are pretty much forced to re-start save checkpoitn and go loud, as level makers intended.

 

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   Just to remind you, this is last but one mission of singeplayer campaign and game continue to think that you are an idiot, as i already used UGLs in several previous operations. I didn't found option to turn those stupid hints off.

 

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   Truck driving through fast food place is just cosmetic shit (except if you stand in the way). Even after it exlodes nothing changes.

 

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   It is rather rare in this game when map makers use destructible elements in noticable quantities. Although those things are hardly "cover", they just block LOS if you are not using X-ray vision.

 

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   Object penetration mechanics are probably the only shooting-realted mechanics that i really like in GRFS.

 

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   Enemies don't carry bodyarmor, kek. Although it doesn't matter, as penetration system is not applied to any body armor AFAIK.

 

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   This sequence was dumb. Walls were claimed to be thin enough and mission designers could make cool sequence of firefight through walls, where enemies reacted to where bullets were comming from and blindly firing at that place, so you had to move after each burst. That would also fit into theme of this shooter.

 

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   Instead you are doing this on-rail "room breach" with slow-mo and shit.

 

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   Funny thing is that a sniper on roadblock in last mission have a model that i never saw used anywhere else. Why would you make a unique model for enemy that is ver likely to be shot without even knowing that player is nearby?

 

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   This is also rather strange decision - show main bad guys just few moments before player is supposed to kill them.

 

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   It says "explore" but you actually don't explore this house.

 

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   You are only allowed to peek inside of this house, like a kid that tries to steal apples from their garden.

 

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   Re-playing this sequence as well - Spec ops breaching old mansion in attempt to search for enemies. You can choose several places where to hide, all of which are marked on your HUD.

 

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   Not sure how "magnetics" (as it is called in this game) vision can pick up organic tissue. Although when you turn it on, HUD says "X-ray", kek. 

 

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   Enemies are moving on scripted loops, which is pretty boring and easy to exploit. Aren't those guys supposed to be special and hard, as it is also a last mission?

 

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   At least visually this place looks nice.

 

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   This sequence was stupid. Instead of sniping HVT in the head from this position we jumped down, where player is forced to another on-rail shooting gallery.

 

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   GAZ trying to ram us, because our plot armor is too strong for bullets!

 

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   I have no idea how this amount of Spec ops managed to not kill 4 dudes in a tight "dimond" formation.

  

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   Heh, flag is fucked up.

 

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   Super prize - boiled wheat"

 

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   One of enemy spawns.

 

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   X-ray vision kind of ruins those moments.

 

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   Rare moments when i managed to get separated from team mates and went into CQB against shotgunners.

 

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   Even flanked one of them instead of just pushing forward and getting into melee kill range.

 

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   2 Spec ops soldiers on the right are in "default" idle position as they just spawned in, right in your vision arc/range.

 

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   More spawning bad guys

 

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   Ow, and internal spaces of rooms from which enemies are appearing are visible for player without using special vision modes.

 

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   Bad guys continue to spawn in even when you are next to spawning point.

 

 

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   Ghost Recon Future Soldier review

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   Tom Clancy`stm Ghost Recon Future Soldier tm is a 5th game of Ghost Recon series released in 2012 and it’s not a continuation of Advanced Warfighter series released in 2006 and 2007 in any form – story or gameplay. Future Soldier had strange development and it appears it suffered shift in design somewhere between 2010 and 2011. Originally, it was more sci-fi/futuristic 3rd person shooter, at least in art direction and game world background story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

   At E3 2011 developers showed version of GRFS that saw a release – much less futuristic and more “generic” as a result. Some elements from 2010 concept still exist in this game – active camo, X-ray vision and UGVs.

   GRFS tells story of a bombastic action scenes and basic stealth wrapped in re-purposed plot of Modern Warfare series of  CoDs, with Russian Ultranationalists, Civil War, weapon dealers, ICBM launches and shit like that.

   You take a role of “Kozak”, Russian agent that infiltrated super elite SF unit known as “Tom Clancy`stm Ghoststm” with a task to cash in on Modern Warfare craze.

