With the latest iteration of the Tom Clancy Splinter Cell series came an invitation to beta test the upcoming Ghost Recon Future Soldier multiplayer. After a few delays, fans of the third person military shooter were able to get their hands on two maps and two game modes. I invested a great deal of time into the beta trying out all the different equipment choices and classes, so here is some beta information and recap along with my impressions.
Conflict – Teams will fight over different objectives placed around the map for points, the team with the most points at the end of the round wins. Objectives range from planting explosives on EMP generators, escorting high value target teammates to upload intel, and controlling resupply containers.
Saboteur – Placed in the center of the map will be a briefcase explosive that teams will have to take control of transport and detonate at the enemy base. Team to detonate the bomb first wins, but if the bomb is not detonated, teamwork actions are scored as a tiebreaker.
Scout – Designated the sniper class, these masters of the shadows and cover are a vital threat to those trying to take objectives or caught too long leaving themselves exposed. While this class is based on long distance engagements the scout can move quickly and fast attack unsuspecting enemies with submachine guns. By default the scout has optical camouflage that will activate when standing still, crouched, or in cover. This ability will turn them invisible to UAV, thermal scopes, weapon scanners, and in general harder to see on the battlefield. The optical camouflage will disengage when shot, suppressed, moving quickly, or when firing.
Engineer – The engineer is the intel based class that provides support for the team and has close combat weapons such as shotguns and small machine guns. As an engineer players will have to pick and choose battles against rifleman and scouts, but have a small advantage as the engineer’s scope detector will provide a warning when enemies are scoped in and aiming at them . The engineer has many different tools to help teammates identify enemies with sensor grenades that provide an area detection of enemies and equipment. The two equipment advantages the engineer has is the field computer that allows taking of objectives faster and data hacks against the enemy team and the UAV that can provide intel on enemies from the sky above.
Rifleman – The rifleman’s improved armor, assault weapons, and light machine guns make them the first to fight for objectives and ability to control the battlefield with power. The rifleman class is the only class that can provide suppressing fire against the enemy with the light machine guns that will temporarily not allow the enemy to aim or shoot, requiring them to either stand their ground or fall back. This class is essential to providing ammo and equipment refills with the unlocked ammo box.
The number one thing that players should prioritize is that providing intel on the enemy location is really essential to controlling the map and being able to capture the objectives without resistance. Intel can be provided by multiple ways in the game that include the engineer’s sensor grenades and UAVs, verbal communication, the ultimate intel feat will be the data hack, a data hack happens when an opponent is stunned from a stun gun, stun rounds, or incapacitated from bullet damage. Players can go over to the downed opponent and press and hold X and a progress bar will show up, but be quick as you will be highlighted on the screen as you try and accomplish the hack so have teammates cover you. With a successful data hack it will indicate all of the enemies location on the screen by highlighting them red, and finally players can indicate an area of interest by placing a marker with the Right Bumper.
The game also features a confidence booster system which encourages teamwork by increasing the speed of taking objectives based on the number of players in the area and will also give you more points towards leveling up. If only one player is taking the objective it will be slow, but for every teammate near the objective it will increase the speed by one green bar and if there is enough players it will max out the green bars at three. One of the advantages of being an engineer is the ability to unlock the field computer during the progression of ranking up and if the field computer is equipped objectives by default will have one green bar on the progress meter while taking them. If your team has an engineer with a field computer it would be beneficial to ensure that they are the person taking the objective and that reduces the amount of people needed near the objective and can provide more firepower support.
Equipment and Countermeasures
For every piece of equipment in the game there is usually a countermeasure so having a diversified team will be beneficial to winning the match. I will provide a few examples of the unlocked equipment and how to counter them effectively.
Sensor grenades – Stay back from the blooming indication when thrown for a few seconds as it wears off or equip the jammer that can be found in the engineer class which when placed down will jam the enemies radar, scanners, and sensor grenades within the radius. You will know when you are in range when you see the words jammer in the right corner of your screen.
