Video Game Review: Raven Strike DLC
Raven Strike offers a nice mix of stealth and action.
Released on Tuesday, September 11, at a price of 1,200 MS Points (US$14.99) for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles, Raven Strike is a downloadable add-on to Ubisoft’s tactical third-person shooter, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. Contained in the DLC are:
- Three new campaign missions: Secure Dawn, Cold Walker and Argent Thunder, which can played solo or co-operatively with up to four players;
- A new Guerrilla map: Sawmill;
- Five new achievements/trophies for 135 Gamerscore; and
- An increased level cap (+10) for adversarial multiplayer.
Unquestionably the DLC’s top selling point is the inclusion of a self-contained, three-mission mini campaign that takes place entirely in Russia. As you’d expect in a covert operation, information is difficult to come by… which is really just a nice way of saying there’s very little of substance in that department.
Essentially, Raven’s Rock, the rogue terrorist organization, is making a play for power and it’s up to you and your team of ghosts to stop it. From that backdrop you’ll be dispatched to locations throughout Russia with the goal of extracting persons of interest and/or sensitive intel.
You start off with Secure Dawn, which strips the ghosts of their advanced recon and defensive capabilities — that means no optical camouflage, no drones and no sensor grenades. Much of the mission also plays out in waist-deep marshlands that make sticking to cover nearly impossible. As a result, the need to be patient and remain hidden is accentuated, which gives the whole mission a unique feel.
From there you’ll tackle Cold Walker. Of the three new missions, this was my favourite. It begins with you having to cross a rather substantial amount of farmland without triggering any alarms — a task made quite challenging by patrolling guards and helicopters sweeping overhead. Once you get clear of that you’ll end up hitching a ride aboard a train. And that’s when the DLC kicks things up about five notches.
In terms of intensity, fighting your way through the rail yard in Raven Strike earns top marks. The rush is palpable when you’re trading fire with dozens of enemy soldiers as you methodically try to inch forward, sprinting from cover to cover. The curtain gets pulled back a little when in magnetic view mode as you’ll see enemies appear out of thin air — they respawn until you advance a certain distance — but it’s still well executed.
Things conclude at night in Moscow as you hunt down high-ranking officers of Raven’s Rock and dispense swift justice. Some elements feel a little too familiar to the urban warfare of the main game, to the point that I had some déjà vu when engaging vehicles. That being said, there are definitely some fresh elements worked in, and of the three missions it seems to offer the most diversity in regards to clearing out enemies.
As mentioned, there’s also a new Guerrilla map (Sawmill) where you’re once again tasked with taking and then holding a building against waves of foes. The wooded area surrounding the two-story structure provides some cover, and you’ll definitely need to have people monitoring all sides as even early on the enemy likes to push from multiple directions at once. It’s a solid addition for those that enjoy the mode.
Outside of a forgettable story, Raven Strike delivers. The missions are challenging and varied, always a good combination for downloadable content, and should be enjoyed by anyone who liked the structure of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.