Lone wolves can rule the day in games like Call of Duty and Halo. In Battlefield, while you can do just fine on your own, working with your squad helps you not only to win the day, but also to rack up the points. In Ghost Recon: Future Soldier; teamwork is a must. In my brief time with the multiplayer beta, the one thing I’ve learned is if you don’t work with your team, you don’t have much of a chance of survival, let alone of winning. The game has a more methodical, tactical, thoughtful pace where coordinating attacks produce better results than going in guns blazing. That may turn off some shooter fans, but for others, this tactical, strategic approach is a refreshing change from the chaos and mayhem of the call of duty battlefield.
The beta has two multiplayer modes. The first is called Conflict, and it plays out kind of like conquest mode but with randomly spawning objectives. Get to the objective first and secure to help your team score points. Getting proper cover from a sniper while approaching with the heavy weapons on the ground is a big help with this mode. The other mode is Sabotage, which plays out like capture the flag. Secure a bomb and take it to the opponents base and detonate it. Easier said than done. Covering fire and keeping track of the enemy’s movements via sensors and UAVs helps a lot in this mode. Again, both are more methodical and yes, even a bit slower than in today’s most popular shooters, but I enjoyed the change of pace. However, it was also much more challenging. Going in with a Battlefield mindset on how to do things often resulted in my immediate death. Careful cooperation with my team yielded better results.
The two maps feature one area that’s a tight, industrial complex and another that’s more of an open, mountain-side setting. Both areas open themselves up to different types of tactics and approaches, which keep the matches interesting. Learning the bottle-neck points and the lesser used routes to cross these maps is essential for success. If you can figure out places to pin your enemy, especially in Sabotage, they’re going to have a very tough time.
Adding to the different pace of the game is the need for cover. I’ve really enjoyed the cover system thus far in GR. Getting in and out of cover is a breeze, and if you look toward other cover nearby, you can easily sprint into it with the press of a button. In fact, this system of going from cover to cover while putting down suppressing fire on an objective is a big part of success in this game. Fortunately, the cover system works really well, giving the game a slight Gears of War feel with it’s third-person perspective and the need to go cover to cover. Less enjoyable is aiming, at least for me it was. You can zoom in using the left trigger, but click the right stick and you’ll go into first person mode with the iron sights. I’ve had trouble juggling between the two and figuring out how best to use them, but perhaps that will come with time.
As is standard in today’s shooters, you can customize your load-out as you earn XP and unlock new gear. The gadgets in GR will prove to be rather useful, I think, as I learn how best to use them. The weapons are pretty standard fare for these types of shooters, and I’m sure I’ll discover many of the better ones with extended time with the actual game.
All in all, I’ve enjoyed the multiplayer beta immensely. I like the change of pace and the need to coordinate with teammates in order to truly achieve success. The covers system works great, gadgets when used properly can be a big help, and being smart and tactical (doing things like flanking the enemy, using suppressing fire to cover teammate, etc.) is a lot fun from the typically run-and-gun fare. It may be methodical and more thoughtful, but that doesn’t make the gameplay any less intense or exciting. Ghost Recon: Future Soldier has some solid ideas in place to help set it apart from the crowded shooter genre. It’s one you may want to put on your radar before it sneaks up on you later this month.