Thursday, 26 January 2012

Gadgets Dictate Tactics in Ghost Recon

Gadgets Dictate Tactics in Ghost Recon

An itchy trigger finger can only get you so far.

January 26, 2012

 Explosions, mountainside helicopter chases, and gunfights erupting amidst civilian streets punctuate Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier's more dramatic moments. But the methodical tactics required to decompress a dangerous situation quietly creates the kind of memorable scenarios that inspire more pride than a well-placed bullet.

Some levels force that dramatic moment like a fuse lit by Michael Bay while others present the player with a choice. A dozen soldiers stand between the squad and any given objective, so what's the best way to get there? Rambo-mentality says to shoot first, perchance pose a question, and step nimbly over the corpses, but the fun in the Ghost Recon series comes in the form of stealth. Future Soldier solidifies this classic element and the arsenal of tech gadgets makes each encounter a tactical ballet. 


By crouching or lying prone, a mirage-like camouflage coats the soldier. It won't fool enemies up close, but at range it tricks the senses just enough to avoid raising an alarm. There's no way to abuse the camo, because approaching the enemy will kick off a firefight. Rather, the camouflage's power comes from setting up shop behind cover and prepping an assault. If the entire squad is obscured from view, each soldier can take up a tactical position before launching into one of the useful actions in their repertoire.

The military squad can execute a Synch Shot by marking enemies on the map with various tech. This means each of the four team members get assigned a target, and on the queue of the lead player, everyone shoots at the same time to take out the group silently. Time slows to a crawl, allowing each character to pull the trigger, and four bodies drop to the ground (if you don't miss). An additional quick shot can take out an added fifth enemy if one stands in range, but the opportunity isn't always present.

Team tactics.

An aerial drone leads the charge when it comes to covert intelligence. While an enemy soldier can shoot it down when spotted, from a distance it allows for quick marking. Flying the device feels smooth and it even gets the ability to roll across the ground like an RC Car if one is so inclined. Move the device too far from your location and it starts losing connectivity in a static flicker, and if an enemy spots it they can shoot the device down. The downside to marking far-off targets comes from the difficulty of synchronizing all four soldiers to shoot at once. The drone may just lead the charge in seeing when enemies lie in wait rather than setting up a direct action against them.

X-ray mode offers an alternative to surveying the environment. It operates much like Batman's detective mode in Arkham City. Any enemy within a short range pops up with illumination, but there's a key flaw in using X-Ray too much. While enemy outlines show up, X-Ray mode will not reveal any obstacles between you and your target. Thus, while it's easy to maneuver silently through Future Soldier with the X-Ray filter, walls, cars, and rubble will block the way. While useful in the right conditions, X-Ray mode feels like a crutch -- a problem Batman shared.

The drone in action.

But the tech equipment doesn't end there. The Intel Grenade also reveals targets, making for easy shots (not the least of which is a helpful heat-seeking bullet). Once the grenade explodes, a concussive wave outlines nearby enemies in red, which sets up the opportunity to synch up executions with the team.

Vehicles explode, bullets pepper through enemies, and cinematic action will dominate many levels of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. But the high-tech gadgets, element of surprise, sneaking into an encampment undetected, and pulling off the perfect synchronized attack make this tactical shooter shine.



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