The wait was finally over! Unbearable as the years of waiting where it made powering up my XBOX360 and launching the BETA that much sweeter. Ghost Recon Future Soldier had arrived…well partially. The stage was set for a marathon of gaming albeit on 2 maps and a single game mode but this was Ghost Recon we where talking about here; a game that I had waited years for. If nothing else came of this night I would at least have a table full of chips and energy drink to eat…well share with my buddy who was sitting next to me going through a similar set of emotions at the prospect of sinking his teeth into the game.
I’ll let you read his impressions of the BETA in the follow-up to this article but for now strap in and see how my ” 7 hours of awesome” played out!
Game Mode: The GRFS BETA consists of a single game mode called Conflict. This game mode is a very unique version of a traditional objective mode in that it ‘”spawns” fresh objectives on the fly throughout the match as teams accomplish them from their unique viewpoint. For example as the Ghosts ( the Americans) you are tasked to escort a H.T.V( High value target to safety ( which happens to be another player) as a fresh objective. The BODARK ( Russian Ghost Team) must eliminate the H.V.T. If either team accomplishes this mission objective they will be awarded 100 points. Upon the conclusion of this objective a new one is spawned on the field of battle shortly thereafter and the process begins anew . This back and forth struggle creates a very tense game as the score counter starts to climb and a victor becomes more and more imenent.
The missions are also called out via ” Comm Chatter” from your teams command and all of this adds to the games realism and imersion. The fact that a winning team is determined by a score and not a kill counter also reinforces that objective play will win the day and not a lone wolf hero with a great K/D. In fact my whole tim playing this BETA I did not hear anyone bragging about their kill spread…except perhaps my buddy sitting next to me as he looked over at my screen between rounds.
Controls: This was the one aspect of Future soldier that had me the most curious. Having logged insane amount of hours playing GRAW and GRAW2 I had grown accustomed to the unique layout that those games used. Having also played an equally insane amount of Gears of war 3 made me yearn for a better system when I fired up Future Soldier. I am happy to say that UBI Soft nailed it. Granted the button layout is not as traditional as you may want, considering that they had to cram a large amount of options for the player to use into the layout I am pleased. Cover is intuitive and responsive and feels tactical. The one thing that annoyed me about Gears of War was the use of a ” cover bouncing” technique to move from one piece of cover to the next. Although it was effective it did not feel right considering that your characters where the size of a wrestler with about 200 lbs of armors and equipment. Ghost recon forgoes this for a targeted system called ” Cover Swappping”.While in cover you highlight another piece of available cover and hold down your “A” button . Your character will sprint to the location and take up position in cover. The whole process feels Tactical and remains an efficient way to navigate the battlefield.
everything else is handled much the same way that most cover based shooters do with vaulting over cover stealing the show and making you feel like a true bad ass! Who would have thought that climbing over cover could look so good!
Shooting is handled much like its previous incarnations with LT serving as a shoulder aim and clicking your right thumb stick aims down sights just like any current FPS. Throw on a red dot sight or ACOG site to your gun and you have the best of both worlds ( Third person gameplay with First person aiming). Bullets fly and land with a convincing thud and hit markers are clear and satisfying.
GRFS nailed it on all aspects as far as shooting goes and I was thrilled to have my fears put to rest!
< Gunsmith>: Future Soldier uses the most unusual gun customization feature in any military shooter ever created! After playing around in the GUNSMITH mode I can’t belive that no other company has create dit prior to this. Battlefield and Call of Duty have to look at this and wonder why they didn’t think about it.
The game gives you the ability to view all your weapons in a 3D modeled environment and then ” explode” your weapon into its various components to be swapped out on from a list of unlocked parts at your disposal. All this is based on your own unlocks and of course the chosen class you are playing. You can them ‘”reassemble” the gun with a click of a button and watch it get re built right in front of your eyes. If that isn’t enough you can them immediately take your creation for a test run at the firing range with various targets set up at different ranges. All this can be done prior to actually spending the upgrade points on the new creation your holding.
The ultimate cherry on top here is knowing that when the game launches in May you will have a companion app for Gunsmith that lets you do all of this on the go on your iPhone/Android phone or Ipad and then upload it to be waiting for you when you arrive home to play. Throw in a virtual ” gun store” with other player created weapons available for sharing and you have a feature that is light years ahead of any modern shooter on the market today. Did I mention that the App IS free?
Presentation: Much debate has been going on about Future Soldiers presentation. It is widely known that they are using an updated version ( almost to the point of it being rebuilt) of the Unreal technology that powered GRAW2. The difference here is in how its used. While I must consider that the BETA is not a final version, I did not have any gripes with what I saw. The occasional texture pop in which is common with the Unreal engine and something that still plagues the Gears of War series to this day has just become something I deal with. The enviroment looked great and felt alive with ambiance and a musical score at the beginning of each round to get you pumped.
I did notice that the frame rate stuttered a little at times when the action got intense as well as the in-game audio taking a hit during those same moments but I am hoping that those get cleared up in time for a full release or have already . Typically BETA builds are much older than when we get them so its feasible that those issues will have been eliminated in the final build we will be playing next month.
Fun Factor:Lets say this. If Future soldier shipped tomorrow and I was given the same game I am playing now only with more maps and modes…I would still buy it. The game is everything I wanted it to be and the BETA is only making me want more! My buddy and I killed a 7 hour gaming session without blinking and found ourselves working as a team in no time. Granted we where playing LAN style in the same room on separate TV’s which most gamers aren’t doing all the time really helped but we even managed to make a few friends who were also playing ” tactical” just like us.
I think the community that will embrace this game will understand its core values draw like-minded players to them as the months go by after release.
I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun playing a game in recent memory and in fact if it wasnt for the effects of our energy drink wearing off pre maturely we probably would have kept going past 3am in the morning!
There is a new game mode coming out before the end of the BETA for us to sample and then it closes on May 2. We will have 20 days after that to wait until we get our hands on the full version and really sink our teeth into it.
Check back with us at the end of May to read our full review of the game and see if the BETA helped UBI soft in ironing out some of the issues that I mentioned above.
I need to get back to designing more guns in GUNSMITH so thanks for tuning in!
Dwayne” EVO Knight” Morash