It was really not shocking that Ubisoft were making a special online version of their beloved and huge selling Ghost Recon series. What was surprising is the fact that they were making this a free to play game. Well actually even more surprising than that was that this game was supposedly coming to the Wii U as well! But yeah let's not talk about that.
Quite often people are a little unsure of when one of the big publishers does a free to play game as they expect to get stuck with some major in game purchases to get the best out of the game. But Ubisoft may very well have broken that trend and gave us a really solid free to play shooter. That can actually be enjoyed even if you do not spend a penny.
Does Free = Half Assed Presentation?
No. Ok so I guess you want more than that. But Ghost Recon Online is a fairly decent looking game. It's not going to blow you away, but it could easily be mistaken for an Xbox Live Arcade game or something like that. It may not make your jaw drop, but it's certainly easy enough on the eyes. Now the first few maps that were released when the game first dropped may have not been to hot and they did all kind of look the same, but the later maps that were added have changed things up a bit and are much better designed.
The main downside in the games presentation is that you really cannot change the look of your character. You cannot change simple things like skin colour for example. You can't even put your own emblem on their sleeve. It is a free to play game so having just the same basic character models had to be a cost cutting measure, but having a little choice when it came to how your character looked would have been nice.
The sound really is really well done. The weapons have a nice and meaty sound to them when you are firing off rounds it really does sound quite powerful and make you feel like you are holding a weapon with some serious power. But the best thing about the sound is the footsteps. This may sound weird, but the game has some really amazing footstep sounds. In a game that is all about trying to get the drop on your opponents you can if you are quiet enough hear someone making their way towards you which is really cool.
So while the game does not come anywhere close to matching the presentational quality of say a Call of Duty or Battlefield game. As far as free to play games go you really cannot say to many negative things about the way Ghost Recon Online looks.
How Does The Game Play?
Well it's actually a really fun game to play. Let's say right away that you will not find tons and tons of content in this game like you would a full on retail release, but there is more than enough here to keep you happy.
There are three different classes in the game for you to chose from. Recon, Assault and Specialist are what you will be given to chose from. Now three classes may seem a little limited, but it is the way that these classes work together that make the game so much fun. Each class has a few different special abilities. For example the Assault class has a skill called Blitz. This will allow you to just storm in and do some serious damage before your opponents even know what the hell has happened. Those playing as Recon have a really cool ability called Oracle. What this does when activated is let you see the outlines of enemies who are hiding behind walls. Specialist have a bunch of cool abilities to play with the most notable is a sort of bubble that acts as a shield for you and whomever in your team is near you.
Now what makes this game so much fun is that while you can just run off and do your own thing and leave your teammates to it. It is so much fun if you work together. For example having one of you playing as a Recon and using your Oracle ability to show where the enemy is and then get a couple of players playing as the Assault class to just run in there and clean house. The different abilities are really fun on their own, but its learning to use them with your teammates that makes the game so much fun.
Depending on how you look at it there is a downside to the class system in Ghost Recon Online. And that is you cannot change your class during a match. You have to wait until you die to change. This is not game breaking or anything, but for some players this may seem very odd. On the other hand though it does force players to stick with a certain class for at least a little while. Also there is no limit to the amount of a certain class can be on a team. So expect on occasion to be playing against a team of nothing but Recon class all of whom are snipers. But part of the fun is finding a way around a situation like this. The classes are balanced well enough that each one does have something that trumps the others.
The matches in Ghost Recon Online are far more methodical than say what Call Of Duty has on offer. But the fact that as of writing there are under ten maps may put some people off. The first batch of four maps were not that great, but Ubisoft like we mentioned before did rectify this with better designed maps that are not as linear and full of great places to hide and create ambushes.
Just Keep Your Wallet In Your Pocket
No doubt many of you have been waiting for the part where we tell you that in order to get the best out of this game you will need get your wallet out and buy all the best weapons. Many of these free to play games end up being pay to win as those with the deepest pockets will the majority of the time be unbeatable.
Thankfully Ghost Recon Online is one of the most fair games when it comes to buying stuff in the game. It is possible to play this game without ever spending penny and still be able to compete with those players who like to flash their cash. You see pretty much everything in the game can be unlocked by levelling up and using the in game currency. As well as this even if you want to just buy items using real money. The game will still make you level up before you can by certain items. So people cannot just jump in one day spend fifty bucks and have everything. Ubisoft have done a great job here in showing other developers how to make a fair free to play game.
Overall Ghost Recon Online is a great experience. As a free game you really cannot have any complaints what so ever. The few updates that have happened since the game launched have just made it run smoother and smoother. If you are looking for a really fun game to play online then this one right here is well worth your time.
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