I’ve been looking forward to getting my grubby little hands on this title and thankfully it was on in full force at PAX East. Ubisoft was showing off the newly announced Guerrilla Mode in which 4 players band together to hold out against waves of insurgents. I’m not going to go into specifics on this mode, but if you want to learn more about it and how it differentiates itself from traditional “horde modes” in other games, check out my article on it. So how does it play, is it fun, and are the controls solid? You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers.
First thing I noticed (besides the sweet crate chairs we got to sit on) is how well your character moves. This is nothing like the plodding tank-like character you played in Advanced Warfighter. These Future Soldiers move with precision and responsiveness that helps make the game feel fantastic. The soldiers move quickly, the aiming feels solid, and the animations are as smooth as butter. The long work put in after the numerous delays really shows. The game’s framerate is rock solid and it really shows even as we waited about 45 minutes to go hands on.
The Ghosts are very nimble as well as being able to vault over not just low walls but high walls as well. From what I’ve seen, usually in third person games players can only vault over low walls, for example Gears of War. Not so in Future Soldier. I was impressed as I watched my guy pull himself up and roll over a high wall. The animations are very quick as well, so don’t worry about being at a disadvantage. Going prone is easy to do and beneficial as you can roll around to get a better view point rather than doing the “Call of Duty” shuffle when rotating. I never had an issue with the camera either as it’s positioned well, never getting in your way. It does pull in for more cinematic moments like meleeing a guy, vaulting over cover, or reviving a teammate.
So all in all we got to play about 4 waves of Guerrilla Mode on the recently revealed map “Mansion”. We started at Wave 5 to avoid the default easy waves and had to secure a HQ against enemy forces. You get about 30 seconds to refill on ammo and run to air drops with new equipment (grenades, etc) and new guns. Once the timer is up, the enemies storm the area. One thing I noticed is that you really need to work together and keep your head on a swivel as the AI is really good. Impressively smart. A few times I found myself being flanked or shot at from an enemy who managed to get a better vantage point on my position. It was really impressive. Another thing to remember? You can’t lone wolf or run and gun. You’ll get lit up real quick. Future Soldier demands teamwork and thinking more tactical. Use cover, use equipment, and you’ll be fine.
As we knocked out a few waves, we earned “Wave Streak Bonuses” for basically winning. It starts you out simple with just a radar/UAV system and it gets more complicated as you work your way up. We managed to snag a missile strike but never got a chance to use it. The latter two waves we began to see the difficulty begin to rise as we were seeing tougher enemies like ones carrying a shield. Keep in mind that this was only wave 8 of about 50 or so. I can’t imagine how crazy it gets.
As a side note, I did try to use the drone but I was terrible at it. Didn’t plan it out to well and wasn’t sure how to effectively use it in the time I was given. The sensor grenades are really badass though.
The demo was extremely fun and should be a good time when it hits later in May. I came away extremely impressed not just by the gameplay but by how impressive the tech side of the game was as well. One of my favorite elements is the loading screen. Instead of being a static picture, you’ve given a picture of the controller and by pressing a button, the game will show you what that button does. It’s simple stuff, but a very cool detail. I was excited before, but the demo left me starving to get more time with it. Thankfully the demo begins in a couple weeks and then we get the real thing later in May.