I was invited to attend a recent press event for ‘Ghost Recon: Future Soldier’ which included, among info on other exciting features, a first-hand look at the multiplayer. In case you’re wondering, it’s even better than the video makes it out to be.
Multiplayer pits two teams of 6 against each other in one of four game types: Conflict, Decoy, Saboteur, and Siege. There’s also the obligatory ‘Horde’ mode (with a twist) called Guerrilla. Ten maps will be available shipped with the game. Gametypes are largely team and objective based, so don’t expect anything akin to vanilla deathmatch. The gametypes are as follows:
In Conflict, multiple objectives pop up on the map one after the other as the two teams fight to capture, defend, or destroy them. A typical match might start with both teams trying to, say, secure a data probe, followed by the victor trying to activate an EMP bomb while the loser tries to prevent that action, ect. This continues until the time limit expires. Most objectives captured at the end of the round wins. In the event of a tie, kills serve as the tie breaker. This gametype lasts for one round.
In Decoy, one team tries to defend three objective sites from the attacking team. In an interesting twist, only one of the objectives is the actual true objective, with the other two acting as decoys, hence the gametype name. Also, neither team knows which objective is the true one. If the true objective is discovered by the attacking team, a final objective opens up for them to complete. A round ends if either the defending team runs the clock down or the attacking team completes the final objective. This gametype lasts for best two out of three rounds.
Both teams try to capture a bomb case that spawns in the center of the map and deliver it to the enemy’s base. If a player picks up the bomb, they lose mobility and are restricted to their side arm, but gain unique bombcase melee takedowns. It’s highly advised that the other players escort the bomb carrier to their objective. If time runs out, the round ends in a tie. This gametype lasts for best two out of three rounds.
Siege is essentially Search and Destroy. One team attacks while the defending team tries to protect two bomb sites. There are no respawns, and a team wins if they kill the entire enemy team, manage to set off one of the bombs (attackers), or run the clock down before a bomb can be set off (defenders). This gametype lasts for the best two out of three rounds.
Guerrilla pits a squad of 4 against increasingly difficult waves of enemies and vehicles. Subsequently successful rounds lead to the players being awarded with support actions, from UAV coverage to airstrikes. The twist mentioned earlier is that every ten rounds or so a new position is highlighted on the map. The players have to capture and hold that position against enemies. If any enemy units occupy the space for a short period of time, the round is lost despite how many players are still alive. This mode lasts to 50 rounds.
Character selection is class-based, and each character can be customized with unlockable head gear. Each class has access to unique weapons and special abilities that suit all manner of playstyles. The two factions, the Ghosts and the Bodarks, have faction specific weaponry: the Ghosts favor NATO firearms (higher accuracy, lower damage) while the Bodarks stick to Russian, Eastern European, and Chinese weaponry (lower accuracy, higher damage). It’s also worth mentioning that unlike many other recent games, characters can only take a few bullets before dying (and while there is the presence of regenerating health, it’s extremely slow), so proper use of cover and teamwork is essential in winning most matches. The classes available are:
Unique ability: Chest Armor – allows you to take a bit more punishment from torso shots.
True to his name, the Rifleman class can wield assault rifles. Additionally, they can also wield LMGs, which can suppress the enemy. While suppressed, a player’s screen narrows and darkens, and they lose the ability to attack at all unless they move out of the line of fire, making them extremely vulnerable to flanking maneuvers. Standard thrown equipment is grenades. They can also unlock a medic kit that allows them to revive incapacitated allies.
Unique ability: Active Camo – allows the user to become partially invisible while practicing low mobility.
The Scout wields sniper rifles and, for those who are more CQB inclined, PDWs and SMGs. The active camo automatically kicks in when the player stays still or is slowly moving. It is especially helpful for concealing your position from a distance or in thick vegetation (camping). An equipment upgrade unlocked later on can further improve the camouflage to a level of near complete invisibility. Standard thrown equipment is flashbangs.
Unique ability: Scope Detector – this lets the player know if an enemy is sighting in on them with a scoped rifle via a sound indication.
The Engineer wields personal defense rifles, carbines, and shotguns. Can choose to equip several types of drones, including a man-portable UAV and sentry gun. Standard thrown equipment is motion detectors.
New equipment and weaponry is unlocked through level progression. In an interesting twist, at unlock milestones, the player often has to choose between one of two rewards. For example, at level 20, an engineer may have the option to unlock either a drone or a movement sensor, and can only have one through the rest of their class progression. At every level up, the player also earns a Gunsmith token for each faction that they can use to modify any weapon of their choosing. Any spent Gunsmith tokens spent are exclusive to that part and weapon only. As an example, if the player chooses to purchase an AFG for their ACR, then the AFG is unlocked for the ACR only, and can’t be used on the other Ghost weapons.
There is a way to reset which choices the player selected, however. In lieu of a “prestige” option, where the player resets all their unlocks and starts again from level 1, they earn a token at level 50 that allows them to respec their character. Additionally, an additional class slot is unlocked and the player can choose one Bodark weapon for a Ghost to use and vice versa.
Multiplayer features tons of unlockables and the gameplay is of a well-paced variety that caters better to teamwork than rushers, so it might not hurt to get a party together instead of playing with randoms. Despite this, it’s definitely one of the better designed multiplayer games I’ve played in recent memory. I’m eagerly awaiting the game’s release so I can give it another go [and maybe beat another player’s head in with a bomb case after flashbulbing them like the first time I played Saboteur; good times].
‘Ghost Recon: Future Soldier’ drops May 22, 2012 (June 12, 2012 for PC).