 

   Visuals

   For 2012, game had not bad visuals but nothing outstanding in terms of technical capabilities of their engine.  In fact I would describe technical level as “bad”. Game received plenty of patches but main problems of their engine were not solved – crap optimization on PC and engine that is incapable of handling more than few square meters of space. Those technical problems affected mission design, map layouts and GRFS Singleplayer – as engine could not load map on the fly, after finishing one section of the level engine must load next section of mission with a loading screen, which developers tried to conceal with infographics MW-style cutscenes or just boring cutscenes long enough for loading screen to end. At times you can see very obvious end of maps even when you are moving through very tight spaces. “Open” spaces in this game are just a bit less tight than normal corridors, which make GRFS feel very linear, but with pretty scenery here and there.

 

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   On positive side, locations are different, they all feel unique and there is much less of copy pasting than in GRAW 1 and 2. Plenty of assets are specific for few maps, enemies models for the most part well modelled (with exceptions). Main characters models have a lot of details and plenty of animations, so they feel quite good to move around and look at.  

 

   Gameplay

   Imagine something like The Division, but with stealth sections and no RPG elements and you will understand basics of GRFS gameplay. Cover based shooter with quick deaths outside of cover and fast dashes between cover on separate button during which you move faster than during sprinting for some reason. Action sequences are broken up with basic stealth sections. Stealth mechanics based on LOS, if adaptive camo is on or off and body stance (standing/prone etc.)… and that’s it. Because of small levels that engine can actually support without breaking apart vision of enemies is as bad as in Freedom Fighters – sometimes you need to be just few meters in front of enemies (in crouch position in the middle of road) for them to spot you quickly. Once you spotted game enter combat mode, from which you can’t get back to stealth gameplay until next sequence (sometimes devs put a script that in case of spotting of a player makes all next section of levels to be “alerted” when activated by player moving into them). 

   Several times you also “breach” a room in MW-style slow-mo, but with added on-rail movement and limited arc in which you can aim your gun. 

   Interesting note - one mission have 2 slightly different endings depending on how you decided to complete last objective on map. All other missions have nothing like this, at least i didn't managed to get different results.

 

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Spoiler

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   Shooting is very basic as well, with exception of object penetration mechanics, which was surprising to see here. Enemies are dying from 1 hit in any part of their body when in stealth mode, once combat is triggered they can take 2-3 shots from most of guns (1-2 from sniper rifles). Body armor is not counted for penetration mechanics as far as I can tell, only scenery objects are affected by that mechanics. Combat ranges (thanks to engine and map design) are mostly close range (10-20 meters) with rare medium range firefights (usually snipers, over 50 meters). Player have regenerating health, which also leads to “bland” feeling of combat.

   Majority of bad guys are generic 3rd person shooters “guy with a gun” enemies, they run to nearest cover and shoot from it and that is most of what they can do. Enemies have few different types – generic cannon fodder, shotgunners who usually rush to you mindlessly, MG gunners (they can suppress you and force your camera to shake), shield troopers (very rare), snipers and Spec ops (who just have adaptive camo compared to usual cannon fodder). There are few vehicles in game, but those are mostly scripted sequences and they all act somewhat similar, HE UGL are very effective against them.

 

Spoiler

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   Majority of guns feel the same, even if game allows you to modify a lot of weapon parts (up to a trigger and gas system). Majority of enemies are easy to kill and hardly memorable. Majority of combat and stealth sequences feel like they were copy-pasted (at least mechanically), there is little difference between fighting PMCs, African militia, Russian Spec ops or Regular army – AI is the same for them, vast majority of enemies are exactly the same cannon fodder and they have exactly the same very basic behavior and selection of similar guns. All that happens on maps with rather generic linear corridor layout, with some small “arena” sections that are also rather generic as they most of the time don’t have interesting power positions or flanking routes (it’s not like you really need them anyway). Majority of firefights happens on a plain field-like area with chest-high walls randomly scattered across it.

   There are positives in gameplay (without them I wouldn’t be bothered to play more than just a singleplayer without bothering to re-play it on higher difficulties or playing survival mode) – shooting and killing bad guys is satisfying, especially through cover with LMGs. On high difficulties and in some areas stealth sections are pretty fun to play (when they are build as some sort of puzzle).

   Overall, general bombastic nature of combat managed to give some faint flavor to very generic combat. It is not really “good” but not completely grey and boring.

 

Spoiler

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   Pacing of levels on the other hand is terrible (IMO). Because of engine needing time to load next section of level developers are covering loading screens (Anthem, kek) with cutscenes, showing something really boring like team stopping and checking their gear while talking mission objectives at you. There is a lot of waiting for quick action that ends fast and don’t require you to even attempt to use your brains.

