Ubisoft (ubisoft.com) has added yet another iteration to its venerable Ghost Recon series. With Ghost Recon: Future Soldier the company has created an enjoyable, visceral, squad-based tactical shooter that will entertain military and video game enthusiasts alike.
This time, the mission of the Ghosts is to find the terrorists who eliminated a previous Ghost team. As they circle the globe in their search, they employ cutting-edge technology such as stealth suits and recon grenades and have over 50 weapons at their disposal. New to the series is the synchronized takedown, a handy maneuver that enables the Ghosts to take out up to four enemy soldiers simultaneously as the action unfolds in stunning slow motion. The game also features the usual kitbag of maps and multiplayer options.
Future Soldier is just one of many titles in the Ghost Recon series, but it is a strong entry into the military shooter genre.
In Spec Ops: The Line (2kgames.com), gamers play the part of a Special Forces team sent to Dubai to find a colonel and his lost battalion. The game features post-apocalyptic looking scenery in the aftermath of a horrific sandstorm. Dubai’s residents, as well as the remnants of the colonel’s unit, have taken up residence inside local skyscrapers.
The game is chockfull of combat with authentic looking weapons, but the controls are a bit clunky and there’s nothing unique about the fighting. Enemies come and go, and players simply try to kill as many of them as they can. The real challenge is due to the sheer number of bad guys rather than to the tactical acumen the artificial intelligence affords them.
Spec Ops: The Line attempts to explore the morality of conflicts. For example, in one scene players must decide between the thief and the soldier who brutally punishes him. This sort of thing, however, may be wasted on most gamers – if they wanted to think, they’d probably read a book, not play a shooter.
The game boasts the usual litany of multiplayer choices, and that’s a good thing. Overall, this is a worthwhile rent.
Battle Academy for the iPad (matrix games.com) is historical strategy gaming at its best. Players control Americans, Germans and Brits in a plethora of turn-based missions and campaigns. The controls are simple, the equipment looks good, and its performance is accurately modeled. And make no mistake, there is plenty of equipment. From Panthers to Fireflies to Wolverines, the game showcases a veritable zoo-full of tanks as well as the infantry to fight alongside them.
Multiplayer fun is a snap with Battle Academy for the iPad. Players simply log on to Matrix’s server, find a game, and they’re on their way to enjoying a session of asynchronous mayhem. And the game can be synced with an iPhone and computer, so players can take a turn on the iPad at work, have another go at it on an iPhone during the train ride home, and then continue the session on the home computer. Ingenious!
Mark H. Walker is a retired U.S. Navy commander and veteran electronic entertainment/IT journalist who designed the critically acclaimed board wargames “Lock ’n Load” and “World at War.” He has authored or contributed to over 40 books, including his novel “Everyone Dies in the End.”
Originally published in the January 2013 issue of Armchair General.