Ghost Recon Future Soldier Preview
Those lovely ‘ol chaps at Ubisoft were nice enough to invite The Game Jar along to get hands on with their latest game, GRFS (pronounced Grr-fu-ss, or Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Future Soldier if you want to be a dick about it) – a third person tactical shooter with an onus on stealth and cover-based combat, and an even bigger thrust toward making players work together as a team.
Before loading into the core gameplay of GRFS I was presented with the all new ‘GunSmith’ mode. It’s essentially an extremely pretty weapon load out screen that allows you to tweak and modify almost every part of your gun. From its trigger to its gas supply, its paint scheme to its optics the sheer content of options were immense and hugely overwhelming, but I could completely see how Ubisoft want to push depth and customization to its fullest to give the player their own unique weapon.
Finally sitting down to sample the game I was placed in a group of four other guys and given the standard mission traits as in any warfare based game: reach check points, hold positions and gather Intel. But as all experienced gamers knows, it’s not the objective that is always the most important, it’s the journey.
After loading up the game and admiring the bang on graphics for a few moments our team was lead/stumbled our way to the first check point via the use of handy right-bumper controlled onscreen markers. Spotting our first batch of enemies really shot home just how good GRFS’s new fluid cover system is. Although a little murky at times (something the devs stated will be fixed in patching), snapping in and out of cover whilst the game intuitively pointed out your next possible cover options felt absolutely amazing. The way to put it is think GoW cover and running… but smart.
After quickly disposing of our first few sets of ‘kill dem bad guyz’ objectives we moseyed in to a small enemy base. At first we tried to attack head-on by taking the enemy unaware, storming the main bridge and jumping into cover when ever possible. This turned out to be a wrong move as pretty quickly one of our team mates died for the first time and the in-game ‘bleed out’ timer began to tick down. One of us frantically tried to revive him but sadly the guy was too far out in enemy territory and getting close to him resulted in a hailstorm of bullets.
Trying to find the correct line of cover to get close to our dying comrade was absolutely terrifying, as when an enemy spots you they will suppress the area by volleying a ton of fire in your direction. As you find cover the camera zooms down a bit and gets its shake on, all the time sending the control pad into rumble ecstasy. I know it sounds like a bit of a moot point but in a game that has a one-death restart for the whole team it really gives you a sense of urgency and fear.
The next time we loaded up the level we took a more calculated approach; already schooled in the art of dying we chose to release main character Kozak’s unique combat drone to scout out the area and ascertain just how many bad dudes we were dealing with. We then slowly began to flank the enemy, picking people off when able, awaiting commands from each other and moving forward as a unit. Our teamwork was much more precise and controlled this time, and aside from a few hairy moments got through the section comfortably, but in an extremely enjoyable way.
We moved forward a bit further into the level, exercising the game’s stealth tactics to get close to the enemy with the optic camouflage, defending areas when objectives asked and we even got to use a turret to blow the shit out of a tank. Sadly our time drew to an close before we could finish the end of the mission (yes that’s right they are THAT long).
The crazy thing about my time with GRFS is that it has the uncanny ability to instantly make you feel like some kind of deadly super soldier without putting too much effort into the game, but at the same time you can see the layers and layers of depth within the GunSmith load out and mass of game modes. It also seems to be able to simply choreograph your squad mates in to working perfectly together. When my team first started playing none of us were experts; we didn’t know each other before we sat down to play but we all came out feeling as pimp as hell after the experience.
I then managed to bag a bit of time messing around with the game’s Kinect-enabled version of the Gunsmith mode, which allows you to modify your weapons ala Minority Report and then test them out on a firing range. Although fun for a few minutes I couldn’t really see what Ubisoft wanted to achieve with this part of GRFS, as the Kinect movement controls are unavailable in the actual game. This then renders testing out your gun completely pointless as arms do not have rumble packs or any kind of Kinect feedback integration.
We were then taken into a Q&A session, where we discussed some of the key elements involving the game’s release:
- Only the main character, Kozak, will able to control the ‘drone’ camera per online team
- DLC is planned for release
- There will be over 600 unique gunsmith attachments
- Gunsmith attachments and new weapons are unlocked via completing one of three types of challenges
- Only the single player campaign will have 3D support
- The full campaign is estimated to be 12 hours long
- There are four multiplayer game play modes: Conflict – objective based scoring, Saboteur – a capture the flag style of game… but with a bomb where whoever has the bomb is limited to sidearms and slow walking, Hardcore mode – A two team last man standing match, but with the added twist of the ‘attacking’ team having to complete an objective before time runs down, and Decoy – A three objective based mission with one team defending and the other attacking. The spin on this is that two of the objectives are ‘fake’.
- In an effort to combat the inevitable online invisible enemy backlash, the game’s ‘cloaking’ mode will tone down against human opponents, and instead of turning you completely undetectable as when you play against AI, human opponents will be able to see you if you run fast or are shot.
- Spawn killing will be stopped by randomised spawn points being opened up through the level after a set amount of deaths have been maxed.
- If you drop out of co-op mode you will be replaced by AI and cannot re-join until the level is over
- There are four character classes: Commando – a exo-skeleton outfit wearing brute with a shoulder mounted mortar launcher, Engineer – who is blessed with an almighty EMP burst that decimates any technology within the area, Sniper – With classic heart beat sensor and enemy locator, Dog – … yes Dog, an all terrain robotic drone endowed with a huge fuck-off machine gun.
- There is two-player split screen but only in ‘Gorilla’ (wave based survival) mode
- All unlockable Gunsmith items will be available in the beta – which is released this week.
- Tom Clancy lent his name to the game – the rest of the time he was sitting at home counting bundles of cash and pimp-slapping hookers.
BETA Access Give-away Time!
Want to get in on the Ghost Recon Future Soldier Beta? Good news is we’ve got a stack of access keys on the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 to give away. All you need to do is follow us on twitter and hit RT on the below tweet, we’ll pick winners at random across the course of the day so keep an eye on your DM’s.
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