Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Online review
Underneath the excellent ideas and interesting features, Ghost Recon Online is a deep game held back by an assortment of problems. This isn’t to say that the game is bad per se, however, the problems are big enough to present potential annoyances as well as prevent any longevity to the game. Luckily, the game’s online infrastructure allows it to be updated like any other online game and some of the problems will hopefully be alleviated. Even so Ghost Recon Online is a shooter marred by the poor execution of great potential.
Just like the predecessors in the franchise, Ghost Recon Online adapts an over-the-shoulder third-person shooting perspective. Running around the map is fairly simple given its standard PC control set up. You have the ability to walk or run when you’re standing up as well as choosing to crouch or go prone. The game is all about tactical positioning and maneuvering and it encourages to do that. All of the maps have some sort of nook and cranny to hide yourself behind if you want to go prone. In addition there are various objects on the map to crouch behind as well. Movement overall feels very solid.
If you’re running throughout the map you have the option to click the space bar which will make your character dive forward and if there is cover in front of you, immediately hide behind it. This diving mechanic saves lives and really keeps the pace of the game fluid, with no odd transitional movements or extra stuff bogging you down from, “Oh I gotta run all the way and click another button to take cover.” Taking cover is a fairly interesting concept in GRO as it gives you certain stats. While moving around and shooting will give you much larger recoil, precision of bullets, and critical hit rates - bonus damage - shooting behind cover will minimize those effects. This encourages less run and gun and more of that tactical positioning. It also prevents players from zerging to objective locations. Rather, it requires teammates to slowly push forward using cover. It’s much more engaging to know that you’re moving across as a team than being a mindless force pushing ever onwards.
To further promote that team effort, GRO has an extremely useful mechanic which groups nearby teammates. There will be blue imaginary lines that come out and extend to nearby friendlies. It will reveal their position and their health even if i you can’t see them. Additionally, if the ally that is connected to you spots an enemy you can see the outlinings of the enemy running across the map, even if there are obstructions blocking your view. This quintessential mechanic makes group play very exciting as well as intriguing. It creates a new breed of coordination and teamwork as the best group will exploit this system to have no blind spots and keep an eye on their teammates. Numerous times I was able to hunt someone down with my teammates and corner them because someone else saw the enemy.
Despite all of the tools that GRO gives to the player for their usage, it’s extremely limited in other aspects of the game. There are only four available maps at the present moment and they all have a built-in mode: Conquest or Onslaught. Conquest is a fairly simple gametype wheretwo teams vye for a capture point. Once one team has captured a point, they will move forward to the next zone while the team that lost the point will be pushed back. Essentially it’s a tug of war in which two teams must compete for the most captured points at the end of the round, and subsequently the end of the game. Onslaught is similar in that one team is defending and the other is on the offensive. The latter team must capture point A and B. After these are seized they will unlock point C, which must also be caught to win the round. The former team must prevent these from happening and succeeding to do so will win them the round. The following round the two teams will switch roles and whoever wins the best two out of three wins the game.