Sentry guns / Jammers / Sniper enemies / UAV – Toss an EMP grenade in the general area of where the equipment or the enemy is located and it will temporarily disable their heads up display, remove camouflage or destroy the equipment. Also UAVs have little damage resistance and can be easily taken down with a few well-placed shots.
Claymores / Stun mines – These equipment items can be easily discovered by a thrown sensor grenade and destroyed with grenades or shooting the equipment, but don’t get too close to feel the effects of the explosion.
After investing almost a week of game time into the beta I walked away learning the pros and cons of each class and the strategies that work to win the match on both maps available.
The way the game is designed with the classes to choose from each class can counter each other in many different ways, mostly based with the equipment that is unlocked during the progression of leveling up each class. Rifleman class will be the first to fight clearing the way for the engineers to take the objectives and following behind the engineers should be the scout class with long distance fire support.
I found that players who were able to work together and taking the objectives first instead of playing the game modes like team deathmatch ended the match with more points and walking away with bonus points for winning the match. The game is strongly developed with the use of the cover system and teamwork. A normal kill not from cover will net players 100 points, but from cover it will be 450 or more based on how many kills earned or if killing the opponent saved a teammate, which counts as a savior bonus. Reviving a teammate will earn you 1000 points or preventing a data hack for your team will earn you 500 points, so making sure that you are a team player will ensure you live longer, earn more points, and win the match.
The cover system I would say worked about 90% of the time, with some issues getting to a piece of cover or coming off of a piece of cover. The best thing about the cover system after knowing where to place the movement reticle players can fast run across cover heavy maps like Pipeline in seconds. Also having the ability to sprint and then slide into a prone position can be helpful when under fire. One of the advanced techniques that players have found is that if you hold the left stick either left or right and then press the B button, which controls crouch and prone would lead to a diving roll. So I saw players use this method to get the drop on an unsuspecting player when entering a cornered area. I also was using the technique along with dropping prone quickly to avoid being shot and then double tapping the left stick in either direction to roll while prone and it had saved me from death quite a few times.
During the beta the developers also were making some tweaks to settings, objective placements, and weapon damage, but with that said there still needs to be some adjustments made. The Ghost team seems to have a larger advantage when it comes to weapons and attachments. The default ACR machine gun for the rifleman class still seems overpowered against the default AK-200 for the Bodark team. Also with all the customization available in the game for weapons, attachments are unlocked using credits that are earned when leveling up there isn’t enough credits to fully unlock all options for the weapons so players will have to pick and choose wisely on what they want to unlock. The great thing is that at any time players can change weapons and attachments to go to the firing range to see how the weapon performs.
There is some inconsistency with how the weapon statistics display in the beta as is seems even though the guns unlocked at later levels are not powered correctly since most players will end up using the default unlocked weapons for each class having more success with them. I would like to see the unlocked weapons powered up or have weapons switched out so the default weapons become the unlocked ones with ranking up. In general when progressing through the ranks players are rewarded, but there just didn’t seem to be a reward for leveling up and earning the new weapons.
While most of the games I played were normalized and having teams going for the objectives and working together there were some instances of teams only going for data hacks or just spawn killing which was a major problem on the smaller map available in the beta called Pipeline. There is some prevention to spawn killing that is available in the game which allows for teams to spawn in alternate deployment areas, but I found that it wasn’t a consistent availability when getting overran in your own base, so there is some room for improvement there.
Overall there is some improvements that need to be made to spawns, weapon balance, objective placements and overall balance of classes and how equipment is used, but with the beta and the data collected and the feedback given from the community I believe the retail multiplayer experience will be enjoyable for all of the future soldiers when it releases this Tuesday and check out the amazing stats that Ubisoft provided with this video from the beta!
Let us know what you thought of the beta and if you will be picking up Ghost Recon Future Soldier when it releases in the comments below or team up with fellow Ghosts in the forums!