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Ghost Recon Online Preview

Sara Lau
Nov 1,2011  10:11 by
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I simply grow skeptical about the general complimentary tags (such as immersive and top-notch) attached to games, for many seem to me not to live up to what’s publicized about them. Too many game reviews are just like yes-reports with too much gilding. Yet after playing Ghost Recon Online for some time, I’m afraid I have to say yes to it now in my own preview. Although based on my personal hands-on experience, I would try my best to be objective, and also like to listen to insightful views from professional shooter veterans.

Ghost Recon Online impresses me mostly with its intuitive team-oriented gameplay, the most striking feature that is designed even from the character creation phase. We could choose from three character classes, listed as Assault, Recon and Specialist. Each one is designed with an exclusive positive ability of its own plus a special passive bonus greatly helpful to teammates nearby in battles. Take my Recon fighter for instance. It is bestowed with the ability of scanning, which not only enables it per se to see through walls and areas within range to disclose all hidden enemies but also allows teammates standing nearby to share it.

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Both class-specific abilities and passive bonuses are really conducive to natural, mutual cooperation, offering engaging fighters a great sense of being part of an intimate Special Forces squad. During one fight, my recon applied the reconnaissance radar to expose all enemies, leaving them nowhere to hide; another playmate’s Assault soldier skillfully used his shield to block damages from all sides and meanwhile boosted the armor attribute of everyone (in our team) in the vicinity; and still another Specialist character in our team created energy filed nullifying enemy’s crossfire and disabling their special abilities for a temporary period. Through the visible blue lines underneath avatars, allies of the same group in close proximity are connected to share each other’s bonuses spontaneously and automatically.

To go with different character classes, a wide range of items are a necessity. During the beta test, 300 odds objects covering weapons, armors as well as accessories are on offer, with more to be added in the final version. While some items and abilities are reserved for specific classes, such as the scanner and clocking device for Recons and heavy shield and metal brace for Assaults, there are many objects that can also shared around the allies generously. For instance, the consumable grenades, once purchased, can be used not only by the active class (the buyer) but by the other two cooperative classes as well.

Teamwork is simple there, created out of the special abilities and various bonuses by themselves. Comparatively, the communication through the chat system, scarcely used, appears superfluous and a little redundant, for the cooperation and interaction can move on perfectly well without a single spoken word.

Like Blacklight Retribution, Ghost Recon Online proceeds quite quickly that it provides the fierce battleground to forge your character into an ultimate ghost. Passing through the tiered true-to-life scenarios (starting from a complicated construction site) in the game, you can rise to ranks and level up quickly, unlocking new equipment and skills one after another. In-game maps are not open-ended but somewhat linear with necessary side paths and flanking routes of course. Such a design forces our squad to mainly focus on how to break through the front line from cover-to-cover, and saves us lots of worries of being constantly shot from behind. Currently, the playable maps (and gaming mode on each one) are still limited, but to our delight, new battlegrounds are going to be released at intervals once it’s officially launched.

Basically, the game adopts a third-person perspective to allow you to get a panoramic viewpoint of what’s going on around. That also necessitates better sum-up the whole scene and more skillful and fluid operation in using a mouse and keyboard. While the game emphasizes on the third-person to generate an original tactical teamplay; yet still when you aim down sights to aim, it also generates a first-person sensibility.

No more about the game particulars and a few words about its business mode: free-to-play plus micro-transaction. I played the game smoothly with weapons and items won from playing, and gained a satisfactorily complete game experience. Of course, real money spent on it will bring about edges, such as temporary boost growth by 20%, accessory hats and new uniforms, extra inventory space and special ammos (like the grenade mentioned above) and so on. To quote words of Theo Sanders, Creative Director of the development studio, ‘If a player thinks he’s just died because the other guy is rich, then something dully went wrong.’ Personally, I think the game manage to keep the profit-craze at bay, presenting a balanced game that doesn’t let paid players to gain competitive advantages.

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