On the battlefield of tomorrow, many technological advancements will reign over the combatants. From mini-gun armed drones armored like tanks, to thermographic goggles and electro-magnetic pulse grenades, or optical camouflage which utilizes nano-fibers woven into the soldier’s uniform to white-wash him from view; tomorrows’ soldiers will wield that which only science fiction has fathomed. They might even have an exo-skeleton which helps them carry the enormous volume of gear in their possession.
Yet for the first-person shooter enthusiast, this relatively close future won’t be as distant once Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier releases in March 2011.
Adding to the well established franchise, Ubisoft with the help from (though not endorsed by) the military will offer players these technologies and more.
Though the Ubisoft staff wouldn’t tell me if the exo-skeleton is a mere novelty for the eyes or a system that will make players jump higher, run faster, and punch harder; their reluctance to release that information is tantalizing to the imagination.
However, Ubisoft spent a fair portion of the demo for Future Soldier explaining the game’s most menacing marvel; optical camouflage. Although it will be battery powered (similar to how the nanosuit in Crysis operated), players will be able to walk past just about anything while under optical camo. Despite thermographic goggles which will see through the camo, or the possibility of EMP grenades rendering your camo useless for a short time; optical camo in Future Soldier will be pivotal to Ghost Recon’s traditional game play loop of, “observe, plan, attack.” For if at first you don’t succeed, cloak and try again. In fact, engage a little closer this time, Ubisoft wants you to.
Fans of Advanced Warfighter will also have a wish granted in Future Soldier. When the Cross-com overlay first appeared in Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, the 2D-overlay was precariously positioned in the top corner of the screen. Now, with the advent of 3D technologies, the Cross-com in Future Soldier is a 3D-overlay centered on the screen providing players with better “situational awareness.”
Despite the leaps in gear that will be found in Future Soldier, the physics have also progressed to a new level of awesome. Blood drips, it also splatters, which though graphic, looks amazing. Cover is fully destructible, forcing players to constantly move around the battlefield instead of hunkering down behind the biggest object while picking off the enemy as they expose themselves. And when a drone sporting a mini-gun has you caught dead to rights behind a concrete facade, you better move quickly for that facade won’t last long.
The AI has received improvements from the previous Ghost Recon as well. Though changing a mission’s objective on-the-fly is a staple of the Ghost’s protocol, your computer-generated comrades will take these opportunities as soon as the intelligence is received. In the demo, the Ghosts were tasked with observing a possible ambush. While on the mission, a high valued target was identified and the mission changed from observation to extraction. However, the target had friends of his own. Pitted against three bodyguards, the squad leader ordered the player to bag the target while the three computer-generated friends synchronously shot the three bodyguards. Within the blink of an eye the three bodyguards dropped as if on cue, giving the player his chance to capture the target.
Although Ubisoft didn’t discuss what multiplayer game modes will be offered, they did mention Future Soldier will have four player co-op.
With jaw-dropping detail, 12 unique melee take-downs, drones with guns, a new rifle dubbed the MRB (modular-rifle bullpup), optical camouflage, and a score of emerging technologies, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is going to be a hair-raising hell-ride for any first-person shooter enthusiast.
Future Soldier will release on the PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PSP, and Wii. Though Ubisoft mentioned they focused more resources on the PC version, the console versions will have common feature sets.