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... Read More »
Genres: 3rd Person Shooter
Release Date: 25/05/12
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Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Review
Five years ago there was a tactical shooter that outdid them all – taking away the run and gun element, forcing you to think about your attack. It was a series, which was highly regarded and scored positively with reviewers – I am of course talking about Ghost Recon. Now Ubisoft have decided to once more enter this hard-fought market, with its latest outing in the series. Yet can it reach the pinnacle it did five years ago, or in such a flooded marketplace, could this be the one that makes the series sink?
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier sees you once more take command of a special Ghost unit. Working with three others the mission is simple: track down the people behind a bomb, a dirty bomb that took out another Ghost team! The campaign sees you trekking across the globe looking for answers, from Nigeria to Pakistan, from Russia to the Arctic. The story unfolds at a rapid pace, with a few twists and turns, which at times caught me on the hop.
The missions have you infiltrating camps, rescuing other agents and interrogating potential suspects – to name a few. Levels flow beautifully and can quite often prove rather chaotic! Yet within this chaos shines a shooter with real brains! Tactics are the keyword here, with you needing to evaluate the situation fully before running in aimlessly. One particular level in Nigeria sees civilians screaming as they run past you, all the while you’re trying to reach your destination without alerting everyone to your presence. Kill a civilian and its game over, alert the enemy to your presence – again, game over. It’s this chaos that makes the game quite beautiful to play, making you want to delve deeper into its soul to find what lies beneath.
The package is only sweetened with the gadgets, which help you on your mission. The active camo allows you to slip by enemies undetected – as long as you don’t move too fast or fire your weapon. Then we have the new sensor grenade; throw this into the area and it instantly feeds back info on civilians and enemies in the surrounding area.
Think that’s cool… hang on, for up next we have the drone. A remote controlled beauty, which you can fly into enemy areas gathering intel, marking up enemies for your team mates to take down. Not able to reach the destination through the air – no worries, you can land the drone and drive it into the enemy’s compound. Not only can it gather intel but on the ground it can emit a rather nasty stun blast confusing and disorientating enemies in the vicinity. Onto my personal favourite: the War Hound, a walking war machine. Perfect for cover whilst on the move, the real fun begins when you take control of the weapons system. Fire off mortars onto unsuspecting enemies, then launch guided missiles to make sure the job’s done properly!
Then we have the squad commands, such as the sync shot. Mark your enemies (up to four), wait for your squad to get into position and issue the command via the RB button to shoot. Bang! Down goes four enemies at once; this simple command became one of my most used throughout the campaign. Allowing for silent strikes, also if you tap the RB button whilst taking enemy fire, your comrades will support you with cover allowing you to break further into the enemy lines.
Next item on the agenda is of course your weapons. Ghost Recon caters for all and takes customisation to new dizzy heights with the gunsmith. Primary weapons can be pulled apart and customised with new parts as you unlock them. I’m not just talking about changing the barrel though, or adding a grenade launcher; with the gunsmith you can customise every part even down to the gas system.
There are literally hundreds of combinations you can mess with, making every gun seem quite different. It’s a stroke of genius; such a simple idea but implemented quite beautifully.
Oh and did I forget to mention, the whole campaign can be completed in four player co-op! Oh yes, grab your friends and get them to be part of the squad. This makes the levels all the more interesting – just remember to talk with one another, if you don’t trust me you won’t last very long.
Yet even for all of its chaotic charm and beauty there are a few quirks within the campaign. The squad’s AI works brilliantly for the most part, however I did notice that at times the AI seemed to get lost… slightly confused, especially when playing with one or two friends. They would simply for no apparent reason just charge in, killing civilians, caution thrown to the wind. Then at others – normally parts where you need them for a breach – they simply don’t follow you; hanging back, not seeming to move. This resulted in me having to restart at the last saved check point. Just a tad infuriating!
Then we move onto multiplayer. There are four different modes to play: Conflict, Decoy, Saboteur, and Siege. Again team play is vitally important, with each game played around objectives. There are no death-matches to be played here, in fact if you want to score high you’d best concentrate on team actions! As you level up you unlock new weapons and gun parts to customise, just like other shooters. It proves great fun, as long as you have a team that wants to work as a team. No room for running and gunning in this game!
- Excellent gadgets.
- Good campaign.
- Gunsmith rocks!
- AI sometimes dodgy.
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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Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Review ,
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