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Hands-On with Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Multiplayer

Recently, Ubisoft hosted an open house at its Red Storm Entertainment studio in North Carolina to debut the multiplayer gameplay for the upcoming Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. Up to 12 players can take part in the third-person perspective action, in six versus six matches across 10 maps and through four game modes.

“One of our main focuses was to try and find some different experience that we could create for the player,” said Tommy Jacob, creative director, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. “We really wanted to drive players toward playing as a team. We wanted to incentivize the teamwork aspect of gameplay so that even the lone wolf player felt like there was a great advantage to, if not necessarily playing within direct proximity of their team, at least coordinating the effort with the team to even make them more of an effective killer.”

Working with teammates is the key to survival in all of the game’s new multiplayer modes. Keeping the communication going on headsets is the only way to win in the complex objective-based Conflict mode, which issues orders to teams and awards the match to the one that completes them all. Making things even more challenging is the Decoy game type, which has an attacking team and a defending team, and three objectives on the map. Two of these objectives are decoys and the third is often a demo objective–and that’s the way to win this match type. There are different ways to tackle this mode, including spreading out your team and attacking all three objectives at once, or moving in small clusters to sort through the decoys.

Saboteur has everyone running to the center of the map to find a bomb, which needs to be brought to the opposite side of the map to take down the enemy spawn area. The final mode harkens back to Blind Siege from the original Ghost Recon. This defend-the-location objective sends one team in early to fortify their base, then the attackers come in to lay siege. Just like in real life, once dead, the game is over. Adding depth to these team-based experiences are three classes of customizable soldiers (Rifleman, Engineer and Scout) that can perform important tasks in the field. The scout can gather intel and share it, while the Engineer can heal players, and the Rifleman is adept at suppression–pinning down enemies while teammates flank them.

Technology plays a key role in this game and Red Storm has cooked up some cool new gadgets to help take out the enemy. The new Cross Com HUD allows players to share Intel right on your team’s goggles to more easily locate targets. Optical camouflage allows players to literally be invisible, blending in with their surroundings, and drones come into play with things like the sync shot, which can tag enemies for synchronized attacks.

One area that players will likely get lost in, whether they use it in-game or on a mobile device or website, is the Gunsmith mode. Players can customize every aspect of their fighter from how they look to what guns, grenades, and gadgets they bring into combat. Everything is also completely upgradable, and every piece of a gun (triggers, barrels, stocks) can be adjusted for millions of deadly combinations to gain the unfair advantage on your enemies.

Once equipped and in a multiplayer map, moving around is quite easy. Red Storm has employed a fluid, active cover system that allows you to quickly move from point A to point B by pressing a single button and always keeping safe from enemy fire. Being in cover makes a huge difference in your life expectancy. The cover system allows players to stay down in cover and then take a quick peek out before taking shots at the enemy and going back to safety.

Red Storm had all 10 maps available for multiplayer skirmishes. The Mill map stands out from the crowd with its rustic, organic beauty, stone buildings, covered bridge, and river. The battles often take place around that bridge, but there’s decent cover, including a cemetery and plenty of bushes and trees to make use of when navigating the grassy, slightly hilly area. Another interactive map is Sandstorm, which features a desert village and a sandstorm that rolls in periodically to knock the view distance down to nearly zero. Players with good intel will succeed in this map by navigating those storms.

Those looking for some verticality will find the Marketplace map interesting. This map offers some alternate flanking routes and areas around the buildings to sneak around and outflank enemies. The Harbor map, the largest in the game, sets up more traditionally straight-on firefight positioning, as well as some interesting verticality elements along with flanking routes. Cargo containers and giant cargo ships provide a nice backdrop to this level.

Red Storm has focused a massive amount of its attention on the game’s multiplayer experience, which serves up quite a variety of maps, modes and weapons that change the dynamic of how you play. Veterans looking for a serious challenge (and one life), will find one in Siege mode. Saboteur is a lot of fun and gets everyone in close quarters, armed and dangerous.

When you add in the up to four player co-op mode that Ubisoft Paris developed, and the game’s wave-after-wave of enemies in Guerilla mode, there’s a lot of replay capabilities packed into one gaming experience. But perhaps the tech that will keep player coming back for more, more than any other, is the Gunsmith technology that offers an endless array of cool guns, tech and grenades that could change the outcome of an online battle.

Keep an eye out for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, which hits the PS3 and Xbox 360 on May 22, then comes to the PC on June 12. 

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