The entire campaign in Future Soldier is playable in co-op, though you'll need to bring your own friends because there's absolutely no form of matchmaking whatsoever. You can join any match, provided you can find one. What's bizarre is you can set a match to be private, friends only or open. Despite having an open option there isn't exactly a way to FIND public games. You aren't limited by mission progression for joining a game, but your progress won't carry back to your saved game other than any unlocks you may have earned by completing bonus goals. The game originally touted drop-in/drop-out play, but that's not supported. The only time someone can join is before a mission begins. Now that all the technical stuff is over with, how does the co-op actually play?
I found it a bit odd actually, it felt more difficult. Usually you play co-op to make a game easier, but segments that require stealth (and cause failure on alarms) can be quite frustrating. There were times we had to do numerous reloads trying to work our way past some guards. The timed shot aspect that works so well in single player isn't as smooth in co-op without a bit of practice. I wasn't able to get a four player session going, but I can see the campaign being very attractive in LAN party atmosphere.
Co-Op extends itself outside the campaign into something called Guerilla Mode. This is Future Soldier's take on co-op survival modes. You have 50 waves of bad guys to survive, with each one getting more and more difficult. Between waves you can run around to various crates to switch weapons or refill your ammo. If you manage to survive a certain number of waves you'll earn bonus equipment too from something called Wave Streaks - items like a mini turret or radar boost become available for a one time use.
The levels for Guerilla mode are mostly arena-like, but the mix up of moving from location to location every 10 waves helps keep things feeling fresh. Every handful of waves there's a bonus wave where taking down all enemies without being detected will earn you bonus points. These points, which are also earned for completing actions in quick succession go towards your overall score and leaderboard position.
While I enjoyed most of my time with Future Soldier, I do have a few gripes. The biggest is the atrocious menu system and the difficulty to tell just what certain options were. I also ran into several issues where AI teammates wouldn't get to a trigger location to start the next scene. Also, seriously, what is up with rolling metal garage doors in co-op games blocking your path and needing a group of soldiers to lift them?
Ghost Recon Future Soldier feels like one of those games you'll either be drug down by its annoyances, or you'll look past them and find a really fun experience underneath. Those of you worried that this Ghost Recon game is a departure for the series, rest assured, this is a tactical FPS true to the franchise. The new, more action-oriented sections of the game really help break up the slower stealth sections, while the variety of guns and customizations should help keep the core audience happy. It's been awhile since we've had a proper Ghost Recon game, but I think it was worth the wait.
This co-op review of Ghost Recon Future Soldier is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.
The Co-Op Experience: Team up through a co-op campaign or play specific co-op modes. Local co-op play is limited to the Guerilla mode.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.