   Combat sequences are not properly “directed” by level makers – they just sprinkled levels with spawn points and when combat starts some number of bad guys are spawn and thrown at player without any twist or interesting insertion or rule or anything other than “spawn in and die in 12 nanoseconds while firing from nearest cover”. At times you even can see enemies spawning with “naked” eye…

 

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   Outside of guns and explosives, GRFS also gives you some gadgets to play around. Some of them are obvious like night vision goggles, some are a bit less standard – X-ray vision that is limited in range but can see through everything, sensors that can spot all enemies in certain range, drone (that now became standard for open-world games) for spotting that also can transform into crawler and stun enemies with sonic attack. In specific mission you can control an UGV with indirect fire weapons, which was fun.

   Problems with those spotting gadgets and visions that they make firefights feel even less interesting – you see all enemies and just fire at red markers until they are white and that is all. At no point developers game you an interesting situation that can be resolved with use of those gadgets or mechanics based on use of those systems. There was IIRC 2 sections with sandstorm/snowstorm, but you can blitz through those without use of x-ray vision just by following markers, HUD markers/muzzle flashes. For example killing one of main bad guys in GRFS was done through slow-mo room breach (MW-style) but set-up was perfect for using both X-ray vision and bullet penetration mechanics to kill all “elite” guards inside of that room without even entering it, or killing main bad guy with just one shot. That would have been cool looking and fitting that “edgy high tech cool badass hardcore military” theme of GRFS. Also those things make friendly AI surprisingly-well developed callout system to be useless as well (friendlies when see enemies call their position or direction, numbers of enemies, weapons they have, but not in Arma 3 robotic-like voice system. GRFS sounds much more human, thanks to a lot of voice lines recorded and AI starting sometimes asking additional questions about enemies and so on). 

 

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   All this leads to perception of action side of GRFS as mostly bland, generic, basic 3rd person action game with few features that had potential but didn’t build anything on top of it.

 

   On top of that, many levels ends in exactly same way – player-“controlled” either missile attack to kill horde of enemies who boxed you in, or literally on-rail shooting gallery (aka “diamond formation” or turret sections). Ugh, this game is disappointing when you see all potential it had…   

   Ow, i also want to mention that GRFS treats players as idiots, throws stupid hints at you until very end of campaign, sometimes locks you in place and allow to press only certain buttons, without pressing them you will not progress. Great design right here, guys.

 

Spoiler

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   Plot

   Story in GRFS is CoD MW plots put through “blend”-er. Even some scenes are same in principle – shocking terrorist attack in MW2 and MW3 have their cousin in GRFS, and it is as stupid as in those 2 CoDs.

   I don’t remember names of any bad guys, because main bad guys were shown just in last 2 missions and payer was told about their existence few seconds before player puts bullet through main villains heads.

   All dialogues, cutscenes, intro videos and radio chatter tries so hard to be that “edgy high tech cool badass hardcore military” that is becoming just pure cringe. Especially scenes on aircraft carrier… good they are awful to watch (i didn't made any screenshots of them). Moreover, some of them are unskippable!

 

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   Conclusion

   Series that started as action game that tried to be different from what most of shooters on a market were and peeked into realistic representation of combat became generic console cover-based 3rd person shooty-shooty game with explosions, beer, Evil Russians, cardboard badass edgy hardcore Special Forces generic dudes, more explosions, nukes, explosions, turret sections, floating in a pit of grey bland MVP game with “look over substance” written all over it. Regress of this series that started somewhere in GRAW 1 is completed here, in GRFS. In GRAW 1 and 2 attempt was made to distance PC versions from console pukes, but was not made for GRFS… Well, at least shooting through cover is fun in GRFS and explosions sound nice. A lot of missed potential with gadgets and tech-related mechanis, that developers didn't "played" with anywhere enough make me sad.

   You can play it and even have some fun here and there, but Tom Clancy`stm Ghost Recon Future Soldier tm is just a bit above completely generic thanks to fun shooting, few stupid cutscenes and explosions.

   Next game – Wildlands, became a few drops more generic, a nearly standard “Ubisoft open world 3rd person shooter”, but at least with better engine than GRFS. 

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39 minutes ago, Scolopax said:

Before you do Wildands, you have to do an in-depth review on Ghost Recon: Commander!

