Beta impressions: Ghost Recon Future Soldier

The Tom Clancy franchise is known for its tactical strategies and struggles for survival. A Tom Clancy game isn’t a game for the lone wolf, it’s a game where you’ll have to operate as a team. Becoming the leader of a team always worked like a charm during singleplayer missions but what about multiplayer? Who will become the leader of the pack? And what if you try to solve it all on your own? It’s time to take a look at Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Future Soldier…

Beta impressions by Michiel Vonck:

In Tom Clancy Ghost Recon: Future Soldier multiplayer, there isn’t your standard team deathmatch because there are only objective based modes where team play is very essential if you want to win. We tried two modes during this beta namely: Conflict and saboteur. In Conflict mode, two teams of different squads are put against each other to complete certain random objectives like recovering intel from the enemy, defusing an EMP- bomb, defending a certain position,… The team who completes objectives, gets a certain amount of points and some objectives even offer in- game rewards. In Saboteur 2 teams have to attempt to secure, transport and detonate a bomb at the enemy base.

The multiplayer setup of Future soldier is the same as the COD- franchise, battlefield 3, … First of all, you can choose between different classes, you have the rifleman, the engineer, the scout and other classes that you can unlock while leveling up. Each class has some “special” features such as: scout becomes cloaked when you stand still, a rifleman can sustain more damage,… Second of all, you’ll earn experience by killing enemies, completing certain objectives and different teamwork actions. As you level up, some levels gives you the choice to get a certain equipment or a part of your gun, so that you can customize your character the way you want it to be.

The customization is very “limited” in this game when it comes to appearance. You can only customize your character’s head and by customizing I mean that you can choose between 3 or 4 presets of heads. The customization of your “loadout” is a whole different story. You can customize your primary weapon, secondary weapon and equipment. If you like to customize your weapon, you can choose between different weapons that you unlock while leveling and your also capable of customizing your weapon itself. Each weapon lets you customize its optics, stock, muzzle, barrel, side rail, GAS system, underbarrel, magazine and trigger. Later on you can also choose different camouflage for your gun. Be sure to check your weapon in the firing range.  If you don’t like spending time to form your “best” weapon, you can “automatically” customize your weapon to 4 presets: best control, best range, best maneuverability, and highest power.

When I first started the game, I was very surprised with the graphics. They definitely cranked up the graphics thanks to a new and powerful engine. Everything about the game looks very realistic but I must say that only one of the two maps, that we were able to play during this beta, was utterly stunning. One of the maps plays very good with different colors and the realistic shading of the sunlight. It sets the mood right while playing this game but the other map is actually quite sober thanks to the use of brown and dark colors. It made me want to play the other map more than the other and it showed during my gaming experience.

Normally I’m quite good at first and 3rd person  shooters but I have to admit that this game pushed me to my limits. Like I said in the beginning, the Tom Clancy- franchise is about team play and being tactical. I’m good with team work but the “tactical”-genre isn’t really my kind of thing. I prefer fast paced shooters like Halo and Unreal Tournament but the game looked quite interesting so I gave it a try.

The first couple of minutes were  pretty normal. I got to know my controls and got to know a little more about the game but my Kill/ death- ratio wasn’t good. I was the “loner” guy who just ran towards the enemy hoping to get my kill but the game doesn’t work that way, so I quickly left and played one of my other shooters. But the day after I decided to try the game again and give it a second chance, I started to adapt my game style. I was slower than last session due to the fact that I constantly looked over my shoulder, using the environment to my advantage, staying low and out of sight, … and I finally got the hang of it. I started to cover my teammates from afar, revived them and tried to get as many objectives as I could. I started to realize that teamwork and being focused was the only way to be successful.

