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Tom Clancy

Ubi at E3 photo
Ubi at E3

Here's everything that Ubisoft has in store for E3


#girlwood #neverforget
May 22
// Brett Makedonski
Oh, it's that magical time of year! The season where E3 anticipation is in full swing, and publishers send out friendly emails to remind everyone that they're going to have a presence at the big show. Ubisoft sounds as if it ...
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Plus, an excuse to show clips from Akira
There's been a whole bunch of interesting stuff to talk about in the last week! Halo 5: Guardians has been announced for 2015, Far Cry 4 is coming this fall, Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction has been rebranded as Bombshell, Tom ...

The Division photo
The Division

Tom Clancy's The Division probably won't be ready to launch in 2015


Looks like it's time to start calling it Long Division
May 19
// Brett Makedonski
At last year's E3, Ubisoft revealed Tom Clancy's The Division and marked it for a 2014 release date. Just last week, Massive said that it wouldn't make that window, and implied that fans should set their expectations for...
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Division devs brag about Ubisoft's Snowdrop engine


Video shows tools in use, little else
Mar 19
// Conrad Zimmerman
Ubisoft dropped this video today featuring some of the people working at Massive Entertainment, talking about their experience using the Snowdrop engine to develop Tom Clancy's The Division. If you're hoping to see some addi...
The Division photo
The Division

Less Massive: Ubi Reflections has a hand in The Division


'Creating and enriching the IP'
Feb 07
// Brett Makedonski
As it turns out, Tom Clancy's The Division won't be entirely the brain-child of Massive Entertainment. For a few months now, UK-based developer Ubisoft Reflections has been contributing to the open-world shooter, as repo...
The Division photo
The Division

Massive: The Division on PC won't be just a port


'A full-fledged, optimized version'
Dec 20
// Brett Makedonski
Anyone that's concerned that the PC version of Tom Clancy's The Division will get the short end of the procedurally destroyed stick can breathe a bit easier. According to the developers, PC's getting the same love and ca...
The Division photo
The Division

New look at The Division set for later this week at VGX


Ubisoft is set to reveal new trailer at gaming award show
Dec 03
// Alessandro Fillari
With the Spike VGX awards set for this Saturday, there will be number titles ready to show off new footage and even be revealed for the first time. The already confirmed titles ready to premiere new trailers are The Witcher 3...
Tom Clancy  photo
Tom Clancy

Author and game contributor Tom Clancy dies at age 66


Rest in peace
Oct 02
// Darren Nakamura
Thomas Leo "Tom" Clancy, Jr., best known in the videogame industry as the name attached to several Ubisoft-published military and espionage franchises, died yesterday at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the Baltimore area. Clancy wr...
Freebies photo
Freebies

Rainbow Six: Vegas free for Xbox Live Gold members


Better late than never?
Sep 16
// Jordan Devore
The latest free game from Microsoft's Games with Gold promotion is another one you may have gotten years ago, but if not, great -- it's worth nabbing. Queue your download for Rainbow Six: Vegas over here. This is one of ...
Rainbow Six photo
Rainbow Six

Rainbow 6: Patriots is still in production, says Ubisoft


And in may or may not have changed direction
Aug 22
// Jordan Devore
Reminding me that the game even existed in the first place, IGN has gotten word from Ubisoft executive director Alain Corre that Rainbow 6: Patriots is "still cooking. It's an important franchise for Ubisoft. We want to make ...
The Division photo
The Division

Massive: The Division's player versus player is its hook


'You need to have something to lose'
Aug 17
// Brett Makedonski
It's no secret that Ubisoft is aiming to blur the line between single- and multiplayer experiences. That's the predominant theme with a lot of its upcoming titles. Surprisingly, the Tom Clancy's The Division developers d...
Splinter Cell Blacklist  photo
Splinter Cell Blacklist

A refresher on all of Splinter Cell: Blacklist's assets


How about, instead, a war on terror cliches?
Aug 13
// Steven Hansen
This latest Splinter Cell: Blacklist trailer reads like the Cliff's Notes to all the previous Blacklist trailers, summarizing the game's various aspects. There's the silly, hyper-organized terrorist attacks on the United Sta...
Tom Clancy's The Division photo
Tom Clancy's The Division

Massive prepared for The Division by eating leaves


I honestly don't think he's kidding
Jul 19
// Brett Makedonski
Prior to the reveal of Tom Clancy's The Division at E3, Ubisoft shot a behind-the-scenes video with Massive to document everyone's emotions in the days leading up to the announcement of the game. There's a lot of normal...
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Splinter Cell: Blacklist walkthrough gets a little gassy


My jokes are horrible
Jul 09
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
The latest look at Splinter Cell: Blacklist features Sam and team storming a gas plant that's been taken over by terrorists. The place is set to blow, but after a little hacking Sam's team is able to turn on the fire suppres...
Tom Clancy's The Division photo
Tom Clancy's The Division

The Division might make its way to PC after all


An Internet petition worked, maybe!
Jun 25
// Brett Makedonski
One of the highlights of E3 this year was Ubisoft's reveal of Tom Clancy's The Division, but it came with a glaring omission. Its release was announced for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but no mention of PC. That might cha...

