Ghost Recon Commander
- Release Date: May 22, 2012
- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Developer: Loot Drop
- Genre: Strategy
Ghost Recon Commander is a Facebook strategy game developed by Loot Drop behind games such as CloudForest Expedition and Ravenwood Fair. Drawing inspiration from Jagged Alliances Online and X-Com, the game abides by the basic rules of what we familiar with in Ghost Recon franchise. For example, players are able to be combine their commander deck or squad to compete against other online Facebook users by either following the missions or choosing the targets at will.
Like Ghost Recon’s previous series, the social version of “Commander” zooms in on the tactical formation where players set up units behind cover so as to impair enemy’s shot precision while they can utilize a CLOS to target the enemies and likewise, the enemies can do the same.
During the battle, players can be armed with some weapons and tools that help attack enemies more effectively, something like drones and grenades.
Instead of employing the Energy mechanic for commander’s action, Ghost Recon Commander takes the HP instead. Such design could encourage experienced gamers to engage in more intense battles and experience more contents in each gaming session because those unskilled players may have to leave the game and waiting for the HP to replenish. However, such mechanic also serves as a premium option through which players can buy items and speed up their HP recovery. The premium items also include advanced equipment, buildings and decorations that eventually increases the power of the soldiers.
Ghost Recon Commander is a strategy simulator spin-off of the Ghost Recon series. At the core, it is an isometric tactical combat game mixing turn-based battles with real-time action.
Although Ghost Recon Commander is officially called “turn-based”, it is not a classic turn-based genre featuring square or hex grid map. Instead, the game plays out like a real-time strategy game allowing players to freely move their characters to any given point clicked on the map. The twist here was that, when I spotted an enemy and had to stop temporarily to plan my next move, the enemy also paused. From what I understand, the game seems like an RTS incorporating with a newbie-friendly pause system. Enemies wait for players to take their turn, but when players resume the game, everything plays out in real time. Combats are based on the “ammo” system, a variant of the popular Facebook energy model that limits how many shots players can make in a mission. So pesky disturbance is that I often found myself runing out of ammo in the middle of a mission and I had to close the game temporarily to do something else while waiting for recharge.
The combat comes with no surprise. I felt combat session a bit flat and monotonous. I kept the enemies within optimal range to click on them. Misses and headshots are randomly generated based on hidden dice-rolling system. So I could do no more than spamming clicking on my targets until they finally become pools of blood.
On the whole, the game centers on strategically controlling mercenary squads on the battle fields. Players take the role as a mercenary leader and take control of up to 2 extra members to embark on missions like rescuing hostages to infiltrate into enemy bases to retrieve intel pieces or something like that. Each mercenary is an individual with its own traits and classes and part of the strategy in the game reflects on the freedom to select a multi-faceted team to accomplish missions in different ways.
In terms of social aspects, I could also recruit my Facebook friends to my squads and take them along for the ride in various missions. However, the asynchronous nature of the gameplay means that I couldn’t play with my friends simultaneously in missions. I still need to control a whole party, which is by no means different from playing single-player campaigns.
The premise of the combat sessions is too simple, but the game itself is not a total loss. Customization and upgrades are key components to the game. I was given a “camp”, serving as the base where new objects and structures can be purchased to improve characters’ combat performances: Buy first aid tents to heal wounded mercenaries; place hammocks to make them more durable on the battlefields; set up some training targets can raise hit rate to ensure that every shot from your boys finds its target.
Overall, Ghost Recon Commander is a victim of mass media advertising and is far from satisfying me. Maybe, it is radically just a Facebook game that focuses more on gears, achievements and buildings rather than what a prototype shooter offers: actions.
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