E3 2011: Ghost Recon Future Soldier

By Xav de Matos, Jun 07, 2011 11:00am PDT

QUICKTAKE: Ghost Recon Future Solider has a slick, distinctive style to it. While tactical strategies still exist, fans of the series might be perturbed by the heavy action focus of the E3 demo.

THE DEMO: At a Microsoft party last night, the Ghost Recon: Future Solider demo was set up for single-player and co-op. The room was insanely loud, so I decided to stick to single-player. The demo was the same featured during Ubisoft's conference: the Ghosts infiltrate a village in Nigeria to find and extract a captured VIP.

DETAILS: There was a distinctive, pale haze to the world in Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, as if everything was covered by a thin layer of dust kicked up by the waging war. Ghost Recon: Future Solider is distinctive in a new way. Text pops up throughout the world, giving the Ghosts information on their surroundings at all times. I was worried that, because it appears to be randomly bleeding out of geometry, it would be distracting and nonsensical. There's certainly a little of that, but a lot of the information provided did help me make informed decisions about my next moves.

Unfortunately, most of those 'next moves' usually involved sprinting from one piece of cover to another. Was this demo used to show off some of the more action-focused aspects of Future Soldier, or is the franchise heading in that direction? The demo did feature a set-up moment for me and my three, AI controlled Ghost members to line up enemies to kill at the same time, but it was very intentionally designed. I didn't have other flanking options, and the game automatically activated my active camo ability to get things lined up. There wasn't a single moment where I felt like I had discovered a tactical way to dispatch enemies. They were just the next few that the linear level put in my way.

But, this is a small slice of a bigger game. It's impossible to gauge what the final experience will be from a vertical slice and having no representative near the game to answer my questions. Thinking back to the original concept trailer for the game and playing the demo raises a handful of questions, for example. Other than a fancy UI and insanely speedy soldiers, there doesn't seem to be anything particularly "Future" about these Ghosts. I'm hoping we get a taste of some of the tech that made Ubisoft select that moniker for this installment in the franchise.

There were bugs during my demo--which does happen during pre-release previews--but there's also promise. There are seeds of some great ideas in the design of the game, I just wish I was able to see some more of what makes this franchise different rather than just another gunfight.

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