by Liam Edwards
previewed on X360
A different kind of shooter
If, like myself, you don't get much out of realistic FPS titles and play most games for the inherent twist on reality then Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier might be for you. I like to play titles that use realistic scenarios, such as war and human conflict, but have a complete twist on what would be possible in real-life by making small additions to make it impossible yet feasible at the same time. Take Halo for example- It is a game about humans waging war against aliens in the future. That's a very possible scenario maybe at some point in time. The game uses: conflict (real), humans (real), Aliens (maybe real) and space warfare (could possibly be real at some point), and they all bounce between the possible and the seemingly impossible. These are the types of titles, I believe, that make for fun video-games. The seemingly-too-realistic war-based titles,based on conflicts going on right now, is not only depressing but boring as well.
So I was excited when, at the Ubisoft press-conference at E3, Future Soldier was shown. Although stated to have been development since 2009 under a different name, it wasn't until E3 where anything was shown. When I watched the game-play demo, the prospect of using out-of-this-world technology to take down enemies in a number of exciting ways was looking promising. The Ghost Recon series has always been known for its heavy usage on futuristic technology, while being fun, the series has also had its problems. But with Future Soldier, it seems Ubisoft have cleaned the slate and are ready to start again, with a new take on everyone’s favorite video-game subject currently: war.
A war title? Yes. With a typical war story? Yes. Like most shooters, or war-based games of today, Future Soldier's story isn't promising to grip you and take you on an emotional roller-coaster. It does, however, promise to take you on the age-old war path of traveling in and between the Middle-East, Russia and Asia- Very heavily used plots and places are in-bound, so Ubisoft obviously knows this isn't going to be a key factor in selling the title. They have put their faith in gameplay, as this is also where gamers are going to focus upon.
Story aside then, Future Soldier is exactly what it says on the tin. Players take control of a squadron of Ghosts that are equipped with the best technology and weapons known to man. The game takes a third-person control of the characters for most of the game, but switches to a first-person view for key areas, to allow players the optimal playing-style for shooting down enemies. The Ghosts' new equipment consists of real-life prototypes that are either being developed or created by various military factions around the world. Some technologies featured in the game are completely created from scratch by the developers, which allows for more imaginative weapons and tools.
At GamesCom, I saw first-hand what Future Soldier has to offer. The mission was a hostage situation, with the player taking control as the Ghosts to re-capture a key hostage. The level took place within a desert terrain compound, and the first thing that was obvious was that the Ghosts could go about the mission in a variety of different ways. The player could choose to spy on the compound using technology such as spy drones. They could then scout out where each of the enemy mercenaries were, and then pick them off one-by-one. The second option was to go in camouflaged. This allowed the Ghosts to use a new feature called Optical Camouflage, which basically made them invisible to the enemies. They could then sneak into the compound and take out only the necessary enemies to retrieve the hostage. Although the first two options are relatively similar, there is a distinct amount of freedom between each, depending on the tools you use.