E3 2011: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Solider hands-on
At an after hours reception at Microsoft’s booth, I got to play through the same co-op demo shown at the Ubisoft press conference with one of the developers. Set in Nigeria, it follows a group of four elite soldiers through one of the campaign missions.
The first thing that I was introduced to is synchronised kills. When one or more soldiers are aiming at an enemy when undiscovered, if one fires, they all do. It became obvious that this is a core mechanic in the game, allowing you to sneak up on your enemies, plan an attack and execute it in a co-ordinated fashion.
The mission was a little more action-orientated and less tactical than I expected, but it still maintained the hallmarks of the Ghost Recon series. While we blasted through the latter part of the mission, it looks like we could have done it in a less gung-ho manner.
Perhaps one of the more interesting aspects of Future Solider is the user interface. The concept is that these warriors wear an eyepiece, allowing them to have an augmented view of the battlefield. In practice, this means that Ubisoft can get away with placing all sorts of visual cues around the game without having to justify them.
The various markers suit the idea of a high-tech soldier, but also prove very useful in battle. Team-mates and enemies are clearly visible, thrown grenades are easy to track and objects can be easily identified.
Towards the end of the demo, there was a short sequence in which the gameplay switched to a semi-interactive, on-rails section. As the team dragged a hostage away to safety, you had to cover a single arc of fire and protect the rest of the team. It felt a little out of place, given where the series has come from, but perhaps it’s better than just having the same action represented by a cutscene.
One thing that was very much noticeable was how rough the graphics appear. On the HD displays we were playing on, the textures and models looked quite jagged and you could clearly make out where objects began and ended. Let’s hope that’s something which is ironed out before release.
While Future Solider doesn’t seem to offer a great deal of innovation, it looks likely to be a more than competent tactical shooter that’ll live up to the expectations of fans of the series. Look out for it early next year.