The Division has me absolutely giddy right now

Jun 12 // Brett Makedonski
The Division takes place in a United States where some sort of viral pandemic broke out and has devastated civilization. "The Division" is a government tactical task group that is trained to take action in the case of such an event. Their job is to do their best to increase humanity's hope for survival. "Hope" is the key word here. The entire game appears as if it's going to be centered around the notion of maintaining and restoring hope in time of great crisis. At any given moment, there are several events taking place in the nearby area that need rectifying. As each situation is dealt with, the game looks as if it'll reward you with slivers of benefits as well as a faint beacon of hope for the grim future of humanity. Fortunately, Ubisoft Massive has created a world that actually looks like it's worth saving. The Division is being created on Snowdrop, and it's quite obvious that the engine is a powerful next-generation tool. Environmental cues such as progressive damage from bullets provide for realistic context that looks beautiful in action. All of this seems like it'll enhance the combat system, but it might be more useful in creating a seamless world. It looks as if meticulous attention to detail has been put into ensuring that civilization is actually falling apart. Even the way a swinging, half-broken light moves helps with immersion and believability, and that sort of care appears like it will permeate the entire game. One of the most interesting features that was demoed was the inclusion of a companion application. At any time, a friend can join your game from a mobile device and assist in your endeavors by controlling a drone. Some of the drone's abilities that were shown were providing some firepower from the sky and marking enemies. It was promised that the application will work in perfect synchronization with the game, so that everyone sees everything at the same time. My experience with Tom Clancy's The Division was brief but I certainly can't wait to find out more. We're probably a long ways from the finish line on this one, and there's a lot of time for the picture to become clearer. It's definitely an ambitious project, and hopefully it's able to live up to expectations -- and mine are sky-high right now.
The Division Preview photo
But the subject material's a tad depressing
Tom Clancy's The Division is to E3 2013 as Watch Dogs was to E3 2012. It's the game at the show that has a ton of buzz around it, as everyone realizes that it's built around a genuinely cool concept. At the same ti...

The Division photo
The Division

Ubisoft depresses us with Tom Clancy's The Division


'What will it take to save what remains?'
Jun 10
// Jordan Devore
What was probably the most interesting reveal of Ubisoft's E3 2013 press conference was also among the most depressing. We were led into this new IP with talk of global supply chains, a pandemic spreading on Black Friday, an...
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Spies vs Mercs: Which side are you on?


A live-action take of Splinter Cell's most famous mode
May 10
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Splinter Cell: Blacklist will see the return of Spies vs. Mercs. If that news didn't get you excited at all then maybe this live-action take by the gang at CorridorDigital will. Their film production and editing keeps getting better with every video, and I'm beyond impressed with their latest efforts.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist is full of multiplayer goodness

