Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Preview
Ghost Recon has been a popular and critically acclaimed series for years, which is why every new effort is always met with high expectations. The only question avid followers often has is, “how will this one be different from the last?” Well, in a way, perhaps the most fitting question concerning Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is, “what isn’t different?” Ever consider how powerful a human can become if we had the technology to make him invisible? This game will feature all sorts of cool stuff: cloaking devices that distort light, mechanical exoskeletons that essentially double the strength of the wearer, and “intelligent” assault rifles that actually adapt to tricky situations. It’s a brave new world loaded with deadly possibilities and this third-person tactical shooter, set 15 years in the future, should provide gamers with a slick, high-tech presentation that brings us onto the ceaselessly entertaining – and ever-changing – battlefield.
You’re probably familiar with the back story of the Ghosts, who have always managed to get their hands on the latest war technology. In Future Soldier, a nationalist faction has taken over the Russian government and have started an invasion of the neighboring Nordic countries. We’re looking at World War III and the Ghosts are sent in to stop the faction before they go any further. And this is where you will begin; the first step before confronting these ambitious yet clearly violent nationalists is to choose a class. There will be four to choose from: Recon (you recognize that, of course), Commander, Engineer, and the “patience is required” Sniper. Each class is obviously distinct but regardless of your decision, you’ll still have access to the most advanced gadgets and weaponry money can buy. And in fact, there’s a semblance of realism: Ubisoft Paris has told GameSpot that most of the weapons on display in this game are “currently being trialed in the US by research and development office DARPA.”
That alone is enough to get us interested. But anyway, the Recon soldiers will head into combat with optical camouflage; this is that “light distorting” armor that is comprised of futuristic elements known as “meta materials.” This renders your character nearly invisible; the only thing your enemies will see is a ghostly outline of your body, which sorta reminds us of a wireframe look. But if you’d rather go all “tech geek,” take a gander at the engineer, who can render all electronics in the immediate vicinity useless by sending out an EMP. It can disable weapons, screw up certain pieces of equipment, and mess with navigation. Engineers also have the option of drones – which are becoming more and more prevalent in today’s military – that can be used to scout ahead and even execute particular assault commands via remote orders. The Sniper does exactly what you think he does and the Commanders get that aforementioned modular assault rifle; the top part acts as a fully automatic rifle and the bottom half can support anything from shotgun shells to grenades. Heck, the thing even has a bayonet for cutting through obstacles.
As is the case with most all third-person shooters these days, Future Soldier will indeed feature a cover system. You’ll even be able to sprint and then slide into cover, which we admit could be problematic if they don’t manage to tighten up this particular control mechanic. It still sounds promising, though. The developers also added that the focus has been shifted from long-range to short-range combat, so yeah, they’re going to have to sport a tight cover system, and the level of intensity should be much higher than in recent installments. Then there’s the inclusion of a leveling system, which will result in new weapons and character upgrades. You gain experience in both the single-player and multiplayer modes, so make sure to be active when on the field. Last but not least is the Link-Up system, which can be used in both the offline co-op and online multiplayer modes: by pressing a single button, you’ll “link up” with the squad leader and automatically follow him across the field. This essentially turns the game into a rail shooter of shorts, as you only have to worry about aiming.
The single-player campaign will boast 14 missions and if you’re wondering about the length, Ubisoft says it should take you about 12-14 hours, which is certainly acceptable. The online multiplayer mode will support up to 16 players, and all four classes will be welcome on the variouis maps. Available modes include the now-standard Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag but they say to expect more modes via announcement before the game releases later this year. Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is definitely one of the more interesting titles for 2010 and could make a very big splash later in the year... And we expect to hear more at E3, too.
4/13/2010 Ben Dutka