DLC Review: Arctic Strike (Ghost Recon Future Soldier)

We loved Future Soldier when it was released with its great mix of stealthy gameplay and tactical gunplay, and still jump online regularly to show the world just how it shouldn’t be done. So now we’ve received our first drop of extra content, and the Arctic Strike brings a decent amount of content with three new maps, a new game mode and some extra weapons for those who purchase the add-on.

The new mode is called Stockade, a twist on the SOCOMesque no-respawn Siege mode. The difference here is the use of the stockade, a sin bin of sorts where you end up if you get yourself killed. Once dead you’ll join a queue with the rest of your dead teammates to respawn, an opportunity which only comes around once someone else on your team manages to take out an enemy. This can work one of two ways – either a team will go all out to kill half the opposition quickly to gain some dominance over the map, or both teams will be coy and cautious leading to a long, tactical and unbearably tense matchup. It’s a fascinating balancing act, and the chance of being the final player on your team only to get a couple of sneaky kills and bringing your team back into the game is an ever-exciting prospect. It might not gather a huge following, but adding an extra option online is very welcome.

As for the maps, Ubisoft have gone back to true Ghost Recon roots and given us some large maps with a mix between expansive open spaces and close combat indoor areas. There are three new maps to add to the 10 included with the game, and to cut a long story short, they’re brilliant. For fans of longer stories, read on.

Evicted is a massive map with various tall buildings surrounded by open space and copious amounts of cover to huge behind. It’s a sniper’s paradise where the greatest counter to the snipers is working as a proper squad and being a bit clever, but with there being such a huge area you could end up waiting a fair while if playing Stockade or Siege – as the player count drops it becomes increasingly difficult to find enemies to take out. It’s a gorgeous map and can provide some awesome battles, but don’t be surprised if you end up having some forced rests from the action!

Riot on the other hand is a relatively cramped affair with a couple of main streets surrounded by tight alleys, corridors and small rooms. Snipers might have some joy camping at each end of the main roads, but with quiet routes to sneak up on them it’s a dangerous game. Automatic guns and well placed gadgets will have more joy, but with each play style accounted for the battles can be tense and hard fought. It’s also a great map for the new Stockade mode with quick kill count turnarounds meaning player numbers go up and down like a kid on a trampoline.

Last up is Skyline, a roof-top map with a couple of levels and a small number of covered spots. Being in a limited area it favours close combat more than ranged weapons, although the scout’s camouflage comes in handy if you want someone on your team keeping an eye on things from the centre of the map. You need eyes in the back of your head at all times though, with just enough cover to flank the other team without them figuring out what’s going on. It’s the simplest looking map of the three, but makes for some great games and emphasises just how impressive the Future Soldier map designs are.

There’s also a new Guerilla map for those who enjoy the co-op which is a nice addition, but not really the focus of the DLC. If you’ve been enjoying the wave-killing options then you’ll love it, but I’m guessing most people will be looking more towards the competitive maps. As for the weapons, well they’re nice for variety but don’t go over and above what’s already available in the game. But that’s by the by, the kings of the pack here are the maps and the game mode, and it’s a fantastic package. If you’re still playing Future Soldier online then you should grab this with both hands, and you’ll love every inch of it. But even those of you who have gone off the boil might want to consider it, it’s certainly enough to rekindle your online flame.


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