May 07 // Abel Girmay
Splinter Cell: Blacklist (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Wii U)Developer: Ubisoft Toronto, Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft ShanghaiPublisher: UbisoftRelease: August 20, 2013 One of the first things you'll notice about Splinter Cell: Blacklist's presentation is how it integrates its multiplayer pretty seamlessly into it's single-player presentation. Speaking with Ubisoft Toronto co-op lead designer Richard Carrillo, "In Conviction, and a lot of other games, you see the main menu listing solo here and co-op there. You create this artificial split, and when you play those modes, it feels like a different game. We want to break all that down and make it part of the same experience." The solution to this problem comes in the Paladin hub area. From this giant warplane, you can initiate solo missions, dive into co-op, launch a game of Spies vs. Mercs, or just have a friendly conversation with your crew. "We want to have narrative ties across all of our different modes, tie everything back into Fourth Echelon." [embed]252941:48484:0[/embed] Co-op missions are broken down into sets, each given to you by different characters, and meant to reflect the characters you received them from. In practice, this means different sets of stipulations placed on the players. Missions handed down from Grim, for example, may harken back to earlier Splinter Cell games since she is a long time character. There's a greater emphasis on ghosting your way through these missions, with levels restarting when detected. A number of these hardcore variant missions are essentially one big I-told-you-so from Ubisoft to fans who doubted stealth could work in daytime environments. Remember when they re-released the E3 2012 stage demo but as a ghost playthrough instead of assault? Well the team is still out to prove that point to the last remaining hold outs. "We're wanting to prove once and for all that all of our daylight maps are real stealth and can be ghosted," Carrillo told me. The mission I played, Missile Plant, was one handed down from Briggs, a new character to the series, who player two will be taking control of during missions, with player one as Sam. Since Briggs is an up and comer in Fourth Echelon, this mission placed more subtle, gentler requirements. Sneak into an Indian missile silo, completely undetected, and with non-lethal weapons. Many of you will remember the big design ethos of Blacklist revolving around three common play styles: Panther, assault, and ghost. Well, that didn't seem to make the jump over to the co-op very well, but it's not necessarily a bad thing. As mentioned, missions are tailored with their own stipulations which, naturally, encourage certain ways to play. I can't exactly play this mission as assault if I can't use a gun, but this mission did free up towards the end when my partner and I were allowed to use lethal means to take out Voron mercenaries. But even this pushed towards more of an assault/panther role due to the sheer number of mercs and the tenacity with which they rush you down. All told, Blacklist's co-op looks like a welcome evolution of what was in Conviction. You'll still mark and execute, make good use of your gadgets, and stay in constant communication with your partner for a smoother playthrough. Still, I do have one gripe to level against it. It's a small one, and more of a pet peeve, but why did this mission need to end with a set-piece moment? Coming off of a mission with a great balance of traditional stealth, and more aggressive play, the whole things ends with a sequence that has you running out of an hangar as Voron agents and the Indian military shoot it out, and of course explosions are going off everywhere as the camera shakes and you rush towards evac. Call it a sign of today's increasingly homogenized approach to design, but I just call it jarring and honestly unwarranted. One of the more ingenious takes on adversarial multiplayer, Spies vs. Mercs, makes a return in Blacklist after a notable absence in Conviction. Remember when I said I had an inexplicable obsession with Chaos Theory? Well Spies vs. Mercs certainly fed that. The mode is largely the same in Blacklist as it was in previous iterations. Spies have access to fancy flash bangs, EMPs, recon goggles that can tag enemies, among other goodies, and have exclusive access to the more vertical elements of a map. Vents, ledges, and rooftops are all fair game as hiding spots. Mercs on the other hand, play from a first-person perspective touting large guns, mines, and insane amounts of body armor. They can't climb or run particularly fast, but are walking death for any spy that tries to take one head on. If you're a spy, you will want to wait for the opportune moment to come in for a close instant kill. The objective is simple each time. Spies have to hack three data terminals, keeping their hacker alive as the upload goes on. If your hacker is killed, you have a narrow window to resume the hack without a hard reset. Mercs need only kill the spies and protect the terminals. New to Blacklist's iteration is a a progressive leveling system, allowing you to make custom classes to spec out your spy and merc. We didn't get to mess around with the customization though, so I can't say from first hand knowledge how deep it goes. The most notable addition has to be the fact that games can now be played with up to eight players in four versus four matches. This makes the game, to say the least, considerably hectic. There are changes that come into play depending on the number of players, namely an increased emphasis on light and shadows. If you're playing a classic two versus two game, maps are dimly lit, with key areas and objectives marked with bright lights, and Merc flashlights that carry considerable range. If you have a full eight player game going, maps are generally much more lit throughout. This simple change does an admirable job of preserving the core hunter killer gameplay, but classic two versus two is still my preferred option. Matches simply get to hectic playing with eight people, and a considerable amount of tension is lost. Playing classic is the same snatch and grab, seek and destroy goodness you remember. Darker environments means a slower, more methodical pace, as opposed to the shooting galleries that eight player matches started to devolve into. Hopefully a three versus three mode will provide some sort of tolerable medium. Still, I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised with Blacklist's multiplayer offerings. Spies vs Mercs is still a blast to play, and if you were a fan of Conviction's co-op you'll find plenty to love here.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist photo
Spies vs. Mercs and co-op are back in full effect
Confession time ladies and gents: I'm not a big Splinter Cell fan. I didn't much get into the first two, had an inexplicable obsession with Chaos Theory, largely passed on Double Agent, and only dabbled in Conviction. A disgr...

Spies vs. Mercs returns! photo
Spies vs. Mercs returns!

Splinter Cell: Blacklist Spies vs. Mercs revealed!


