Better tactics the key to winning local shooter game
TWO years ago, the local studio of French gaming giant Ubisoft unveiled the beta of its first video game conceptualised and produced from the ground up in Singapore, Ghost Recon Online.
It finally launched worldwide on Tuesday and will be available as a free download via Steam (www.steampowered.com).
Renamed Ghost Recon Phantoms, it has gone through several changes that have added more maps, improved the artwork, overhauled the player matchmaking system and added a new weapon-customising system.
But the gameplay stays true to its original intention: to be a tactical shooter focusing on capturing hard points on the map, instead of a run-and-gun shooter focusing more on the kills your team achieves vis-a-vis your opponents.
To capture a hard point, your team needs to have more soldiers inside the capture zone than your opponents.
Because the game works on a cover-based system, you cannot simply charge headlong into the enemy. They will take you out in seconds from behind cover. If the enemy team has already captured the zone, your team needs to devise a strategy to take them out.
Typically, it will take advanced technology to push into your rival's well-defended zone. The recon's cloak ability renders you invisible for short spells, making you ideal for flanking the enemy and taking out unsuspecting soldiers.
But it is the special abilities of the support class (previously called specialist class) - creating a bubble shield that blocks bullets from penetrating, and the Blackout special attack which unleashes a powerful electromagnetic pulse which temporarily disables all of the enemy's weapons - that make it an essential part of a successful penetration into enemy zone.
The assault-class guys have the biggest guns and the heaviest armour. They have two special abilities - a special charge attack with their shields that knocks down enemies, and firing powerful microwaves which temporarily disable their enemies.
The recon units are the most fragile but they have sniper rifles to take out enemies from a distance. They also have the ability to scan the surroundings and detect the presence of enemies around them, even those in hiding. This is the only way to detect cloaked soldiers.
The new weapon-modding system offers customisation for your favourite guns.
Switching to a longer barrel gives your gun greater range but less power. With multiple parts of a gun to customise, you can custom-mod your favourite weapon to suit your distinct gameplay.
Ghost Recon Phantoms is a shooter for the thinking man. But it is the teams with the better tactics and communications that usually win the match at the end of the day.