This summer I’m attempting to play mostly Free to Play (F2P) video games. These articles will be my impressions, opinions and experience on the matter. And of course, as the best judge of a F2P game, I tell you if I was happy enough with the game to pay for premium content.
Second game is Ghost Recon online, it’s just started open beta, so this is my first impressions.
Title : Ghost Recon Online
Developer : Ubisoft Singapore
Publisher : Ubisoft
Engine : Custom
Released : August 2012 (Open Beta)
Genre : Third-Person Shooter (Competitive Multiplayer)
Style : Near-Future Modern-Warfare
Time Played : 1-2 hours
Premium content bought : No
Perhaps I just don’t like third person shooters, but the cover-based gameplay in this game didn’t feel cohesive to usual PC gameplay.
The cover based shooting is somewhat hit-and-miss in this game, the
Weapons are grossly inaccurate, this is perhaps to encourage covering fire tactics, but in my experience, it simply choked any well-paced action in matches. Even with the accuracy bonuses from cover, Assault rifles didn’t seem to have any additional effective range over what an SMG would have in other games. In fact, I only enjoyed playing the game when playing as a sniper, it’s not my strongest tactic in shooters either.
When re-spawning, you’re sent to the edge of the map, which is devoid of activity, and it usually took a good 30-40 seconds to get back to where the action was taking place. The turnaround times from dying to getting back in the action were so slow this felt like a round-based game at times.
Regenerating health, I’m not against it as such, and I feel it works just as well as any other health mechanic. In ghost Recon Online, you have regenerating health, but the rate of regeneration is about 1hp/s, when you’re on 60/140hp, you’re forced to run out of the action zone and duck behind cover for ridiculous amounts of time, and acquaint yourself with the wall you’re cowering behind. The result was slow paced game, overcrowded with snipers and cowardly tactics.
All-in-all? gameplay was so sparse of interest I usually found myself glad to stop playing when using anything other than the sniper class. Ghost recon online offers nothing new, and little that other Free-to-play games can’t.
In brief, the weapon customisation is a nice touch, but way below the level I would have hoped, on most of the guns I was able to acquire in early gameplay, the customisation options were mostly muzzles, scopes, and a single extended magazine per weapon. Attachments were weapon limited, so you couldn’t get the bizarre weapons you got on Blacklight Retribution, and there were no deep customisation options like in Ghost Recon Online’s premium counterpart, Future Soldier.
Free vs Premium fairness
Again, I didn’t get much experience with this, but as far as I’m aware, premium currency cannot bypass level-locked content. Combined with the fact that servers keep similar levelled players together, the game felt very fair.
“Not above the call of duty” would be the phrase I would use. The graphics are reasonable, console-quality perhaps, and perhaps evidence that free-to-play is being taken seriously by AAA developers. However, smaller studios have produced far nicer looking free-to-play games.
I didn’t get an extended look at the premium content, but premium currency won’t bypass level locks, and rather than a time-based purchase, the inventory system appears to be hold-one-of-each-type, which seems fairer.
Prices? €5 would get you 800 of the premium currency, enough for a weapon-full of attachments and some more powerful ammo (a recurring purchase as you use the ammo). It doesn’t seem hugely unreasonable, but I’ve seen better.
From what I’ve played, a surprisingly fair economy is spoiled by a generally poor gameplay experience. it’s worth checking out if you like Third person shooters, but I’d direct you to games with Pay-to-win economies before ones with gameplay as dull as this.
I’d rate this 6/10,
reasonable, and saving this game could be a matter of thorough tuning, but as it stands, nowhere near the standard of a competent modern shooter.