The classic faction-based mode is back
May 02
// Chris Carter
I have very fond memories of Splinter Cell's Spies vs. Mercs mode. The gametype debuted in Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow (and was refined in Chaos Theory), and featured two distinctly different types of teams pit against e...
Splinter Cell: Blacklist photo
Splinter Cell: Blacklist

The choice is yours in Splinter Cell: Blacklist


Stalking the shadows
Apr 16
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Players will be able to use all sorts of skills and abilities to get through Splinter Cell: Blacklist, and this latest trailer shows you some of your options. Attacking from above, running straight at targets, or using fancy...
Blacklist photo
Blacklist

Torture scene no longer in Splinter Cell: Blacklist


'I've not really heard anyone say they loved it...'
Jan 30
// Jordan Devore
Prior to the recent round of hands-on previews, it would be fair to say that Splinter Cell: Blacklist had been suffering from a messaging problem with respect to its perceived focus on action at the expense of stealth and a c...

Six things you should know about Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Jan 30 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
Splinter Cell: Blacklist (PC [previewed], PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Developer: Ubisoft TorontoPublisher: UbisoftRelease: August 20, 2013 There's an economy system connecting single-player and multiplayer Out of all the additions to the Splinter Cell franchise, the last thing I was expecting was an economy system. Basically, whatever you do in the story, co-op, and versus modes will net you money that can be spent on items across all the modes. Players can buy different types of outfits that give you certain stat boosts, as well as various weaponry. You'll earn money for whatever you do (at least in single-player), but you can also earn bonuses by completing in-game challenges that will regularly pop up in missions. One example of this was earning $750 after performing a few stealth kills in a row. The items you buy can be based on your playstyle as well, so you can focus on purchasing stealthy equipment or items that will increase your body armor and fire power. There's some silly cosmetic items too, like different camouflage designs and even different colors like blue, red, and more for the iconic goggles. The choice is yours, and you'll be able to create multiple loadouts to pick from before jumping into a mission. Yes, I know what you're thinking: How will this affect multiplayer? I asked senior producer Alexandre Parizeau this question, and while they weren't talking anything beyond single-player, he did tell me that the team is aware of the "potential balancing issues" from this system. [embed]233381:44780[/embed] Your home base is a big-ass airplane Between missions, Sam will work with his Fourth Echelon team on the Paladin airplane, a mobile airbase that will be the bridge between the game's modes. Maxime Beland, creative director on Blacklist, is hoping to ship the game without a main menu system and instead have all three modes be unified on the Paladin. For the demo build, players could look at a world map on the airplane to view all available missions in single-player, join someone in co-op, or just jump into one of the game's multiplayer modes. The Paladin also serves a gameplay purposes, and like Sam, it can be upgraded. Before my second mission, I upgraded the Paladin to provide radar support, giving me a mini-radar display on my HUD. In the E3 demo, we saw a missile strike that was delivered via to the Paladin. Players can also get to know their team better while on the Paladin and get additional side missions they can take on to help the team out and earn more money. These are optional, though, and can be ignored. Who has time for side missions when America is under attack?! There are two stories At the base level, Blacklist is about a group of rogue nations attacking US interests with one demand to the President: Remove your occupying troops from our countries, otherwise the terrorist group, known as The Engineers, will continue their attacks. So the President calls upon Sam to help put a stop to the plot. At the same time, Blacklist is about reestablishing the iconic Sam Fisher -- the green goggles, tac suit, knife, etc. At the same time, Sam will be growing as a character. He's gone from a lone wolf agent to completely calling all the shots now. This is new territory for Sam, and you'll see the dynamics of the rest of the Fourth Echelon team grow as they all learn to trust and depend on each