Benchmarkcheck: Ghost Recon Future Soldier

Florian Glaser (translated by Bernie Pechlaner), 07/22/2012

A touch of tactics. Ubisoft finally dishes out seconds for friends of the venerable Ghost Recon-series. Future Soldier transports the player into the near future, where he or she fights behind enemy lines as a member of an elite special ops team. In this review, we will determine how well this title runs on different mobile GPUs.

Afraid of Ghosts?
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

In the past, the Ghost Recon-series was well known for its demands on tactical prowess. A sloppy course of action had immediate consequences: nobody managed to get very far in the game with anything less than perfect planning. The new installment of the series still requires more tactics than let's say Battlefield 3 in single player mode - but die-hard fans won't appreciate the "casualization" of the game.

Description

convincing characters
convincing characters
genre-typical "duck and cover"
genre-typical "duck and cover"
nice panoramas
nice panoramas

It's easy for the player to develop a sense of superiority while navigating the different campaigns in the game, as there are various types of aid available. It's possible, for example, to assign enemies to one's three (autonomously acting and quite intelligent) team members and have said enemies eliminated simultaneously via the push of a button. This feature is quite handy on one side, but on the other, it diminishes the value of the game itself. We are not even talking about the overly powerful stealth-mode here. On the lowest level of difficulty, it's possible to move around for minutes without having to fire a single shot.

In dire situations, pressing the space bar activates the "take-cover feature", which works similar to other action games (Max Payne 3, Mafia 2 etc.). The character then hides behind the nearest suitable object. Since the character can't take a lot of hits (even as a "recruit") in the first place, this function is an absolute necessity. Technical gadgets, like spy drones and sensor grenades, help out the soldier. Control is easy and smooth. Speaking of smooth: the developers obviously spent a lot of time trying to get the animations right.

We find the plot and the various characters less convincing. Despite the (frequently included) interim movie-style clips, the main characters appear somewhat lackluster. The uninspired terrorist-arms-dealer story line (including the expected heavy dose of patriotism) lacks suspense and unexpected twists.  At least there's some change in scenery as the Ghosts travel around the world.

As far as gameplay is concerned, Future Soldier is decent, but not top-notch. Like other action games, it reminds us a bit of Call of Duty, although the meaningless "grouse passages" are kept within reasonable limits. Even though some areas tend to appear a bit steril because of poor level details, we like the atmosphere overall. The crisp sounding weapons and good English commentary lead to an enjoyable experience overall. We applaud the fact that the creators included quite a few civilians moving about in the various levels.

When we compare the game to the genre's top contenders, we feel it falls a bit short. Future Soldier is not a standout in any particular area. The only features that differentiates the game a bit are the extensive weapons arsenal and the 4-player co-op mode.

useful x-ray vision
useful x-ray vision
motivating missions-score
motivating missions-score
adaptable weapons
adaptable weapons

Graphics

low details in the surface textures
low details in the surface textures

Save for impressive particle effects (smoke etc.), the game engine "Yeti" can in no way compete with Cry Engine 3 or Frostbite 2.0. Many of the surface textures are missing details and the facial expressions of the characters (which are otherwise solidly executed) are lacking. Additionally, some of the interim-sequences look outdated. Since there is no AF option, distant details are not preserved. 

What makes matters worse is that the game engine is not very well optimized. Not only are the hardware requirements stringent (more details to follow), but performance is glitchy. It didn't matter if we used VSync or not: even on high-end PCs the frame rate dropped occasionally when running on version 1.2.

Benchmark

Our benchmark sequence records the average performance. In other words, some scenes run smoothly, but other scenes can be more taxing. During the mission "Subtle Arrow", we recorded a 30 second stealth run between the starting point and the first inhabited village (see video below). FRAPS was utilized for recording FPS data.

Settings

Graphics settings can be quickly adjusted in the main menu only as long as the mission has not yet loaded. The graphics menu is without real flaws. Besides resolution, there are 10 additional adjustment options. Some of them only have a slider for on/off, while others also offer settings for low, medium, and high. The changes are sometimes rather hard to notice. We really had to scrutinize the details to notice the often subtle changes in the various levels of the game. 

1024 x 768, Low (all off), DX 9
1024 x 768, Low (all off), DX 9
1366 x 768, Medium (all on), DX 11
1366 x 768, Medium (all on), DX 11
1920 x 1080, High (all on), DX 11
1920 x 1080, High (all on), DX 11

Anti-aliasing affects how smooth graphics appear. Even though the game supports DirectX 11 and modern effects like tessellation and parallax mapping, the Yeti engine fails to impress. Independent of the vertical sync speed, the developers decided to govern the maximum FPS possible (~ 63 fps).

1024 x 768, Low (all off), DX 9
1024 x 768, Low (all off), DX 9
1366 x 768, Medium (all on), DX 11
1366 x 768, Medium (all on), DX 11
1920 x 1080, High (all on), DX 11
1920 x 1080, High (all on), DX 11
1024 x 768, Low (all off), DX 9
1024 x 768, Low (all off), DX 9
1366 x 768, Medium (all on), DX 11
1366 x 768, Medium (all on), DX 11
1920 x 1080, High (all on), DX 11
1920 x 1080, High (all on), DX 11

Results

We mentioned it earlier: the game has an insatiable appetite for hardware. 1920 x 1080 pixels and maximum details (all on, DX 11) require a top-notch (and expensive) graphics card like a Radeon HD 7970M or GeForce GTX 680M.

