Wednesday, June 15, 2011

E3 and Ghost Recon Future Soldier

E3 2011 was huge. Almost back to it's roots where there were huge crowds, long lines, and tons of booths containing booth babes (G4's booth babes being the best). My focus for this year was to try to play or at least see the following games; Mass Effect 3, Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3, Forza Motorsport 4, and the long awaited Ghost Recon Future Soldier. Unfortunately because of the long lines I was only able to play Forza and Future Soldier.

Ghost Recon Future Soldier is a big deal for me because the original Ghost Recon is what got me hooked to Xbox Live and Xbox in general. Also, Ghost Recon Future Soldier was demoed at last years E3 and it wasn't looking so great. A lot of the original elements were gone from the series. Fortunately, Ubi Soft saw the reactions they were getting at E3 2010 and decided to return the series to its roots with bringing back the original developer Red Storm.

With Red Storm returning to the franchise most of the elements that made Ghost Recon a contender all these years came back. Squad based combat, camera switching between shoulders, rate of fire options, and my favorite bullets do kill people. This was one thing that I loved about the Ghost Recon series. When you hit people with a couple of shots they actually go down. It's not like the other heavy hitters where you spray the hell out of your enemy and they just keep running along like nothing had happened. Let's face it, that's just not going to happen. While playing the last couple of iterations of Ghost Recon there was a disconnect between single player and multi-player. They were pretty much separate games. In single player everything was better, character models, mechanics, options and controls. Multi-player was still great it just didn't have all of the same options and look of the single player game. And, this is where Future Soldier comes in.

Future Soldier has brought in all of the things from single player into multi-player. The cover system is there, the main character models look great, pretty much it's the same game as single player. While playing the game at E3 2011 I was enjoying it very much. I was able to take and back up my fellow team members while watching ahead of them as a few enemy combatants appeared ahead. I has to raise my weapon with the left trigger and squeeze of rounds taking out the closer enemy then, clicking in the right analog button to look through my scope to proceed firing at the other two guys further away. And, like I said before. One to three hits and they go down. Not having to waist a clip per kill is great. Immediately I was getting really excited to play this game early next year. However, there were some things that needed to be worked out. The cover system, which I love because in real life one would take cover, is still clunky and needs to be cleaned up. They should take a look at how Epic games has worked it out in Gears of War 3. Epic has gotten the cover system down to near perfection. I feel Red Storm still needs to work out the functionality of it because, there is no fluid transition from cover to cover. You can peek around a corner and an icon shows up showing you the next place of cover. But, when you push a to run there, like other games, you just pop up and stand there out in the open. You actually have to hold the button to continue running and hit the cover point. Also, it took a little getting use to moving the analog stick to the right position for the icon to show up. It's not a natural position right now but, with some tweaking I think it will be good enough. Another thing I didn't like that use to be there in previous Recons, they took away the ability to select what ever weapon you wanted. Now you have to pick a class and then you get a choice of two weapons. This is how Medal of Honor did it and the game didn't do that well. If Red Storm wants to proceed this way then, they should do it like this:

1. Pick your class. Then this class would determine certain attributes you get. Such as tools, accessories, speed, stamina, and armor (you can take a little bit more damage).
2. Now that I have picked a class, yes I should be limited to certain weapons. But, not just two. Should be similar to the setup of Battlefield where you have an assortment of weapons per class.

Now one thing that has been lacking from games in awhile is character customization. Black Ops tries to do it but it's still lacking. Future Soldier is taking the next step which is weapon customization. Using Kinect I can do a hands on weapon customization of just about every part of any weapon, right down to the internal pieces of the weapon. You can also, take the weapon to the firing range and using your full body to take aim and fire down the range with the weapon you just made. However, this weapon customization looked to be only useable in this part of the game. I would hope that I could customize an assortment of weapons and save those as load outs to use in single player and multi-player game types. And, of course the more you play or how you play unlocks more items to customize your weapon with. This would be huge differentiator to all other shooters out there right now. No other game that I know of have this yet or too the level that I saw demoed at E3 2011. The next part to the customization would be character customization. Need to have the ability to change camo, armor, and loadout. I would go into more depth but, I don't want someone to steal my ideas... And, let's use the dang cameras that we have spent money and let me put my face on my character!

So, to end, this game is looking pretty good so far. With some minor tweaking it will be highly successful. But, I hope they can really polish it up before release and make some of the changes I'm talking about. The game is still in production so, I can only hope. Either way, I will be purchasing this game because the market is getting flooded with these arcade shooters from Activision and Microsoft and it's time to bring back the simulation shooters which is what got me hooked on Xbox Live in the first place.

Check IGN's site to see some of the demos that I was referring to at E3 this year.

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