other. I played two of the earlier missions, and Sam was definitely coming off as a dick. The whole group dynamic was rather hostile actually, presenting some extreme takes on Hollywood tropes. You have Sam as the grizzled veteran who doesn't want to work with others, the hardass second-in-command who questions Sam's every moves, the newbie soldier set in his old ways, and the snarky, wise-cracking hacker nerd who thinks he's hot shit. It was to the point that I didn't want to care about any of them at all thanks to their characterization. Enemies are freaking dumb, but they're also smart At any point in the game, players can press a button on their controllers for Sam to call out for someone's attention. "Hey, over here," Sam will utter. I don't know about you, but if I were to hear someone say anything from out of nowhere, I'd shoot first and ask questions later. If it were me, I'd make an animal noise. Meow like a cat or something, not use actual spoken language! Well, once someone hears you, they'll slowly approach your position, at which point the player can perform a stealth takedown. You can also be exposed for a good three to four seconds in the open, and enemies won't immediately detect you -- at least on Normal. After that, though, they will register your presence and engage you. They'll go after your last known position and slowly hunt you down all around the area looking for you. So while the AI was somewhat dumb, it did make me happy to know that they don't revert back to their patrol pattern, forgetting you even exist like in most games. There are three playstyles  "A pet peeve I had from Conviction was that I felt that Sam was very static," Maxime told us. That's not the case anymore in Blacklist, as Sam is a more agile and fierce opponent. After killing someone, Max can activate an execute move, which allows him to swiftly kill up to a max of three opponents in one fluid and stylish motion, all while on the move. Sam can also "parkour" his way around obstacles as well, swiftly jumping over obstructions and climbing up walls as you simply hold down the A button. These particular moves will be useful if you're playing either in the Panther or Assault style. Assault is more your traditional action persona, where you're just killing whatever without a care in the world. Panther is the middle ground, where you're killing whoever but with a focus on stealth. Then there's Ghost, which is for the players who prefer to never kill or be seen. You're not stuck in one particular setup, but rather this is what Ubisoft has identified as the three most common playstyles by players. You can be a Ghost in one level then an Assault in the next -- you're free to play however you want. From what it sounds like, playing a certain way doesn't really affect anything within the game. The options are there, but it doesn't really matter beyond your own personal satisfaction. And as far as a no-kill run goes, about 95% of the game can be played without having to kill anyone. For story purposes, however, there will be characters that you have to kill. It feels very linear Probably the biggest disappointment from my hands-on time was how extremely linear the levels were feeling. Now, there were a lot of ways to take out enemies as you went along thanks to all the gadgets at Sam's disposal. In one level, Sam threw out a sticky camera to view some blind spots, then used a remote control mini-copter to search a warehouse and take out enemies with small electric blasts. So there will be lots of ways to eliminae enemies, but getting from point A to point B feels very straightforward. Ubisoft seems very focused on telling its story, and at least based on what I saw, the levels are designed to drive you to your goal along one specific path. After coming off of highs like Dishonored and Mark of the Ninja with everything they've done for the stealth genre, playing Blacklist felt rather disappointing. All in all, some of the mechanics are interesting and the visuals are pretty great, but some of the core elements left a lot to be desired for. I'm not yet ready to dismiss Blacklist completely though, as I want to see what's going with the multiplayer. We know that Spies vs. Mercs will be back, so that's more than enough to keep me interested as the game develops.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist photo
Hands-on preview of Sam Fisher's latest adventure
Super spy Sam Fisher is back after saving the President in 2010's Conviction. Third Echelon has been dissolved, and in its place is Fourth Echelon. Yes, very original. Sure, not the most creative name change, but there is ind...