 :ian:

   I'm done with Ghost Recons for now, kek and Wildlands are recent enough for lots of Youtube reviews. Moreover, my gaming PC is dead for several years and i don't have spare income to buy a new good one anyway.

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1 hour ago, Scolopax said:

So what then is next if not generic Ubisoft open-world or horrid Facebook game?

Other Tom Clancy`stm games - Rainbow Six Vegas 1 and 2. 

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   Rainbow 6 Vegas - next for a review.

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   This looks like a GRAW (big ass maps), but it is not. Map design is very deliberate, much more tight and linear compared to GRAW.

 

Spoiler

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   You can put camera under doors Splinter Cell style.

 

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   Enemies sometimes throw smoke grenades and those things would be effective if player didn't had thermal imager vision..

 

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   Your pets.

 

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   Encounters with enemies are mix of scripted events like this assault of church and "normal" gameplay (when enemies are spawned in area in "idle" mode and you have a chance to do something before starting firefight).

 

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   Before room breach you can mark 2 targets to be shot first. You can order to blow up door (which kill nearby enemies on other side), throw a frag before going in or just open and clear. In "stealth" mode (dedicated button controls this mode, like in SWAT 3) you can order to flash and then clear or throw smoke inside (never used that).

 

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   Kek

 

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   Better than in Andromeda, lol.

 

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   Several times during operation you find those equipment boxes where you can change gear/weapons and replenish consumables.

 

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   AFAIK almost all guns in R6Vegas can be equipped with "silencer" on the fly.

 

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   Simple flanking works in this game thanks to AI using cover a lot. Well, it is cover-based shooter after all.

 

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   Night and thermal visions look a bit weird thanks to "crumpled on the sides" picture and fish eye effect.

 

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   Guns can be equipped with different sights, although selection of them for each type of weapon is different.

 

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   AI have problems understanding when it can use ladders safely and when it is time use another way.

 

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   You know she is supposed to be ok during room clearance, thanks to aiming circle becoming green when pointing at her. Ow, just forget to say - she is main villian of this game and now she literraly have plot armor that is even shown to you via HUD, lol.

 

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   Something will be go wrong about this, or this game have just 1 mission long singeplayer campaign, haha.

 

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   Your hairds are fucked up.

 

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   Something went wrong and now you have only pistol and nothing else, not even your pets.

 

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   Thanks for a shoty, asshole.

 

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   This was rather fun sequence. All enemies are equipped with pump-action shotguns as well, so you have time to fire between their reload of shotguns/working with pump action.

 

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   Jumping on turret is optional.

 

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   Map have limited functionality, shows only areas around you and you can't look at other floors if character is not located on those levels/floors.

 

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   Level is very brown, like in GRAWs, but this will change in next mission.

 

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   From this point almost all missions will happen in Vegas.

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Spoiler

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   Start of long firefight on streets near casino.

 

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   lol.

 

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   Of course... 

 

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   I think night vision goggles are just cosmetics.

 

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   Well eqipped bad guys.

 

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   Frequently you are presented with room breach situation and map makers usually leave 2 or more ways to get inside. Here is recon of room from second door that revealed enemy that was not visible from camera view under main doors.

 

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   Enemies have problem with getting away from grenades.

 

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   That looks pretty realistic, heh. Strange visuals - in some places blured textures and in some others - highly detailed.

 

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zhkIwoa.jpg

   It appears friendly AI in R6 Vegas have "TEAS"-like system and understands chokepoints, like AI in SWAT 3. Here those 2 are overwatching 2 doorways in this room.

 

Spoiler

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   During combat AI is playing normal cover-based shooter.

 

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   Enemy spawned, sometimes in special and obvious rooms, sometimes developers made more interesting insertions for bad guys.

 

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   Finding angle on enemies sometimes is preffered way to deal with them, as combination of accuracy that is not enough to take out bad guys in cover reliably (when you don't have good optics on a gun) and enemies using blind fire with minimal body exposure makes static firefights to be very long and kind of boring. 

 

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   Local ragdoll physcis like to put dead bodies in unusual positions.

 

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   Levels have plenty of details and even some sort of enviromental story telling.

 

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   AI is not as sharp as SWAT 3 guys - here one of member of our team took cover and tries to overwatch a wall 2-3 meters in front of him.

 

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   With good optics and accurate guns cover for enemies become much less usefull.

 

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   Muzzle flashes are fucking gigantic for all weapons in Vegas, lol.

