E3 2011 Hands-on: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

e3 2011 hands on tom clancys ghost recon future soldierTom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier was one of my favorite games at last year’s E3, and it remains one of my favorite games for this year as well. I just don’t want it to be among my favorite games for E3 2012, because I’m hoping it will be out long before that.

Ubisoft is promising an early 2012 release, and rumors of a January target date have been bandied about–whether or not that is accurate, a Q1 release is the plan. But while the game may not be on shelves until next year, Ubisoft did have a demo of both the single player and multiplayer game available at E3.

Future Soldier looks amazing. It looked better last year when the Frostbite 2.0 and id Tech 5 engines were just gaining momentum, but the heavily modified YETI engine is still producing some of the best graphics available on a console.

As with the previous Ghost Recon games, Future soldier is a team-based tactical shooter. It is a third-person shooter with the occasional switch to first-person for specific events. You command a group of three other soldiers and can give them targets, send them to certain locations and team up with them to do things like breach and clear a room. Tactics are the primary focus, but there is also still room go Leroy Jenkins and play the game like a more standard shooter. It will make your life harder, and there are some objectives that you need to do silently, but you make that call. The enemies are smart and tough, and you don’t just shrug off bullet wounds.

Helping you with the stealth aspect, and a feature that will define the game, is the “optical camouflage” ability that has been displayed prominently in all the promotions for the game. When you are moving unseen, you will be partially invisible—but only partially, and you can still be seen if you run down a brightly lit street surrounded by guards. It also has a limited power supply, so it cannot be used all the time.  In the game, the suit is considered to be a prototype, so while it will give you a significant advantage it is nowhere near infallible, nor is it something you can totally rely on.

The series also introduces controllable drones, which you can use in a variety of ways. But one of the more incredible features is the weaponsmith. The weaponsmith is to weapons customization what Gran Turismo 5’s garage is to car customization. Every piece of the weapon can be customized. Every piece. You can also allow the weaponsmith to help you to customize for certain scenarios, or just based on your preferences. If you want a special weapon for close quarters combat, the weaponsith will help you find the ideal balance. The same goes for long range or for a more balanced weapon.

The demo showed a level from the campaign in Nigeria, where your team is sent in to rescue a hostage. As you move through the streets, assigning targets for coordinated kills is essential. To do that, you simply target an enemy and press a button to mark them for a teammate. You can assign all three members to three separate targets, and they will wait for you to fire first then follow.

Moving through the streets and taking out enemies quietly, you will eventually use your cover ability to position yourself outside of an oil refinery. Using a line of sight, you can move from cover to cover quickly and efficiently to gain position thanks to this mechanic. If you like, you can move slowly and time it so that you can target each guard and take them out while the others aren’t looking. Or you can do what I did and start off by throwing several grenades at them to properly introduce myself.

The cover system is similar to many other games, but you can’t use it for long. The environments are partly destructible, and hiding behind a concrete wall will only be a good idea for a few moments. The enemy AI will also do everything it can to flank you, and barring that, they will fall back to better cover.

Once you make it to the hostage, you then begin something of a brief escort mission as the enemies converge.

The gameplay is smooth and fluid, and the futuristic tools are interesting and fun to use. Thankfully there is a balance though, which means you can’t just use the cloak throughout, you need to think your way through the game tactically.

One of the less publicized but cooler features of the campaign is that it is completely online compatible. So while you are playing through the story at your pace, you can invite your friends to join you for up to a four person co-op campaign. If a friend needs to drop out, they can easily, and the AI will take control. Ubisoft promises that jumping in and out of the campaign will be seamless.

The multiplayer was also on display, and the gametype being showed was an objective-based mission, with targets that need to be destroyed–similar to Battlefield’s rush game. The details on the multiplayer are still somewhat vague, but there will be plenty of ways to level up, multiple weapon choices, and plenty of gameplay options.

With a campaign that already looks impressive, the inclusion of the insanely intricate weapons customization and the online mode that will allow both campaign and multiplayer games makes Ghost Recon Future Soldier one of the best looking games at E3. Hopefully for the last time.

Gaming

Some ‘Fortnite’ players aren’t too happy with the new Infinity Blade weapon

The most recent update for Fortnite added the Infinity Blade melee weapon to battle royale, and some players aren't happy with how much it has changed the game during competitions.
Gaming

Everything about 'Red Dead Online', including its new microtransaction store

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.
Gaming

Trash at 'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate'? Use this guide to train up and get good

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the biggest game in the entire series, and it can be overwhelming for newcomers not used to the universe-colliding fighting game. Here's what you need to know when you're starting.
Gaming

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now, from Super Mario Odyssey to Fortnite.
Gaming

Where we droppin’ (presents)? Perfect ‘Fortnite’ gifts for the fans in your life

Chances are someone on your holiday shopping list is a fan of Fortnite. As the most popular game on the planet, there are plenty of Fortnite-themed gift options available for purchase in stores and online. Here are the best ones we found.
Gaming

Have a spooky dance party at an abandoned mansion with Fortnite's new challenges

The Fortnite season 7, week 2 challenges have arrived in Battle Royale. From searching for chests to dancing off at an abandoned mansion, here's how to do them and the rewards you get for completing them.
Gaming

Sega Genesis classics now playable on Amazon Fire TV, no retro console required

Sega released the SEGA Classics app for Amazon Fire TV devices, allowing gamers to play Sega Genesis classics without having to buy a retro console. The $15 app contains 25 games, including three remastered Sonic titles.
Deals

The Super NES Classic is the perfect holiday gift for Nintendo lovers

Whether you're a long-time Nintendo fan looking to relive the 16-bit glory days or just doing some holiday shopping, the SNES Classic -- now in stock at multiple retailers for $80 -- might just be the perfect Christmas gift for gamers of…
Computing

Turn your Raspberry Pi into a Steam streaming hub with Valve’s Steam Link app

Valve's Steam Link app is now fully supported by Raspberry PI hardware, meaning that just about anyone with a few dollars to spare can build their own Steam streaming box in a matter of minutes.
Gaming

Nintendo pulls the plug on making more SNES Classic, NES Classic systems

Nintendo extended production of the NES Classic and SNES Classic into 2018, but once the current supply of consoles is gone, the company won't be making more. Instead, you'll have to use Nintendo Switch Online.
Gaming

Fancy ‘Kingdom Hearts III’ PlayStation 4 Pro launches alongside game in January

A limited edition PlayStation 4 Pro bundle for Kingdom Hearts III will launch alongside the game in January. The system included has a special design on the side, as does the controller.
Gaming

Want to share your Xbox One games? Here's how to do it

Sharing games on modern consoles is possible, but it takes a few steps. Here's how to start sharing games on your Xbox One console, so friends and family can easily access your library.
Gaming

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in 'Destiny 2: Forsaken'

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.
Gaming

‘Fortnite’ removes the Infinity Blade weapon after player backlash

Following player backlash over the Infinity Blade weapon's inclusion in Fortnite's battle royale mode, Epic Games decided to remove the weapon from the game completely. It was not limited to a special mode.