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Ubisoft and New Regency producing Splinter Cell film


Actor Tom hardy signed on to possibly act
Dec 06
// Jason Cabral
Ubisoft Motion Pictures has just annouced its partnership with New Regency Productions on a movie using the Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell license. Just a few months ago Ubisoft and New Regency announced their collabera...
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PC Season Pass for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier launched


Coincides with first DLC on platform
Oct 25
// Alasdair Duncan
From the book of "better late than never," Ubisoft have released a Season Pass for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier on PC along with the arrival of the game's first piece of  DLC entitled, Arctic Strike. The...
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Ghost Recon's Khyber Strike DLC dropping on October 9


Oct 02
// Jason Cabral
For those of you looking for a reason to dust off your copies of Ghost Recon Future Soldier, look no further! Ubisoft has just announced the next content release for Future Soldier across all platform, Khyber Strike. This pac...
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Arctic Strike DLC launches today for Future Soldier


Jul 17
// Brett Zeidler
Well, here's the first in what I can only assume will be a long series of DLC for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. The "Arctic Strike" pack is out today and includes three new multiplayer maps, a new Guerrilla co-op level, ...

Preview: Killing in motion in Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Jun 13 // Bob Muir
[embed]229417:44066[/embed] The demo begins at the Iraq-Iran border, with Fisher disguised as an enemy soldier carrying a dead body. Soldiers usher him into a tent so that they can treat the body, but one of them glances suspiciously at Fisher. As he walks over, Fisher uses the "mark and execute" system to mark two of the men. When the soldier is about to attack, Fisher takes him hostage and instantly kills the two men he's marked. He tries interrogating the remaining soldier, but when he offers no information, Fisher has the option to kill or knock him out. The possibility of a morality system was intriguing, but those expecting the options to matter should temper their expectations. Apparently there was discussion during development about incorporating morality points or consequences for killing or leaving enemies unconscious, but Ubisoft Toronto decided against it. The team was worried that players would meta-game and chose their actions based on the consequences or point system instead of what they felt was right. As a result, the option to kill or incapacitate enemies is a purely aesthetic choice. Fisher dons his classic outfit and moves through the camp, finding a group of enemies up ahead. This is the moment the player decides to show off the new "killing in motion" system. Taking cover in a tent, he marks three soldiers and dashes out, killing them in slow-motion. With a stab of the enemy in front of him, his "mark and execute" ability is recharged, allowing him to mark and shoot the two remaining enemies as he keeps running. This is something that could not be done with the old "mark and execute" system, which required Fisher to remain stationary. Moving on, Fisher navigates some guards and springs up the side of a building, hanging on to the edge. A soldier patrols on top, and Fisher makes a sound to attract his attention so he can pull him to the ground, knocking him unconscious. The ability to draw a guard's attention isn't just limited to pressing a button. If you're playing Blacklist on Xbox 360, you can use Kinect voice commands to attract enemies. I saw the potential for abuse, and asked if Kinect would require a specific command or if a chatty roommate could set it off by accident. Though they had considered making it sensitive to any sound, perhaps for increased realism, they had wisely agreed that this would be a bad idea. Players will have to use the right command if they want to utilize Kinect. Fisher climbs up the building and waits for other soldiers to find the body, which has fallen in a puddle of water. Thinking quickly, he fires an electric bolt from his tactical crossbow, a new device that has multiple applications depending on the ammo used. Fisher moves forward but a truck with more soldiers and a turret appears. One of the perks of being the leader of the newly formed Fourth Echelon is having air support from his team. A firefight ensues, and once Fisher feels he's in place, he calls in a missile from above to take out the turret and most of the enemy forces. Ubisoft Toronto wanted to incorporate the idea of attacking tactically from multiple sides like in Rainbow Six, but adjusted to work for just one man, something demonstrated by Fisher approaching the room with his target. While he used brute force in the main demo, my private demo showed a much more strategical approach. After peeking under the door to mark three enemies and identify his target, he places an explosive on the door and scales the building, ending up in front of a window on the other side of the building. Before the soldiers even know he's there, Fisher blows the door, drawing their attention so he can smash through the window and execute all three of them. There will reportedly be many moments in the final game that allow for such creative, multi-directional attacks. Fisher closes in on his target, who is enraged and claims to be a planted agent deep undercover for years, another deviation from the original demo. He yells at Fisher for blowing his cover and demands to speak to whoever is in charge. Fisher, being the head of the Fourth Echelon, obliges, grabbing him and getting an eye scan. The man was once an operative but joined the enemy a few years ago. Fisher demands information about the Blacklist with a gun to the man's throat, but the man would rather die, pulling the trigger on himself. My demo continued, with more enemy forces closing in on Fisher's position. Fisher must rely on his team to get him out of there, as the player takes control of an attack helicopter. From a first-person viewpoint, the helicopter proceeds to eliminate every enemy outside Fisher's door. With the coast clear, Fisher runs out, jumps, and the demo ends. This demo may have given the impression that older fans are simply out of luck when it comes to the stealth gameplay they love, but some hints from the team imply that they shouldn't write off the game yet. While Conviction's co-op multiplayer is returning, it is also being joined by the revival of Spies vs. Mercs, the classic mode from the last-gen games. Fisher can drag bodies to hide them, and in general there will be a balance of stealth and action. Earned cash can also be shared between the single and multiplayer modes, something that is always appreciated. So for a guy who has never really cared about Splinter Cell, I came away impressed. Blacklist looks like it will be a satisfying experience when it releases in Spring 2013. In the meantime, it seems that I need to go back and play Conviction.
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I've never been that big a fan of Splinter Cell, or at least the last-gen games that were clearly about stealth. There's nothing wrong with stealth, but a demo of the first game never clicked with me, so it was always a serie...

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The DTOID Show: Diablo III, Marvel MMO, & Tom Clancy GRFS


May 23
// Max Scoville
Hey guys! Here's today's Destructoid Show, the only show about video games on the internet. Ever. Don't argue with me. Today we talk about how Diablo III is the fastest selling PC game of all time, and how people are still gr...

