Preview

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Preview (PC)

In the five years since Ghost Recon last made a console appearance, a lot of things have changed. The rivalry between Call of Duty and Battlefield has gotten so intense, Tom Clancy's strategic series may have left the minds of many. After playing through a handful of single-player missions, and some co-op, it seems the Ghosts are looking to make up for lost time.

It's immediately clear that Ubisoft has handled this title with extreme care. Ghost Recon has always stood out as a perfectionist amongst a market that places an emphasis on ceaseless shoot-outs. You won't find endless goons here, just groups of enemies that are primed and prepped for your extermination. To put it simply, Future Soldier is going to rewire the way you play.

Being out in the open is not a good idea

Hopping into my first mission, I was tasked with entering an African labour camp. After a typically inspiring cut-scene took place, my squad's objectives became clear. We snuck into battle like a Black Widow in your lunchtime banana, ready to eliminate the hosts with a biting attack.

Interestingly, a fault in the camouflage system brought us under increased pressure. Although safe in cover, when the Ghosts run or stand upright, they might as well have a 'SHOOT ME' sign pointing to their craniums. Anyone who has played the multiplayer beta will have seen a fully functional camo system in place (under the Scout class), so expect to witness some revolutionary tech during the course of the campaign. It's refreshing to have a game that doesn't hand you the goods from the get-go, placing an importance on quick-thinking and precision over an insane amount of fire-power.

Sat atop a hill outside the camp, the first manoeuvre begins. Four enemy soldiers are hassling our contact down below, suspicious that he's leaking information away from his so-called allies. Scoping the area, each individual enemy is marked for execution. Not only does your team announce when they're ready to shoot, you'll be able to see exactly where their guns are aiming. By unleashing the first bullet, your squad follows by taking out their specific target. Just like that, four opponents hit the floor. The contact ushers us his way, as we prepare to enter the camp.

Once inside, the slickness of Future Soldier flaunts itself. Moving from cover is seamless, allowing you to react quickly when a dangerous situation arises. Your teammates wont always act hastily, but when they do move it's usually with a hint of insight. Sitting back for a while, it's possible to see their thoughts in motion. Often you'll have to take the initiative by popping off the first bullet, but you can do so in confidence that your pals are watching with interest.

For those lucky enough to get on the multiplayer beta, the importance of team work is already proving vital to success. This is a game of methodically plotted moves, not run and gun tactics. Lone-wolves may as well go home, as without the input of your team, the only impact you'll have is face against floor. The levels on offer are hugely dynamic, allowing snipers to dwell on the perimeters and riflemen to slug it out in the middle. Every step feels like it could end up with a bullet to the chest, a factor that ensures you'll take extra care when planning an assault.

UAV's are your road to success, providing data when the eye fails

Co-op fans should also be excited, as plenty of multiplayer missions are tailored towards your needs. These aren't particularly original, but they're certainly fun. Groups of players are forced to defend bases and secure objectives when under fire, the kind of situation that provides a good ol' laugh in the right company.

With some tinkering time left, Ghost Recon looks to be in fine form. While many things have changed in its absence, Ubisoft's confidence and assertion of its own formula is impressive. Like the rest of the series, a touch of professionalism underlines a product of real quality. Right now, colour me (transparently) excited.

Top Gaming Moment: I want ghost camo right now.

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