Preview: Ghost Recon Future Soldier Beta Impressions
Last Thursday saw the Beta for Ghost Recon Future Soldier kick off (psst – if you still want to get in on the event you can visit our twitter page to win one). If you don’t get a chance to be part of the beta however, don’t worry – right here you’re going to get my thoughts about my time with the game.
Before I start this off, remember that this is a beta, so there are some shortcomings in the game that may be changed by the time the full game comes out. Things like server problems and minor lag are probably down to the fact that this is a beta. (We hope).
Future Soldier focuses on teamwork and tactics in order to achieve your goal and this is evident massively in the multiplayer. If you want to survive, then you’re going to need a well-rounded squad made of different classes that can work well together and communicate. I’ve spent most of my time so far playing as the Engineer class – allowing you to utilise SMGs and sensor grenades, and when you reach level 4 of the class you can also unlock the remote UAV drone. You also get to play as a Rifleman – armed with an assault rifle, frag grenade and a a piece of tech you can choose – and a Scout – proficient in long range with a Sniper rifle and sporting active camo and, of course, all classes get an array of other unlockable equipment.
Gathering a well-rounded squad of varying classes is incredibly useful both in maintaining control of objectives and ambushing the other team. The Engineer’s UAV is good for scoping out advancing enemies – and racking up XP – while sensor grenades highlight enemies in areas to plot flanking manoeuvres. The Rifleman is your main suppression class and can either clear out enemies quickly using a frag, or disorientate them with an EMP grenade. Snipers can easily support the front line by picking off dug-in enemies while in cloak. Finding a good set of people to manage these classes can be the difference between winning and losing.
Customisation is a huge part of your loadouts – you can select a class before a game starts to swap out your equipment, grenades and weapons as you wish. Tweaking weapons in the character menu gives you a huge amount of modifying options, from triggers to barrels and everything between. This will create hours of enjoyment for those that want to create their perfect weapon. Points used to unlock different parts are gained through increasing the level of different classes much like Battlefield, though appears in a fashion that isn’t as clear in comparison.
All this extra work behind-the-scenes building your arsenal is great, however the gameplay can be a bit hit-and-miss. While the game looks good and handles well for the most part, I found the cover system a bit tricky to get to grips with early on. Getting into cover is easy enough with a tap of the A button, but moving to another section forces you along a path by holding A, releasing it will just leave you out in the open – this can prove troublesome when activated by accident when the controls stuck on the edge of cover. I was surprised that an evasion mechanic wasn’t included – maybe it’s just that we’ve been spoiled by having this in other third person games, but I found myself sticking to cover while in a firefight. Some surfaces won’t allow you to get behind at all, and some small fences and patches of grass can’t be vaulted over or crossed which proves inconsistent as you can jump walls taller than yourself.
The scoring and leveling up system was never that clear from my time with the game. You’ll get a brief After Action Report clearly displaying all the scores, though the teamwork column is a bit out-the-blue as it never really informs you where these points were earned, except for getting kills in the match. A larger overview of the progression system would have been useful given that you only appear to get the info on your next level and what you can earn. It feels a lot like the Battlefield 3 system but, unfortunately, not as clear.
Ghost Recon Future Soldier is in all a solid outing for the series, following on from Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, even if it doesn’t include some elements that have become a staple for third person shooters. It does include an incredible amount of depth in weapon customising which will keep most fans engaged for quite some time. Ghost Recon Future Soldier will be available for the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 on 22nd May in the US and 25th May in Europe.