Review: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

May 22 // Maurice Tan
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: Ubisoft Paris, Ubisoft Bucharest, Ubisoft Red StormPublisher: UbisoftReleased: May 22, 2012MSRP: $59.99 Much of the slow-paced careful planning and executing of tactical engagements in the original Ghost Recon was lost in the console versions of Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, while the Rainbow Six: Vegas series cannibalized the franchise with its beloved co-op tactics. Future Soldier attempts to take the franchise back to its roots, but in a modern fashion. In more ways than one, it's also somewhat of a stylistic reboot in the way Conviction changed the way we look at, and play, Splinter Cell. The influence of Ubisofts last installment of the spy thriller series is evident through Future Soldier's bountiful visual aids -- such as overlaid text on top of the 3D scenery -- and the action in general is much more dynamic and in-your-face than before, largely helped by a competent camera system that appears to be handled by by a shaky hands cameraman directed by someone like Paul Greengrass. If Conviction was the Bourne Ultimatum of Splinter Cell, Future Soldier is The Hurt Locker of the Ghost Recon series. [embed]227603:43744[/embed] Perhaps the biggest change to the formula is the way the artificial intelligence now works with the player, instead of being delegated to a position where it constantly looks at the telephone every five minutes, desperately waiting for your call. Computer-controllerd squad-mates can no longer be assigned to move to specific locations, nor ordered to a specific placement to get ready to breach a room. Instead, the AI takes care of a lot of these aspects on its own, which works much better than a potential lack of freedom would suggest. AI direction still plays a major role when it comes to stealth squad tactics, however. Up to four enemy targets can be tagged with the press of a bumper button, leaving the player free to either aim at the fourth target yourself so your team-mates eliminate their assigned tangos on your shot, or you can simply command your three brothers in arms to execute their shots in sync by holding down the same bumper. Remaining undetected is often rewarded, but sometimes open engagement is inevitable. In that case, targets can no longer be quietly lined up and silenced, and the bumper becomes a "please kill this guy here please" button. Between running around from place to place and stealthily walking in a crouched position -- which enables an active camouflage system that renders you largely invisible -- various locations require the team to work in unison. Breaching a door is now simply a matter of getting to an appointed location, waiting for the team to get ready, and pressing a button, which leads to the breach and a slow-motion sequence of shooting down bad guys. Likewise, you'll need to move to a pre-determined spot to get the team ready in yoga-like positions before sliding open a panel door. Occasionally, you'll automatically form up in a diamond formation around a VIP, which leads to an "on rails" section where you take care of all the enemies in your field of view, as the team makes its way through a hostile environment as a single unit of capable of 360 degrees of devastation. Perhaps some fans of the traditional Ghost Recon experience may lament the more scripted approaches, but it never feels like player freedom is taken away in favor of added variety. In no small part, this is because the style of careful planning and tactics has made a big return, largely thanks to the toys of the future which provide you with the necessary situational awareness. Sensor grenades can be tossed in the field to highlight enemies, a magnetic view vision mode allows you to discriminate armed soldiers from civilians through walls and terrain, and the ever-popular quad-rotor UAV drone can be used to scout the terrain ahead from the skies. If running into the action isn't your thing, this drone allows you to tag enemies and let the rest of your team take care of them, provided you only select those targets that won't be spotted by patrols if they go down. In some of the twelve very lenghty missions in the campaign, you can rely on this drone and the resulting tactical disposal puzzles without firing a single shot yourself. Those in favor of getting down to business themselves can rely on their AI squad-mates to take smart positions, lay down effective fields of fire, and generally make you feel like you are part of a team consisting of equally qualified members. The same can't always be said for the enemy AI, which tends to run between the same positions or pops out of cover in predictable ways, and which seems designed to turn any engagement into either a scripted event or a balanced-yet-fluid standoff between your team and countless enemies. Having said that, the missions' linear nature and the ease with which you can be shot down by enemy fire means the lacking enemy AI never becomes a big detriment. If you prefer the human approach, all of the campaign missions can be played cooperatively with up to four players -- something that is all too evident when you are supposed to move into breach positions in solo mode. Each mission also includes specific weapon challenges (make 12 kills with one SMG clip), and tactical challenges (reach location X without alerting any enemies), that affect your final "Ghost" score for that mission. A few of these challenges make co-op partners a necessity, although these are few and far between, and many of the challenges won't likely be completed on your first run through the game, which adds a lot of replayability if you're not into multiplayer. For its part, multiplayer is an expansive affair. A Guerrilla "horde" mode pits you against up to 50 increasingly hard waves of enemies on five maps, alternating defensive action with a stealth wave whenever you switch to a new HQ location to defend. Surviving waves unlocks wavestreaks, such as becoming invisible, using a sentry turret, or calling in an airstrike, and surviving successive waves upgrades your wavestreaks' potency. While Guerrilla mode can be played with two players in split-screen, you'll want at least one extra player to join online since the waves become pretty damn hard around the midway point. Traditional multiplayer comes in the form of "Conflict" mode, and this mode can best be described as a mix between Gears of War and Call of Duty (or any other online military shooter) with the addition of gadgets and goals. Your gadgets allow you to do things like planting claymores, throwing sensor grenades, and placing fixed cameras, while each mode has certain goals on the map to create a dynamic between the two teams as a round progresses. Capture and hold an EMP location goal, for