There’s a supply cache located in enemy held territory and it’s well guarded. Previous skirmishes to take it have proved unsuccessful. I’ve decided to take the long way round to get behind the enemy to draw attention away from my team’s advance. All is quiet near me and I assume that the enemy is too focused on the larger force to take notice of me.
A shot rings out, the bullet missing by a whisker. A sniper is covering this bridge and now I’m trapped in cover. More shots follow, and soon the sniper is joined by two riflemen. A hail of bullets hits the low brick wall I’m hiding behind. Thinking quickly I let loose my only grenade. Its blast is deadly, taking out the riflemen. I peek my head out and am met by the sniper’s scope. I wait to die. Suddenly, the enemy sniper drops as a friendly sniper spawns near me and takes him out. This one situation highlights what Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is all about.[drop]Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is a 3rd person team based affair, with an emphasis on team. The beta has one game mode available, called Conflict, and two maps, Pipeline and Mill. Conflict is a mode where different objectives spring up all over the map. You could go from defending a supply cache to hunting down a high value target (HVT) in a moment. It’s a good mode which keeps the action moving on and stopping the game from getting stale, and each objective requires a change in both personal and team tactics.
The maps also effect how you’ll play in Conflict. Pipeline is set in facility located in a desert and is quite open. Mill is set in a more woodland area, which provides quite a lot of cover. There are 3 initial classes to choose from; Rifleman, Scout and Engineer. Rifleman is your typical infantry soldier who leads the attack, Scout is the sniper class and the Engineer is the support class, who helps find enemy positions through gadgets such as the UAV.
Each class levels up individually depending on how long you spend with it, leading to unlocks. At some unlock stages you will have decide which piece of equipment you want, forcing you to think about what kind of tactics you will want to employ long term and the kind of soldier you want to build.
The matches hold sixteen players, two teams of eight that are further divided in to Alpha & Bravo squads. Your squad serves as your support, you can call on them to help you out by giving you a med kit or back up if you’re pinned down by enemies. Squad members also act as mobile spawn points, provided they’re not too close to an objective or under attack.
There are also challenges that you can try to beat for extra XP. So far I have only been offered one challenge, which is to get more stuns than someone else on my friends list. It’ll be interesting to see how the challenges will develop and I can see it adding an extra dimension to rivalries between friends. Challenges will have time limits in which to complete them, though that hasn’t occurred during my experience of the beta yet.
The HUD is nicely implemented and adds to the immersion of having access to future technology. The ammo count comes up in a small display next to your character, which is easy to see but isn’t at all intrusive. The radar sits in the bottom right corner of the screen and objectives pop up next your character when they change. It’s all quite minimal in the way it looks but that’s a good thing. The information needed is easy to see and even easier to ignore if you need to.[drop2]Each class also has its own perks. For example the Scout can turn invisible if they stay completely still in a place. However, they become visible if they move or fire a shot. Other pieces of equipment allow you to see enemy outlines if they’re running or hiding behind cover. I can see this splitting players as it can take away from the tactical play that makes Ghost Recon: Future Soldier so enjoyable.
One of the most interesting parts of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is the gun customisation. Every gun can be fully rebuilt, from stock to muzzle and everything in between. New gun parts are unlocked by earning credits, again each class earning its own credits. The unlocked parts will have different effects on your gun build, for example you may make your gun more powerful but you could sacrifice the amount of control or manoeuvrability. This customisation is something that is interesting to play around with and is worth spending at least a little time with.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, at least the multiplayer, is shaping up to be a very interesting experience. For those who have been looking for a good third person squad based tactical shooter this may be the answer. Outside the matches it looks like there could be a lot of in depth extras, especially the gun customisation. However a few decisions, like the ability to see enemy outlines, could split opinion. Overall though I’d say keep definitely keep an eye on this.