Ghost Recon: Future Soldier PS3 preview
Why should you care about another modern shooter? It’s a tough question, and one we’re not sure Ghost Recon: Future Soldier can answer convincingly, even if Jeremy Paxman were giving it a grilling. Some of its environments look ominously COD-like, and those are big toes to step on. But under the generic visuals lies the ace up Future Soldier’s sleeve: deadly gadgets and gizmos galore. Basically, this is Sam Fisher doing Modern Warfare.
Take the drone – hitting down on the D-pad sends a camera-cum-chopper into the air and switches the view to an infra-red tracking cam. Scouting around with it gives you a drone’s-eye view of how many men you’re about to silently kill, and you can even mark them up for your team-mates to take aim at.
Or, if you’re feeling particularly unprofessional, just swoop the thing right into someone’s face and provide them with one of the more surreal moments of their (soon to be over) life. Once a group of up to four enemies has been marked for death by targeting them and tapping R1, holding it down tells your squadmates to take aim and fire in unison, prompting a slo-mo slaughter sequence and no small amount of satisfaction.
The Splinter Cell parallels don’t end there. They’re evident in everything from the 3D UI and stealth-kill animations, to the radar grenade that flags up foes from behind walls. Stay hidden for a few seconds and your optical camo engages – that’s right, you’re freaking invisible.
Unlike Tom Clancy’s other franchise, though, there’s also an emphasis on teamwork – and not just in marking targets for your buddies to shoot, either. If you’re pinned down by enemy fire, the camera starts going haywire to indicate that you’re suppressed. To escape, you need to get your squad to suppress the foes in turn.
When you’re Oscar Mike with your four-man squad, the third-person view brings a sense of physicality to the game. Your Ghost performs rolls, dives and dodges that’d have you scrabbling for the Nurofen if you tried them for real. Ubisoft has captured every scuttle and backwards roll of real-life spec ops soldiers down to the finest detail, and it shows.
But when it’s time to take aim and make various future terrorists dance, the view switches to a zoomed-in over-shoulder perspective that lets you forget you’re playing a third-person game altogether. A good thing, when there’s shooting to be done. The COD comparisons will be drawn, thanks to its levels in South American favelas and Middle Eastern streets, but we think the gadgets and open environments can propel Future Soldier above also-ran status.