Hands on with Ghost Recon: Future Soldier with help from Pierre de Margerie

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Over the past weekend I was given the chance to sit down with Pierre de Margerie who is in charge of the 3C team for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.

The 3C team works with characters, camera and controls and co-ordinates the animation of the characters and how we see the game.

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is being released in March 2012 and is the sequel to the critically acclaimed and successful Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 (ignoring the 3DS title in the middle) and is set in the near future where you take charge of an advanced squadron, The Ghosts, and have been charged with taking down an ultra-nationalist force that has taken control of Russia and are now invading other countries.

The 4 man squad is made up of commando, sniper, recon and an engineer and you’re going to need all 4 abilities to make it through the entire game.

The single player campaign is spread over 30 missions that will take you cross the world from Russia to Namibia to Zaire and into Europe. Unfortunately they’re not visiting South Africa in the game but as usual we do get a look in as the bad guys with a bunch of South African mercenaries being present in the game.

The single player campaign is expected to last 10-12 hours or longer depending on your difficulty level and abilities.

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I played some of the single player campaign at rAge and had to rescue a hostage from the opposition who had him heavily secured. As I approached the base I tagged  3 enemies and my team took up their firing line and then when I had picked up my target I was notified we were all ready and then all hell breaks loose. We took out the 4 targeted people instantly and then started going for the rest.

We very quickly came under heavy suppressive fire from a machine gunner in a tower which had us all pinned down. The cover around me was disintegrating fast so using the games inbuilt squad abilities I ordered my squad to concentrate fire on the heavy gunner as I moved around the side to take my shot. Before I reached my intended destination though they managed to take him out and had started concentrating fire on the remaining forces again.

From my new found position on the side of the battlefield I was able to overwhelm the opposition quite quickly and move in to grab the hostage, at this point the game seamlessly transformed into an ingame cut scene, this blew me away as there was absolutely no lagging or loading and the way the camera panned around into a cut scene was just fantastic.

After this the game took me into a strange on rails sequence where I was attempting to rush the hostage out of the base while reinforcements arrived. I couldn’t control where I was going and could only aim at the oncoming soldiers and hope to take them all out before I got hit.

It’s a novel approach and one that is truly entertaining as long as it doesn’t happen too often in the final game, which by the way will be fully enabled with drop-in drop-out 4 co-op.

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After that we got chatting about the 8v8 multiplayer which isn’t your standard deathmatch but rather is objective based multiplayer. There are objectives on the maps that you need to achieve while holding off the opposing side from achieving the same objectives.

However the multi-player section of Ghost Recon is far more tactical than most other games out there and you’re going to need to use your equipment such as your drone or sensor grenades to get the extra hand.

The drone is basically a mini-helicopter (similar to the Parrot A.R. Drone) which you can control in the game to get a birds eye view of the battlefield and mark enemies out so that your team mates can get the upper hand. Just be careful as you are completely helpless while the drone is in the air.

In the beginning the drone is unarmed but as you progress through the ranks in multiplayer you can upgrade your equipment with one of the upgrades being to add missiles to your drone to rain death from above.

One of the defining themes throughout the game is the tactical use of cover. Pierre was insistent that the cover system in Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is going to be the best cover system out of any games on the market and that it will be super reactive and fluid so as not to obstruct your movement.

My short time with the game did little to disprove that and one of the nice upgrades that they have made to the cover system is the ability to quickly move between cover. While under cover you can look at a piece of cover that is close to you and a small blue triangle will appear if you can rush to it, at this point you hold A and your guy will do his best to get to cover without being taken down.

Think of the ability to switch cover in Gears but over longer distances and with more options.

And lastly we touched on the Kinect integration in Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. If you haven’t yet seen the video’s about GunSmith then watch this now.

This isn’t just some gadget added in however, the customisation of your weapons was flagged by their special forces consultant as something that is vital to the success of any special forces team. In fact the weapons are so customisable that there are apparently over 20 million viable combinations (including paint) and don’t worry you can’t break a gun with your customisation.

The Kinect integration here is obviously not required and you could do all of this using the controller but isn’t it cool… which is the only real point. However you will be pleased to note that you cannot play the game using Kinect so nothing is being dumbed down to cater for the natural lag and loss of accuracy that shooting with Kinect would result in.

After our quick chat I got to try out some multiplayer action as well and while I started running and gunning I quickly realised that was a losing tactic and then switched to using cover, throwing sensor grenades and dominating the opposition who didn’t seem to realise that your accuracy is greatly improved if you drop down onto your knee while engaging in combat.

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All in all my time with Ghost Recon: Future Soldier was a real eye opener, I wasn’t overly excited about this game before now but after trying out the single player I was convinced that I will be picking up a copy of this game. It’s something different to the standard shooters out there and is incredibly enjoyable.

And then after trying out the multiplayer I decided I need to spread the word about the game as it’s just incredibly entertaining. I oddly felt like it was a mix between Call of Duty and Gears of War and that is pretty much exactly where my gaming tastes lie.

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is being released on all major platforms in March 2012 and while Pierre told me there isn’t any beta planned I did find a few references to a beta coming in January 2012 so we’ll keep you updated on that.

I’d like to thank Ubisoft South Africa and Pierre de Margerie for their time and the experience.

Last Updated: October 6, 2011

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