The Future of War


I’ve been oddly curious with the concept behind the GunSmith feature in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Solider. I don’t recall seeing anything about the option beyond a trailer on YouTube and the stage demonstration at the Xbox Press Briefing, but since seeing it in action, I want to know more .

For anyone not familiar with GunSmtih, it is a Kinect-based gun customization option. Using both hand motions and voice commands, you can manipulate your gun in 3D space, take it apart and customize it. Once selected, your gun separates into its individual components. The display looks like something from Tony Stark’s workshop, so you have to wonder if someone at Ubisoft isn’t a major Iron Man fan. From here, you can rebuild the weapon or, using voice commands, have it auto-optimize around a specific perimeter, like range or stopping power.

The option is neat, though I'm really interested in seeing how it integrates into the rest of the game.

As far as the rest of the game goes, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is classic Ghost Recon with a number of smaller improvements. Not that the developers ever had much to tweak, though some of the changes make a lot of sense. It's a more playable game, at least compared to its peer shooters. Unfortunately, it is hard to see just how big of an impact these changes have without getting your hands on the controller and experiencing it yourself.

One of the more noticeable changes is a shift in camera perspective. The game is played using a third-person camera, which works incredibly well for the gameplay. It is easier to get a sense of where everything is in relation to your soldier and affords greater situational awareness.

Pacing feels much faster and more fluid than previous titles. In the past, soldier movement always felt a little stiff. Soldiers were slower, which I think may have turned off a few players. Now soldiers can quickly duck and dodge between cover. It is not a massive increase in speed, but just enough to make a noticeable difference.

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier uses an Augmented Reality HUD similar to Splinter Cell. Important information is displayed on the map, allowing for quick reference and easier navigation of the battlefield. Gunfights are intense, so you’ll want as much information in front of you as possible without obstructing your view. You’ll also see white circles on the ground indicating where soldiers need to stand for certain operations, like a door breach and an X-Ray mode that lets you see what’s awaiting you behind solid objects.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier has been a long time in the works, but it is hard to complain when the results look this good. Look for more information, including more on GunSmith, leading up to the game’s early 2012 release.