1366 x 768 pixels and medium details also need pretty decent hardware. Those who opt for DirectX 11 and check every tick mark in all other menu items won't be very happy unless their laptop features at least a GeForce GTX 660M or better. If you choose your effects wisely and keep the details on normal, an upper middle-class graphics card like the GeForce GT 650M is certainly usable.

Even when all options are deactivated or on low, the laptop should at least feature a mid-range graphics card like the GeForce GT 630M. Intel's very common and popular HD Graphics 3000 and 4000 will not suffice.

Benchmark Table
Benchmark Table

Test Systems

Many thanks to Schenker Notebooks (mysn.de) for supplying our various test systems:

  • XMG P702 (Core i7-3720QM, GeForce GTX 680M & Radeon HD 7970M, 8 GB RAM)
  • XMG P502 (Core i7-3610QM, GeForce GTX 675M, GTX 670M & HD Graphics 4000, 8 GB RAM)
  • XMG A501 (Core i7-2630QM, GeForce GT 555M, 8 GB RAM)
  • Xesia M501 (Core i7-2630QM, GeForce GT 630M & HD Graphics 3000, 8 GB RAM)
from left to right: Schenker XMG A501, Xesia M501 & XMG P502
von links nach rechts: Schenker XMG A501, Xesia M501 & XMG P502
Show Restrictions
Pos      Model                                     Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
 Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (2012)
low
1024x768
Low (all off) DX 9
med.
1366x768
Medium (all on) DX 11
onAA
ultra
1920x1080
High (all on) DX 11
onAA
 6NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M SLI
62
41.3
 11NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
62.5
62.5
62
 12AMD Radeon HD 7970
62.4
62.4
56.4
 17NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti
62.4
61.9
56.5
 22AMD Radeon HD 7870
62.5
62.5
43.9
 29NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M
62.5
62.152
29.452
 32AMD Radeon HD 7970M
49
47.5
39.1
 47NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX
58.5
30.9
 49NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M
36.6
22.7
 54NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
53
26.2
 60NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M
62.5
41.4
19.2
 63AMD Radeon HD 7770
62.3
41.9
23.2
 74NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M
62.3
27.2
 76NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670M
61.5
34.2
15.6
 80AMD Radeon HD 8870M
50.8
25.1
 93NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M
58.32
26.82
13.452
 105NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M
51
22.2
11.8
 106NVIDIA GeForce 840M
40.8
17.6
 108NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M
53.6
18.2
Pos      Model                                     Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
lowmed.ultra
 115NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M
41
14.6
 119NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M
31
20.6
 137AMD Radeon HD 8750M
33.4
17.5
 143NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
39.6
25
12.4
 171NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M
34.8
16.2
7.8
 185AMD Radeon HD 8650G + HD 8670M Dual Graphics
21.7
10.5
 188AMD Radeon HD 8550G + HD 8670M Dual Graphics
16.2
9.5
 208AMD Radeon HD 8650G
22.4
10.6
 211AMD Radeon HD 7520G + HD 7670M Dual Graphics
25.4
19.6
8
 212AMD Radeon HD 7670M
30.6
16.1
7.4
 213NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
33.552
152
8.2
 220NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M
28.8
8.5
 226AMD Radeon HD 8450G + Radeon HD 8570M Dual Graphics
10.4
5.8
 239AMD Radeon HD 7660G
26.2
15.4
 255ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650
25.8
14.2
 270Intel HD Graphics 4400
13.5
 307Intel HD Graphics 4000
14.82
8.3
 326AMD Radeon HD 7520G
17.6
10.2
 398Intel HD Graphics 3000
9.052
* Smaller values are better. / * Approximate position

 

Legend
5Stutters – This game is very likely to stutter and have poor frame rates. Based on all known benchmarks using the specified graphical settings, average frame rates are expected to fall below 25fps
May Stutter – This graphics card has not been explicitly tested on this game. Based on interpolated information from surrounding graphics cards of similar performance levels, stutters and poor frame rates are expected.
30Fluent – Based on all known benchmarks using the specified graphical settings, this game should run at or above 25fps
40Fluent – Based on all known benchmarks using the specified graphical settings, this game should run at or above 35fps
May Run Fluently – This graphics card has not been explicitly tested on this game. Based on interpolated information from surrounding graphics cards of similar performance levels, fluent frame rates are expected.
123Uncertain – This graphics card experienced unexpected performance issues during testing for this game. A slower card may be able to achieve better and more consistent frame rates than this particular GPU running the same benchmark scene.
Uncertain – This graphics card has not been explicitly tested on this game and no reliable interpolation can be made based on the performances of surrounding cards of the same class or family.
The value in the fields displays the average frame rate of all values in the database. Move your cursor over the value to see individual results.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Benchmarkcheck: Ghost Recon Future Soldier
Author: Florian Glaser, 2012-07-22 (Update: 2013-06- 6)