Ghost Recon Online PC Beta Review
Peter Donnell / 335 days ago
The Ghost Recon franchise has been with us for a good few years now, the Tom Clancy games have been with us even longer and while both have had their hits and misses the two franchises have had pretty good success overall, so I was surprised to see Ghost Recon go the route of free-to-play, lucky for me I was accepted for the beta to this as yet unreleased game.
I’m a big fan of the Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (GRAW) games personally, I’m not particularly good at them, but I enjoy the unique and tactical opportunities they present to me as a gamer non the less, they’re a real thinking man’s shooter.
While the game is still in beta on the PC it is fully playable, as Ubisoft tweak and develop the game till it reaches a standard they are happy with as they also aim to release this game on the upcoming Nintendo Wii U at some point later this year or early next year. With the same development team working on both edition at the same time, who have said that once the PC edition is complete they will shift over that blue print to the Wii U version.
The game is built on a micro-transaction business model, while there is more than enough to keep you entertained on a budget of nothing, you can always apply little amounts of your own money towards the game for upgrades and cosmetic items, while I didn’t feel the need to do so my self, I do like that the option exsists, not only is this how the developers will one day make their money from the game, but it also means you can tailer your experience to your own preferences and playing style.
As with any online shooter you will find the usual level grinding mechanics to be in place, with experience awarded on a per game basis, allowing you to unlock upgrades and customisation options as you progress.
As with any tactical based shooter character classes play a big part of the game play, given you the choice of Ghost: Assault, Recon and Specialist, each with a main ability that gives perks to any team mates who a near by, each with their own set of customizable weapsons, futuristic military technology and advanced intel system.
The main intel feature that stands out is a simple blue outline, from anywhere on the battlefield you can see an outline of your team mates, even if they are on the other side of a wall, allowing you to plan your assault and storm enemy locations, should you not be able to locate your team, for example if they are off screen or simply behind you a handy straight blue line is drawn from your characters body that points to your team mate, meaning you always have the best tactical knowledge in a game, but of course, so does the enemy team.
Team play is a very important feature in this title, while you can go your own way, much like you can in any online shooter, there are definitely benefits to working together, due to the way the player perks and the tactical info system works its much easier to stick together in a group and assist each other in your mission.
You’ll also find a very intuitive cover system in this game, something that is missing from games like Battlefield 3, allowing you to sneak up against walls, the mandatory chest high walls, or just lay in the prone position to give you the most stable shooting angle and level of cover dependant on your location on the battle field, or of course just to hide when your getting a beating.
Graphics are another big part of this game, the GRAW franchise was well known for being a fantastic looking game and Ghost Recon Online is no different, while at the moment I think it lacks that little bit of extra polish, it is still either on par or a little above what you will find in similar titles such as Battlefield play-for-free, but regardless of the fact that there are better looking games on the market, this is still a fantastic looking game and the effort the developers have put into the engine really shines through.
So overall I’m really happy with what Ubisoft are trying to do here, with free-to-play games gaining more and more traction this year, not to mention making more and more money for the developers, its great to see premium franchises like this cutting into the same business model, and with games like Hawken, Mech Warrior online and about a 100 other amazing looking titles still to come out on the free-to-play model this year, that are all brimming with the same high level of quality its going to be tricky to pick which ones are worth your time and which ones are not.
Fortunately Ghost Recon Online shines out and thanks to its unique 3rd person tactical play style and its already well established fan base, history and game mechanics this title is sure to be a hit, so I highly recommend you head over to the official site and see if you can get your self on the Beta sooner rather than later.
Thanks to its great gameplay, excellent multi-player, smooth matchmaking features and even the fact that it has integrated social features rather well all add up to why I am awarding this title our Gamers Choice Award.