 

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   Friendly AI sometimes do that cool animation of both soldiers engaging enemies from same cover but from different angles. Problem is that game don't consider if they are getting in the way, heh. Although in this case it is not terrible - i probably could take a better cover with clear LOS.

 

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   Doors and chokepoints are serious problem for opponents AI.

 

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   MG36 sight is terrible

 

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   This doesn't look like good cover.

 

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   Good armor for body, no protection for head. Enemies for headshots lovers.

 

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I just rediscovered Prey (2017), made by Arkane studios and published by Bethesda, and I’m pleasantly surprised. It has good graphics and atmosphere, pretty good gameplay and leveling/scaling*, good story, and a pretty decent moral dilemma / thought experiment.$ 

 

* taking your time to get everything throughout the levels makes it easier, but your health can still evaporate if you’re not careful. Never felt over powered, just powerful. 

 

$ reference the game ‘Soma’ for a similar / the same moral dilemma. It’s not quite cliche, but not overly unique; though, you do have the choice to participate or reject the dilemma, unlike Soma. 

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   Next operation.

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Spoiler

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   A bit of suspense building, heh.

 

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   Red goggles = bad guys. They were not harder to deal with than usual bad guys.

 

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   Friendly soldiers switch to goggles automatically, but i'm not sure if it is just cosmetics or actually make a difference for AI spotting system.

 

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   Thermal imager have very short range and kind of crappy...

 

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   ...but sometimes you just have to use it.

 

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   Night vision is less unnatural and have lower "fish eye" effect (or how it is called).

 

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   Ballistic mask feels like cosmetics-only piece of gear.

 

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   At first glance i thought that those were Adidas pants and this guy was slav squating, kek.

 

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   You could break those tables, IIRC, but it will require some time so flanking is not a bad option. Levels frequenly allows to use more than just 1 path to enemies.

 

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   Flashbangs are not very usefull, when you can just throw grenades or remote controlled explosives

 

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   Bad guy suppressing me.

 

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   Level maker bothered to make this wall in front of player a bit more interesting, while he is re-arming or choosing new equipment.

 

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   Defending against wave of enemies. I don't really mind this type of mission design if enemies are dangerous and satisfying to defeat.

 

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mRwuxHE.jpg

   Older games sometimes have problem with some "newer" resolutions, haha.

 

Spoiler

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   Sometimes it feels like we are flying inside of Google Earth.

 

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   I like amount of details in R6 Vegas maps.

 

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   Maps visual design changes during levels, which is good.

 

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   It looks like big arena with interconnected rooms, but right path is actually blocked, so it is more linear.

 

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   Those little details adds to atmosphere.

 

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   Explosive entry.

 

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   Umm... how?

 

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   Thermal imagers in R6 Vegas: sometimes you can't see shit.

 

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   A-A-A-Ambush!

 

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   Stealth is possible in Vegas, to small degree.

 

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   Sam Fisher'ing this section.

 

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   You can spot some enemies by using cable camera under doors.

 

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   But some of them are not visible from doorways.

 

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   Cool expensive bars is great place to have firefights.

 

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   Microwave... bomb thing.

 

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CmCYRQy.jpg

 

Spoiler

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   We are going to unfinished casino building

 

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   Throwing grenades is risky for enemies and you, because of animation that expose body.

 

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   Enemies are liberal with smoke grenades in Vegas.

 

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   After it falls down fire starts on lower levels and smoke from burning building materials start to fill rooms.

 

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   Night vision can't penetrate smoke from fires

 

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   And thermal imager doesn't give clear picture thanks to heat from fire.

 

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   Strange picture created by flashbang and just activated night vision.

 

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   This part of casino looks finished.

 

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   Stumbled, to death.

 

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   Sniper "section".

 

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   That is too close for comfortable shooting.

 

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   IK bugged out

 

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   AI likes to use ropes that are in your LOS.

 

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   This operation happens in finished part of Dante's casino. 

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Spoiler

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   Under fire and only box with "Maxico" written on it was in the way of hail of bullets...

 

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   I think we blew up this bike in the middle of room, lol.

 

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   Enviroments are really cool, visual side of map design is excellent.

 

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   Gorgeous

 

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   I like how they mad ads, in style of casino. Even casino have it's own emblem.

 

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   I kind of wish you could blow up all this and in the same time i don't want that, haha.

 

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