We've been able to check out Ghost Recon: Future Soldier a few times now, with most of the attention focused on the fancy near-future technology you have at your disposal. With our latest look at Ubisoft's upcoming third-person shooter, the story was less about how to cloak yourself in light-bending active camo and more about good old-fashioned human interaction. And by that, we mean using co-op teamwork to kill lots of people.
This latest demo began in a manner that's not exactly common in tactical shooters: A dude was hanging out, jamming to some Bob Marley. But as the camera pulls out, you see he's actually a soldier relaxing during a helicopter ride to his next mission. Not too long after this, you're dropped on the ground in a third-world village that's been occupied by opposition forces. You and you squad--Future Soldier's campaign supports up to four players--have a variety of options at your disposal for dealing with these guys. In the case of this demo, the development team guiding the game took the stealthy approach.
We've talked about how Future Soldier features no shortage of slick gizmos, what with its near-future setting and all. But one gadget that you really have to see in motion to fully appreciate is the game's augmented reality heads-up display. Like a combination of Dead Space's hologram menus and Splinter Cell: Conviction's wall-plastered mission objectives, Future Soldier takes information it wants to communicate to the player and integrates it into the environment in a slick, sci-fi sort of way. Whether it's the remaining ammo count depicted as a floating ring of numbers around your gun or a simple newsreel projection giving context for the events around you, there always seems to be some information popping out of the environment.
Information one player gathers is shared with the rest of the team, which can come in awfully handy in certain situations. You can deploy a small air drone to fly above enemies to gather information about their numbers and equipment and then use that as a way to determine your method of approach. In one situation, the team came across what appeared to be a simple (if slightly polluted) river. Before the team crossed, one of the players decided to survey the river and discovered it was filled with mines. At that point, bright red icons appeared on everyone's screens to indicate that the river, which seemed so innocuous a moment ago, was actually a complete death trap.
As far as combat goes, the rest of the demo had some interesting moments, but the basic gunplay and sense of movement didn't seem too out of the ordinary. At one point, one of the players snuck up behind an enemy standing in a doorway facing in the opposite direction. He then quietly shot the enemy from a few steps away and ran up to catch the falling body before it could hit the ground with a thud. In one continuous motion, he then shoved the body in the doorway and shut the door--it was that easy. Later in the demo, the development team showed how combat works on the opposite end of the spectrum, calling in an air strike deploying a thermobaric blast that practically disintegrated the enemy helicopters circling overhead.
One feature that we didn't get to see in motion but Ubisoft was sure to call out was the gun customization system. This feature, called gunsmith, lets you disassemble and configure your weapons with a fairly impressive number of attachments. The math goes something like this: You can choose from 52 guns and customize them with 49 different attachments. We're no mathematicians, but that would seem to suggest a pretty large number of possible configurations. Again, we didn't get to see it in action and can't really say how much of an impact these 49 attachments can have, but it certainly sounds like an interesting feature. We'll be sure to let you know more the next time we see Future Soldier in action.