Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Online review
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For a tactical team-based game, Conquest and Onslaught make sense. In fact, they are great modes and really capture the essence of what GRO is going for. Sadly, these two modes are the only ones in the game meaning you’ll play the same thing over and over again which makes GRO extremely repetitive. To further add to the repetition, the four maps are locked with the mode so there’s no diversity at all. It’s extremely disappointing and frustrating.
Before you join a game though you have the option to deck out your character as well as your guns. There are three pre-set classes to choose from and each have their own type of guns you can use: Assault, Recon, and Specialist. Each can use two primary type of guns such as the Assault being able to use assault rifles and shotguns while the Recon can only use sniper rifles and SMGs. You can easily bring up the store where you can buy guns, customization features, and consumables with either real money or in-game money - which can be earned by playing matches. Many of these commodities and extras are available to purchase using your in-game expenses or real life monetary means. However, this poses the problem of pay-to-win and can sometimes create real imbalanced situations.
While customization seems like it’s expansive, it’s really not considering how you go about acquiring new guns. In the store there are a variety of guns but you cannot unlock them unless your class has met the designated level requirement; leveling up means you have to use the class in games. By the time you finish upgrading the gun you’re currently using, a better gun will be available to you for purchase. It’s an odd system and the way progression is handled is very awkwardly.
To further add to the problems, the classes level exclusively to each other creating odd dichotomies between the three classes. If you want to unlock that super awesome assault rifle, you have to play using solely the assault class. It makes sense on paper but it’s weird considering that there are three individual leveling systems you have to keep track of and switching between them in various games just makes it feel like you’re downgrading.
The visual style of the game is fairly simplistic. There aren’t extremely detailed textures and the game doesn’t set the new benchmark for a technical powerhouse. Even so, it looks very pretty. The outlines of allies and enemies glow, the light bounces off of the ground and walls wonderfully, and colors fly off everywhere. The audio has the technical grittiness with static being most prevalent in the announcer’s voice. Guns sound like they have impact and are differentiated with each other from the low sounds of the sniper to the high pitch of a pistol. It’s all good.
Ghost Recon Online aims to be a fantastic game and at its core, it is. However, numerous problems such as odd customization features and lack of gameplay features hold it back. GRO has many interesting ideas that sets it apart from its shooting competitors but sadly lacks the execution to make the game wholly interesting and a great experience. Sadly, the end result is a watered down shooting game that offers some interesting ideas for a couple of hours but don't hold your interest for long. The game has definite potential, but as it stands right now, it's just not there yet.