E3 2011: Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Hands-on Preview
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier puts an enormous emphasis on teamwork. I got a chance to check out this refocused attention during a hands-on demo of the game during E3, and while it’s clear more work is needed before its 2012 release, there is a great deal of potential in that basic co-op concept. The game still relies on exaggerated technology as the Ghosts have all the latest gadgets only the military could attain. Making my way through the level provided a chance to see how well the co-op works with AI, resulting in a giant sigh of relief as bad AI in a co-op game spells disaster.
The demo had a few bugs, which our Ubisoft rep was quick to point out before we even noticed them, but overall it looked gorgeous and played really smoothly. The demo was an extraction mission, and showed off the new synchronized maneuvers. I played the four-player co-op mission solo, but you can play through it with real-life partners. The demo gave only a glimpse of what we’ve come to expect from a Tom Clancy game: big blockbuster action segments coupled with strategic action and high tech that would make Steve Jobs drool.
Right off the bat I was introduced to the easy-to-operate synchronized kill shots. It’s a simple concept: each of your teammates marks a target they’ll take down, you pick an available enemy, and as you squeeze off a round your enemies follow your lead to eliminate their targets. Cover in Future Soldier isn’t a guarantee as you are capable of blowing through wooden surfaces to take out your enemies. After my team silently eliminated our targets, we moved into strategic positions to breach a door. This again shows off the teamwork aspect of Future Soldier. As we entered the room I shot a relatively unsuspecting baddie, but at the same time my fellow Ghosts found their own targets to eliminate. Needless to say, the demo proved that the AI is extremely tight at this point in development.
At one point in the demo I was given a little drone to fly several yards ahead of our team to scout for enemies. I again was able to easily pick targets for my comrades to eliminate, but I accidentally flew too close to one of the enemies so our cover was blown. Despite revealing our presence, my team executed perfect shots to take down their targets, but we quickly found ourselves in a large gun battle. I wasn’t overly impressed with this portion of the game as straight firefights felt a bit dull. All of that changed when I learned how to easily flank my enemies and how my teammates intuitively followed my lead. In no time my team squared off our enemies and dropped about a dozen baddies in mere seconds. These large scale battles showoff the weight of your weapons, but I wasn’t overly impressed with the basic combat system compared to the more stealth-style approach to action.
As we found our kidnapped agent the action only heated up further. That basic combat I earlier said was dull quickly turned into highly intense strategic gameplay. We huddled around our agent to protect him from an onslaught of enemies and with one hand I slowly maneuvered my gun to eliminate approaching baddies. More explosions, more action, more bad dudes, and even more blockbuster moments filled out the remainder of the demo, leaving me extremely excited to see the finished product in 2012.