Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Phantoms, which was previously known as Ghost Recon Online during its beta test phase, launched two weeks ago. Being part of the Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon franchise, it is no shocker that this is yet another third-person shooter. What is new is that this is the first multiplayer action of the franchise that’s available for free. Currently Phantoms is out for PC but a Wii U version is also being developed as we speak.
Ghost Recon Online, also known as GRO, puts the player in a third-person perspective during an online multiplayer active war zone. All-in-all, the beta of the game lasted for about 21 months which is extremely lengthy for a free to play game but according to producer Corey Facteau, this enabled Ubisoft to work with 5 million people who closely collaborated with the development team, resulting in huge improvements in some very important aspects of the game. This included a name change upon launch. The name change from Ghost Recon Online to Ghost Recon Phantoms made a few heads turn around. Is this a new game? In a way it is as Ghost Recon Phantoms has a new identity and a new look, with new character designs that look far more modern and badass at the same time and new device designs for all three classes. With the launch of Ghost Recon Phantoms also comes a complete redesign of the lightning and level design which should improve the tactical aspect of the game.
Gameplay and Graphics
At first glance the gameplay feels a little bulky and clumsy because the moments of your character doesn’t seem to flow as well as it should and the kickback from your weapons is enormous. This provides a difficult gameplay for any type of player and a very steep learning curve, for both new players as more advanced players with previous experience in shooters. The foundation of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Phantoms does seem similar with that of Counter Strike Global Offensive with more detailed graphics and a heavy focus on the HUD instead of the gameplay itself.
There are three unique classes you can choose from, which seems like it’s not enough but since each class has hundreds of possible combinations from weapons and weapon customization to soldier outfits such as tactical suits and headgears, having three classes is enough for now. Upgrading your soldier means that you can personalize it to your own gamestyle which is always a positive feature. With a free to play game this means that these upgrades can be bought with two kinds of credits, the AC credits which you will earn by simply playing the game and the Ghost Credits (GC) which are the premium credits of Ghost Recon Phantoms which you will need to buy via micro transactions. The game itself does not feel like it’s pay-to-win but when you look at the stats of the weapons you can buy, it does make it feel like you will have a disadvantage if you don’t make use of the Ghost Credits.
In Ghost Recon Phantoms, the focus lies on teamwork and this is reflected in the types of game modes. Currently there are three game modes available, each requiring a different approach when it comes down to teamwork. There is Conquest where both teams have to capture and hold a series of five strategic points, next up is Onslaught where the attacking team will need to attempt to steal three capture points from the defenders and last, there is Holdout where two teams rush to a single capture point. As you can see, there is too much focus on capturing bases strategy modes while there are plenty of other game modes where you require teamwork in order to succeed such as Capture The Flag, Search & Destroy and Control Points modes.
Considering that this is a free to play title, the graphics are certainly outstanding but they don’t seem to be able to blow anyone’s mind. The map design and cover system however are so carefully planned that the entire design of the game feels somewhat unbalanced. My initial thought was that there is too much going on in your HUD and it tends to take your focus away from your enemies.
While the gameplay feels clumsy, the controls are the complete opposite. They’re very responsive and everything can be remapped to your own style. Taking cover is extremely easy, possibly a bit too easy as the piece of wall you are standing against will literally light up, stating that you can take cover here. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Phantoms does not have controller support but you should be able to bypass this by using a profiler such as xPadder which simulates the keyboard and mouse controls using your gamepad.
Ghost Recon Phantoms is certainly a good way to have a break from the classic first person shooters such as Call of Duty and Battlefield. Its focus lies on teamwork and this can be seen in the type of game modes but by having the focus on capture game modes, they provide a game that won’t be liked for every type of player.