Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Beta Impressions
It’s easy to say that Ghost Recon: Future soldier is a highly-anticipated game. While Call of Duty continues to reign supreme among online multiplayer shooters, Future Soldier is looking to change the shooter landscape, taking a much more tactical and team-oriented approach. I’ve had quite a bit of time with the beta now, and for those of you still on the fence about Future Soldier, I can safely say that it’s time to come over the Ghost Recon side. Online multiplayer is about to get fun again.
As I stated before, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is all about team work. While Call of Duty has it’s team-based mode, let’s face it — it is far from being a team game. In Future Soldier, however, trying to rush into battle to get the most kills is a sure way to get killed, and a sure way to make your team lose. While experience and team points are earned from killing enemies, the real points come from helping to complete random objectives across the map. Each team begins on a certain side of the map, and is immediately free to take their positions among the battlefield. However, after a short while, an objective will pop up on screen with a small indicator as to where in the map it is located, and how much time you have to complete it, and the real fun begins. Objectives come in many different forms, such as having to defend a friendly hacker or EMP bomb, or fight to capture a supply drop. These objectives, when completed, will score tons of points for your team, but also provide you with bonuses to help in combat. If you manage to protect your EMP bomb, for instance, after the objectives time limit is up, the bomb will detonate, disrupting your enemies’ electronics. It really forces people to focus on the objectives to win, rather than just ignoring them to focus on kills. The best part about the objectives is that you never know if you are going to be the ones attacking or defending, meaning that players will constantly need to be able to adapt to the situation at hand.
All of this leads from some very intense combat across the maps, which are very well designed. There are bare streets and open areas with little cover spots behind cars and barriers, and dense battlegrounds filled with small buildings and stone fences, all within the same map. This makes for some great, edge-of-your-seat standoffs where both teams are constantly switching cover spots and trying to out-flank each other. Ghost Recon: Future Soldier feels more like real combat than most shooters I’ve played, and every bit of it is fun. The game also controls very well, and has some very interesting features that set it apart from other third-person cover-based shooters. The most impressive feature is the cover swap mechanic. While taking cover behind an object, aiming your reticle at another piece of cover lays down a small arrow, allowing you to then hold the sprint button to make a mad dash for it. You can instantly run to cover from just about any distance, and it’s incredibly helpful, and fun, when there is a lot of action going on in an area and you need to run to a nearby objective.
For anyone wondering how advancement in multiplayer works, it’s fairly similar to Battlefield 3. As you get kills and help complete objectives, you are given experience points that help you level up the different classes. You gain points for a class by using that specific class, and can then unlock new weapons and attachments to further customize your loadout. The classes and loadouts are exactly what you’d expect, but the one that always faces the most criticism is the sniper class. Luckily, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier handles the sniper class excellently, giving players the ability to have camo that automatically adjusts to their surroundings, as long as you remain perfectly still without firing. Using the sniper rifles is also very easy, and ditches the somewhat realistic, often irritating, “floating scope” for a much more enjoyable sniping experience.
Honestly, there is very little that I can say about Future Soldier that is bad, but there are a few minor things that I would really like to see worked on, mostly just technical issues. One problem that I ran into is sometimes not knowing where an objective was located. The timer and objective description pop up on screen for a few seconds, and then becomes an icon visible on screen to point you in the right direction. I found the icon to be too small, and it would be nice if the objective title stayed onscreen with it’s own arrow and proximity meter to let you know which way to go without having to look around for the tiny icon.
All-in-all, the Ghost Recon: Future Soldier beta has gotten me very excited for it’s release next month. It certainly won’t be a “Call of Duty killer” because it certainly doesn’t appeal to the same crowd. However, in my opinion it’s a much better multiplayer experience, worth the attention of anyone who enjoys a shooter that involves much more strategy and teamwork. Hopefully the single-player campaign will turn out to be just as amazing.