instance, and the enemy team loses its HUD to make it very hard to distinguish between friend and foe. It turns regular team deathmatch into a more tactical affair than running and gunning, although there's still plenty of that on offer if you tailor your character to that style of play. Other modes include "Decoy," in which a team has to locate the real target out of a potential of three without either team knowing which is the real one, "Saboteur" which is your typical place-the-bomb mode, and the hardcore "Siege" mode, which requires the attacking team to complete an objective without respawns. A big part of multiplayer is leveling up our character and unlocking and tailoring weapons. This "Gunsmith" system is more effective at changing your playstyle in multiplayer than it is during the campaign. A huge amount of weapons can be easily customized at the component level, meaning you can change barrel sizes, types of triggers, scopes, muzzles, ammunition, and parts of a weapon that most people won't even know had names. Each weapon component costs "attachment credits" in multiplayer, which are gained by leveling up, forcing you to focus on specific weapons in order to get the most out of them. On Xbox 360, the Gunsmith system can be used with Kinect if you want to, but while the Kinect integration isn't intrusive, there really is no point in doing so when it's faster to use a controller. While the different multiplayer modes are a lot of fun depending on how much you care about this aspect of any military shooter, they are unlikely to surprise anyone. It's a carefully crafted and polished component, but despite the added variety in terms of both classic game types and customization, it largely boils down to the tried-and-trusted methods of online play with the addition of a bunch of toys to spice things up. The campaign, though, is a completely different affair, surprisingly enough. Future Soldier's story sends our team of Ghosts to a hugely varied set of current hotspots of international tension. From the Niger delta, to Dagestan, and Pakistan's Peshawar, the slightly traditional Tom Clancy fair fits better into the current post-War on Terror era than any other ridiculous near-future military shooter. Strip away the advanced hardware at your disposal and the overarching storyline, and each mission could've taken place in a fictional version of today's world. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the campaign is how it shifts the flow of shooting people in the head to create variety, both inside and between missions, and keeps you continuously pressing onwards. One mission you are sneaking around, the next you are going in guns blazing, and suddenly you find yourself without your toys or playing as a lone ranger. An early mission, reminiscent of Call of Duty 4's excellent "Ghillies in the Mist" Chernobyl sniping level, is particularly noteworthy: you are sent into an African refugee camp to stealthily kill patrols and guards, while civilians go about their business and are often harassed by militia. There are times when Future Soldier's mechanics and pacing fall into place masterfully, and in the process creates some of the most enjoyable tactical shooting on offer at the moment. Just when you're starting to get tired of using the methods you've come up with, the game throws you a bone in the form of a mobile weapons platform with which to absolutely annihilate a winter landscape with infinite mortars. Outside of the advances in the streamlining of the mechanics and its approach to a total package of singleplayer, co-op, and multiplayer modes, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier displays a level of content maturation that has been evident in some of Ubisoft's big-budget action games, and which has served to set the publisher's games apart from the competition in recent years. From the biting social commentary of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood's database info, to the gritty Bourne-esque and visually distinct Splinter Cell: Conviction, to even the concept of using homegrown terrorism in the upcoming Rainbow Six: Patriots, there is a prevalent sense that Ubisoft doesn't shy away from threading off the safe and beaten path. It is somewhat disappointing that Future Soldier doesn't fully evolve the series along this trend as much as it shows it's capable of doing. When one mission reduces your team from save-the-world heroes to government-sponsored assassins with the simple objective to commit sanctioned murder, you can hear a target's wife scream as you execute your orders and riddle the invisible family's rustic safehouse with bullets. You never know why the cries are silenced, and there's nothing else to do but carry on with the job. The masses of civilians you encounter are almost always at the receiving end of militia and soldiers who have rape and torture on their mind, and saving them from their plight is often optional and extremely satisfying. At other times, you find yourself in situations where it's very hard not to accidentally create collateral deaths while trying to stay alive, as hundreds of civilians panic and flee the sudden eruption of violence you bring to a town. The manner in which these moments offer a level of self-reflection, making you think about just how you're feeling about actively going through events you have little control over, due to both your orders and shifting circumstances, are great, and it's something we need to see more of in modern mainstream gaming. It's just too bad that such moments, while worthy of praise, are still sparse in Future Soldier when they are so effective. To offset the aspects that shine, attempts at humanizing the members of the Ghost squad are not very effective, and it's hard to care about the members of your squad when it's so hard to know who is who behind their masks. Being a Tom Clancy game, the actual story is of course a bit cliché and ends rather abruptly, yet it does a great job at placing the diverse scenarios at play in a wide enough context to care. Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is the type of title that might be easy to overlook if you're not partial to the franchise, or even if you are tired of warfare in post-modern times, but it's a great title nonetheless. Between the impressive campaign, the myriad of co-op options and the added replayability of the mission challenges, as well as the expansive multiplayer component, it's as solid a package as military shooters provide. 
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It's an interesting world we live in, where games with titles such as Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 and the near-future Call of Duty: Black Ops II end up looking more "out there" when it comes to future warfare than...


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