Preview:- Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (Single Player)

Game: Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
Format: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Developer: Ubisoft Paris, Ubisoft Red Storm
Publisher: Ubisoft

At the time of writing thousands of gamers across the globe have got their hands on Ghost Recon Future Soldier’s online multiplayer beta and have got a very good idea of how the final product is going to play. However there is still some uncertainty about how the main campaign will turn out as it has been developed by a separate team.

We were recently granted the opportunity to play a near complete version of Ghost Recon Future Soldier’s campaign. First things first, any concerns that you may have about the quality of the main campaign should be cast out of your mind. Yes, it has been developed by a separate team, but it still feels incredibly similar to the multiplayer experience. One great thing about the campaign is that it can be played with up to four player in co-op or entirely on your own. We were only allowed to play the game solo, but from what we’ve experienced we can easily see how the game will play co-operatively.

At the start of each mission you are granted access to the game’s extensive weapon customisation  system. For those aren’t familiar with it, it allows you to change everything from the type of trigger used to the colour of the weapon’s paint. If you don’t feel like customising the weapon yourself you can automatically optimise your weapons to increase it’ stats to suit your play style. With the customisation out of the way it’s then time to get stuck into the main campaign.

The first mission we played took place in Africa, and our goal was to eliminate a local warlord whose soldiers were terrorising a small town. This level acts as a tutorial of sorts, teaching you all of the basic techniques that you’ll need to use in order to survive, without feeling too much like the developers are holding your hands as you get to grips with the game’s mechanics.

The first (and arguably most useful) technique to master is the ability to mark enemies as targets for your squad. Simply move the cursor over an enemy and tap right bumper to assign a kill order on an enemy. You can assign up to four targets at a time, giving each of your team mates their own individual target. Of course you have to wait until your team-mates confirm that they have a clear shot before you can take your targets down. The kill order can be initiated by holding down Right bumper or by shooting one of the targets yourself. The result is a gloriously empowering coordinated flurry of head shots as each squad member takes out their designated target.

The game's campaign takes place in numerous locations across the globe

When first engaging large crowds of enemies it is important to tactically assess which targets would be most beneficial to take out. For instance, when attacking a courtyard surrounded by sniper filled towers it would be wise to try and take out as many of the snipers as possible with a synchronised kill. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to take them out without alerting any of the guards in the courtyard… and if you’re unlucky then every surviving guard will become alert and start gunning for you. But still, at least you’ll have taken out those pesky snipers.

This tactical element adds a palpable sense of tension to the combat. The fact that the game can suddenly and, most importantly, seamlessly shift from stealth gameplay to a tense cover-based shooter makes every level an unpredictable experience. On more than one occasion we stealthily took out every enemy in the field of operations only to have an enemy patrol come around the corner just as we let our guard down. This resulted in a desperate scramble to cover and a distinct feeling that we were being punished for being too bold.

There’s a similar level of variety in terms of mission objectives. One objective will require you to stealthily sneak through an enemy base, carefully avoiding enemies and failing you if you get caught, while another will head off to the opposite end of the spectrum. In one mission you are tasked with controlling a walking tank called a Warhound and marking targets for it to obliterate with its cannons. This is a stark juxtaposition of the earlier mission objectives, and could go a long way towards preventing the game from getting stale.

One of the most impressive things about the game is the way it shifts from stealth to high intensity combat

Other futuristic tech at your disposal includes a variety of vision modes. The first, and most commonly used, is the magnetic vision. This highlights metallic items, such as weapons, within a set radius, allowing you to get an idea of where you enemies are hiding. The magnetic vision can also be used to navigate hazardous conditions, such as a sandstorm, giving you an added advantage over your enemies. Other vision modes that we saw include night vision and thermal vision. We picked up on a very distinct Predator vibe when playing with thermal vision and stealth camo activated, which adds an extra layer to the proceedings.

With a little under a month to go until the game’s full release we came away from our single player marathon looking forward to the full game more than ever. If anything our gargantuan single player session has made us relish the chance to experience it all again in co-op.

Ghost Recon Future Soldier will be available on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 from 25th May in the UK. A PC version is due to be released a few weeks later on 15th June. Stay tuned to for our full review in the coming weeks.

- Luke Mears

Fri, April 27 2012 » PC/Mac, Previews, PS3, Xbox 360

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