Overall, my first beta impressions were good. I tried something new and I liked it but I prefer the standard shooter. If gamers like to work with other gamers and use the environment to their advantage in order to be successful, then this is the game for them. The modes are good and team work is highly recommended! You also get experience for your team actions. But I have to inform you that there are still a couple of technical issues with this game. It’s in beta so it will probably be fixed but  I’ll mention a few things. First of all, when people stay behind cover they can choose to aim or fire their bullets “spraying” over the battlefield. There were a lot of frustrating moments during this beta. People get behind cover and one of the players looks behind its cover and the other enemy sprays its bullets towards the “hiding/ looking behind a wall”- player then this player will likely be killed with a headshot and this is truly unacceptable. People have to work for their kills and not just earn kills by shooting randomly. Another thing is that all classes need a few tweaks.  The sniper is really too “vulnerable” in this game. It’s good that you can cloak but most of the time your shots won’t hurt anyone. Some classes are also slightly overpowered.

Conclusion: Tom Clancy Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is a very unique and realistic third person shooter that will appeal to most of the third person shooter fans. But if you are a gamer who is used to something different, this is your chance to do so but you’ll be biting off a lot of nails. I found it as a fast paced shooter hard to “get familiar” with this type of shooter. I get the feeling that you’ll have to play this game over and over to see some improvement because you can’t just join a game thinking you’ll be the number one “Future Soldier”. Training is the key to be successful in this fun game!

Beta impressions by Lander Van der Biest:

Just as Michiel Vonck I was lucky enough to test out Future Soldier multiplayer in beta. My experiences with the game weren’t always that good.  I noticed however that the way I felt about the game changed depending on which map I was playing. The beta offered two different maps: Mill and Pipeline.

I often compared the map Mill with the Twilight universe, not because you have to face shining vampires on this map but thanks to the setting. In mill you’ll end up in a forest including a mill (obviously) and some typical wooden houses. While playing the beta on this map I wasn’t really convinced.  First of all the map doesn’t look original at all and the lack of color only make things worse. The true reason why I wasn’t convinced however was the fact that it’s hard to find some decent cover on this map.

Mill is a rather big map were you’ll often end up crossing a dangerous road. While doing so you’re exposed to your enemies. Perhaps it was thanks to my style of gaming I died a lot on this map. Just like Michiel Vock, I was more like a lone wolf during my first minutes into the game. I was running around shooting random people without really caring about the team objectives. After I switched my style to a more team play minded style I found myself enjoying the map more and more. Mill isn’t a bad map but it certainly isn’t a map showing of the true potential of this Ghost Recon title.

The second map ‘Pipeline’ is definitely the better map on the beta. Pipeline is set in an industrial environment in a deserted place. What really makes this map so different is the use of light and shadows. The map really comes to life and looks absolutely amazing. It’s a true joy to play on a map as this. More important however are the possibilities to take cover. This map really is created around team play and you’ll notice this the moment you’ll enter this map. Covers are spread across the entire map and you’ll even have the opportunity to enter buildings or climb on rooftops to support your team players.

It was on this map I first saw the true potential of Future Soldier. The reason for this is the unique cover system that works like a charm. Unlike other games you can take cover and pinpoint a location where you’d like to move forward to while still in cover. Once arrived at the location, you’ll still be in cover. This system goes far more deeper than Gears of War for example. In games like Gears you could switch cover to walls in your direct surroundings while in Future Soldier you’ll be able to go to a next cover spot as long as you can see it. It works really great.

Aside from this great way of taking cover I must admit that Ghost Recon Future Soldier definitely is a game you’ll have to get used to. It’s a very tactical team based shooter and I’m sure not all shooter fans will find this game enjoyable. On the other hand I’m sure if you’re willing to invest a little of your time in this game and are willing to adept your game style to different situations, this can be the perfect shooter. The beta proofed that Future Soldier is yet far from perfect but it sure has the potential to become one of the most regular played third person shooters out there. Still not convinced? Wait for a demo to arrive and try for yourself, only than you’ll be able to tell if this game is something you can enjoy or not. One advise? Don’t let the enemies get you down, after some practice it will be your time to shine.

Thank you for reading!