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Ghost Recon Future Soldier: Why The Delays Shouldn’t Worry You


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Adam Barnes

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier has been delayed numerous times, but does this mean it won't be up to scratch? We get hands-on time to find out.


Published on Mar 20, 2012

There’s a grey cloud hanging over Ghost Recon: Future Soldier courtesy of the many delays Ubisoft’s third-person shooter has had to suffer – it was initially due for release in 2010, you know.

As with many games that have been cursed by extended development time, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier now has to contend with two sets of fans, from those who have anticipated the game for longer than is healthy and those who have since lost interest entirely.

But this protracted development hasn’t necessarily lead to a game that is worse for wear, and given a lengthy hands-on time with the latest build of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, we can tell you why there’s no need to worry about the delays.

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Isn’t All That Sci-Fi

Okay, so obviously it is still sci-fi – it is Future Soldier, after all – but one of the reasons Ubisoft delayed the game so much was to tone down its sci-fi element.

When it was first revealed there was a lot of impossible futuristic tech built into the game, a feature that left many fans of Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter cold.

The stealth cloak is the only element that has copied over to the nearly finished version of the game, and even that has been toned down a little. Crouch or go prone and your Ghost’s camouflage cloak will activate – making him practically impossible to spot over range. That won’t make him invisible, however. 

Get too close and you can be spotted and if an enemy with a heavy weapon fires in your direction – perhaps a last known position – then it’ll cause your cloak to disappear.

There’s still the recon drone too, GRAW fans, which is imperative for stealthy manoeuvres. It’s all a little more down to earth than the initial reveal, and makes for a much more identifiable (and less ridiculous) game overall.

Marking is a great new feature for co-operative play.

Co-op Is Important To Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

If you’ve played GRAW then the chances are you’ve played it in co-op. It’s a mode the series is well-known for, bringing a set of challenges that are best completed with actual, human allies.

The same is true with Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, with full co-op campaign for up to four players.

There are a few new additions to cater for it too, such as the new mark and shoot system. A loose comparison would be to suggest it’s like Splinter Cell: Conviction’s automatic press-to-win button, but there’s a little more work involved here.

Marking can be done by anyone (though it’ll preferably be handled by whoever is in charge of the recon drone), with a maximum of four enemies targeted at once. From here each player picks a target, which is then highlighted as ‘ready’ with a mystical blue laser.

Once all four are targeted, simply execute the shot. If done successfully in tandem then time will slow a little, which is particularly handy in those tougher encounters against more than four enemies.

Guerrilla Mode is based on a real strategy used by guerillas to cause havoc in an key strategic area.

Guerrilla Mode Is Future Soldier’s Answer To Horde Mode

There’s little to distinguish the two, to be honest. You and three friends defend yourself against waves of increasingly difficult enemies. So even more co-op to get your teeth into.

There are a few tweaks to the tried-and-tested formula, however. You’ll begin by capturing a headquarters that for the next 10 waves needs to be defended. Let an enemy stay too long in your headquarters and it’s game over, so there’s a constant need to keep an overwatch over it. 

After 10 waves, the headquarters moves to a trickier location to hold – meaning you have to recapture (preferably stealthily) the post before continuing.

Then there are wave bonuses – rewards for surviving multiple waves and perfect for last-ditch attempts against harder rounds. These range from the basic (enemy detecting radars) to the powerful (obliterating air strikes) that can only be activated once per round.

It’s not much nor is it particularly original in any way, but it is tough and does add some co-op fun outside of the main game. With shield-wielders and snipers, it’s more than a simple fragfest too.

You'll need to stick together in case one of your team-mates is taken out.

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Is Still For The Hardcore

We didn’t get hands-on with any of that namby-pamby Kinect nonsense, nor did we get an opportunity to try easier settings, but if you’re worried that Ubisoft Montreal has fallen foul to making its game ‘accessible’ then there’s nothing to fear here.

In fact, Jean-Marc Geffroy – Ghost Recon: Future Soldier’s creative director – suggests “accessibility doesn’t necessarily mean easy”, and from our hands-on with Future Soldier, it’s clear that’s the case here.

We weren’t even on the hardest difficulty and we found ourselves dying on numerous occasions, reverting to previous checkpoints and having to recuperate and figure out a strategy for the best approach.

Though Ghost Recon: Future Soldier can be played solo – and the AI do an amicable job of replacing human allies – there’s a real emphasis on team-work to survive.

It only takes a couple of bullets to bring yourself or a squad-mate down, so rushing into battle and playing it like a cover shooter will not be enough to survive. 

Whether the AI of the game is smart enough to flush you out will take some real analysis at review, but it’s clear Ghost Recon: Future Soldier still retains the hardcore attitude that made GRAW so popular.

We didn't get to play this section, but we're already intrigued.

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Isn’t Too Linear

These days shooters tend to funnel us down very pretty – and more often than not, explosive – corridors, with little in the way of thought beyond which shooting gallery target to aim for next.

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier isn’t quite like that, providing areas a little more open and combat situations requiring a little more thought. Cross the river or hold at the bridge? Head through the barn or cover it from different angles?

It’s the on the fly choices that makes Ghost Recon a tactical shooter franchise, and all this ties into the hardcore difficulty already mentioned. It makes a change to have decisions to make, and we’re thankful that Ghost Recon: Future Soldier doesn’t seem to have lost sight of that.

That’s not to say there are Battlefield levels of openness, you won’t be able to swarm an encampment from all fronts in a plethora of vehicles and there are still scripted set pieces to contend with.

These might be as simple as breaching a building a la Call Of Duty but one of the highlights we encountered in our hands-on was defending a derelict building from an unstoppable infantry force while a tank chipped away at our ever-decreasing cover. It was hard, which made the eventual victory all the more tantalising.

No doubt more exciting moments are in store in the final game, but since few can compete with the over-the-top attitude in Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 it’ll mostly be refreshing if we didn’t have to bring down famous landmarks for a change.



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Xbox 360
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Ubisoft Montreal
Third-person Shooter
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Summary: If you're one of those skeptics, then you might want to rethink your opinion. It might not have the spectacle, but it's looking positive for tactical shooter fans.
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