Our second look at Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, a year after it was first revealed, shows a much-changed, much more tech-heavy, augmented-reality shooter than what we remember seeing in 2010.
The game's setting remains firmly planted in the shadow wars of the "near future," though the spectacular tech of what Ubi insists is coming soon, continues to grow in sophistication.
In 2010, near future meant that the game gave your soldiers active camo that essentially turned them invisible when they stopped moving. Now the mostly third-person shooter soldiers view the world through a dazzling array of augmented reality filters that do everything from deliver details on the current weapon, to highlight danger areas on a battlefield.
The Future Soldier I saw in action portrayed each weapon with a floating circle around it, a sort of halo that delivered pertinent information to players. The perspective also displayed the word "minefield" floating over the danger in the game off in the distance.
Near future, according to Ubisoft's game, will include a tiny remote control vehicle that a soldier can control remotely to spy on enemies. The vehicle can either roll on wheels or sprout blades like a mini-helicopter and hover around the battlefield. Soldiers can rely on a "magnetic" view that detects enemies and share that info live with their teammates. They can also launch guided thermobaric missiles.
The game can be played with three buddies, or with artificial intelligence guiding some or all of your team mates. Coordination between those teammates will be very important. We were told.
They call it collaborative combat, something that the developer think will fill a void left by other popular first and third-person shooters.
The game will also lean very heavily on customizable weapons. The number of weapons in the game exceeds 50, the amount of attachments for each approaches that number. Players can go in and act as gunsmith between levels, tweaking everything from the trigger and gas system to the barrel and attachments. The Adaptive Combat Rifle alone, we were told, has one million versions, thanks to this bounty of customization options.
Multiplayer, we were shown, has some neat twists too. You can, for instance, mug other players. This allows you to take "intel" about the other team from a player, giving you a temporary advantage, like learning the location of drop weapons on a map.
In practice, the game and its array of options and augmented reality screen-fillers can become a bit much. Perhaps it was our brief time with the game, but the multiplayer seemed hampered, not helped by all of those ideas coming together.
I'm hoping things coalesce a bit more as the developers continue to work on the game's polish.