Gamescom 2011: Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Co-Op Preview – Catch That Plane!
Written Tuesday, August 23, 2011 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Like a crack military team, Ubisoft Paris is straight into the action from the very moment we venture behind closed doors to take a look at the latest demo of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. This time, we're looking at the game's co-op mode, which supports up to four-players able to drop-in and drop-out with the whip-smart AI assuming control of any players absent from the four-man squad. With two-players controlled by the dev team via system link, the segment of gameplay we're shown is from the first phase of the game set during the Shadow Wars, in the middle of an inhospitable desert in Zambia where the Ghosts enter the area cloaked and ready to pounce.
Their mission is to obtain the black box from a plane stationed on the runway behind a small facility inhabited by mercenaries selling weapons on the black market. The objective is to seize the plane and gain evidence against those responsible for flogging the guns to a notorious warlord, which involves first securing the airstrip. Remaining hidden, the Ghosts send in their AR drone to scope out the area, letting it glide in for an aerial view then deploy its wheels for a more covert and up-close look at the area. Using the drone, you're able to mark up enemies to keep tabs on their positions and then plan your strategy going in.
Splitting up, the team co-ordinate a simultaneous four-pronged attack that sees all four marked targets being quietly dispatched with a silenced bullet apiece to remain undetected, before making their way from cover-to-cover, infiltrating the wooden huts surrounding the airstrip. Passing the threshold into the main area, the squad find the plane and decide to go loud, de-cloaking and shooting snipers positioned in high nests looking into the facility. With the Ghosts rumbled, the plane – which is something like a futuristic version of the C-130 Hercules - starts up its engines and starts taxiing down the runway, amping up the urgency as your objective demands you stopping the plane at all costs.
Using Future Soldier's augmented reality HUD, the plane's left engine is marked as a weak point to target, so as the aircraft gains speed down the airstrip, the squad focuses their collective fire on the propeller causing it to erupt in a cloud of billowing smoke, which trails and mixes into the desert sand being kicked up as the plane tears forward. Undeterred by a damaged engine, the aircraft still takes off, carving a white contrail through the air before rapidly dropping in a sweeping arc nose-first into the ground. Hot-footing it to the crash site, a swirling sandstorm obscures the way ahead until the Ghosts switch on their heat vision, holding up a hand in front of their faces as they brave the massive billowing cloud of sand and debris.
Yellowy-red heat signature figures emerge from the tornado stumbling and confused, only to be cut down by gunfire as the squad closes in on the plane wreckage to extract the black box and complete their mission, which is where the demo concludes. As presentations go, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier's Gamescom showing was somewhat brief, but had all of the key ingredients to convince us that Ubisoft is really pulling out all the stops for this one. With support for 4-player online co-op and competitive 4v4 multiplayer, Future Soldier ought to be the most comprehensive Ghost Recon yet, especially when you factor in all of the weapon customisation functionality too.
Demonstrated using the controller, those without Kinect will still be able to break apart weapons and clip them back together with an array of scopes, extended magazines, muzzles and other rifle accoutrements to make your weaponry almost unique. There's also elements of Future Soldier being kept under wraps, as we spied a 'Counter Insurgency' option on the main menu screen that hasn't even been announced yet. Asking what exactly Counter Insurgency is, Ubisoft remained tight-lipped, answering with a cagey “that's a good question...” and nothing more.
We also probed as to whether there will be split-screen multiplayer in the game, only to receive a similarly cagey response from the developers in attendance for our presentation. Could it be that there's more modes and split-screen support still to be confirmed? From our light sleuthing during the demo, that could well be the case, which would add immeasurably to the depth of options and features on offer.
Given the numerous delays, it's heartening to see that Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is shaping up nicely with a healthy dose of realism rubbing shoulders with some of the more outlandish future technology that the franchise is famed for. It looks tight, visually accomplished and deeply intriguing, with multiplayer that should be a worthwhile addition alongside the obligatory Clancy-fied story-driven campaign. Hopefully, the long wait for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier will have been worth it, and judging on by this latest showing, it should be.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier will be deployed in March 2012.