Ghost Recon Future Soldier: Squad Gameplay
Written by Team Brannen
It’s a tough market for third-person cover based shooting games these days, with the massive franchises such as Gears of War and Mass Effect clogging up the airwaves with their polish and perfection. Yet Ubisoft managed to squeeze itself into the minds of gamers with the alluring promises of 6v6 multiplayer and Guerrilla co-op modes, I am here to tell you that Ubisoft made good on those vows.
The co-op offerings come in the form of four player campaign sessions and a wave based co-op mode named Guerrilla mode. Campaign co-op is pretty standard as friends or online players fill the spots of the three squad mates occupied by the AI in single player, it makes it a lot easier to line up sync-shots but as a whole it’s not any different from the single player campaign. Guerrilla mode features four players in a map area holding out against waves of AI controlled enemies. To start out the players must take over an enemy HQ and set up shop and this location moves every 10th wave to keep the players moving. In between cutting down swaths of enemy forces the players have access to new weapons dropped by allied forces and increasingly powerful “wave-streaks” which offer a support event at the player’s disposal. These range from a radar scan to sentry gun deployments and they can become even more powerful if they are not used immediately. It’s a pretty standard fare wave-based mode that requires a lot of patience and communication for it to be much fun, Ubisoft doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel and as a result it is thoroughly unremarkable.
The multiplayer breaks down into three different classes for the players to choose between
- The Rifleman handles the ammo distribution and uses heavier weapons like Assault Rifles and LMGs
- The Engineer uses advanced equipment to find and kill the enemies with things like sensor grenades, UAV, UCAV, sentry guns, and jammers.
- The Scout uses Sniper Rifles and Sub-Machine guns along with a cloaking system to get behind enemies and cause havoc.
I solely focused on the engineer as my first class and the first thing I discovered was that the weapons were awful. Trying to use a Goblin to hit a target further than twenty meters out is a futile practice. It isn’t until the last weapon unlocks that the engineer gets a weapon that enables offensive production, I was stuck scavenging weapons to avoid using the pithy weapons provided. The upside to the engineer is the ability to reveal the location of the enemies either by using sensor grenades or the omnipresent UAV; the engineer can hang back and gather up those Intel assists. Later on with the decision points between the sentry and the UCAV it really comes down to the play style of the individual user, the UCAV can act as a recon that drops grenades and harasses enemies out of cover while the sentry is best used on the front lines to cover multiple angles. I prefer using the SA58 OSW/Mk17 and the sentry gun to up the offensive capabilities and wade into the battle.
The scout has less customization options, because the only real choices to be made are what ammo type to use and whether or not to grab the camo upgrade. The calling card of the scout class is the camouflage that engages when the user is still and the upgrade allows the player to move around slowly while still engaged in camouflage. This sounds great in theory but from my observations it really isn’t difficult to pick out someone who is hidden. Even when players are still, the environment refracts light onto the camo, which gives it a distinctive look that is easy to pick out and moving around just makes it even easier to see. In my opinion, the real strength of the scout class lies with the claymores, specifically the shock claymore. With this devious creation it is possible to stun opponents who cross its path and leave them incapacitated for 10-15 seconds. While they are unable to move they are susceptible to being hacked and revealing the positions of all enemy players, even if they are not hacked they are still unable to move and can be killed. The scout class gets two of these and I prefer them over the standard claymore because instead of outright killing an enemy and giving them a chance to respawn, it eliminates them from doing anything at all unless they are revived by a teammate.
The rifleman does exactly what the name implies, he uses rifles. This class has the highest potential for directly eliminating enemy players, with ammo packs, weapons, and grenades you can come out on top of most firefights. While using LMGs, it is possible to trigger suppression which causes the enemies screen to shake and for that player to lose accuracy when returning fire. It is quite a powerful effect and it pretty much pins other players to their cover. Being the only class that has grenades is also fun, as a well thrown grenade can knock a player off of an objective or from behind cover and the incendiary grenade is great for preventing access to an area or objective. Unfortunately these are the only abilities a rifleman has, there isn’t much in the way of gadgets or gear so the only thing to look forward to is weapon unlocks which comes down to personal preference.
The game modes are spread out between many different objective styled modes; there is no true team deathmatch to fall back on here. I favor Conflict because it features objective play with a healthy dose of firefights, in order to capture objectives it is necessary to hold off and seek out the enemies to prevent them from doing the same to you. Others may prefer the single-life modes like Stockade or Siege but they mirror search and destroy where one side ends up dead without having come close to planting an objective.
As a whole, the multiplayer scene in Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is a mixed bag. On one hand there are the multiple class variations and varied game modes that make the game worth playing but on the other hand there is an online pass and what could best be described as poor server support. It is not uncommon to lose connection to a game or have the host leave the session and all progress is lost, the game has been out for a while and these problems have persisted since launch. There is also the matter of the player base, from my observations far too many players never venture beyond the spawn and use their sniper rifles to do a whole lot of nothing. There are never enough people playing the objective and that is the main reason I joined up with the Legion of Honor, to find others who know how to play the game.