Modder's e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org (say thanks you bozos!)
Reviewed by Rocky
File size : 240 Mb
Required : Ghost Recon, Desert Siege, Island Thunder
Frostbite is a Full Expansion Pack for Ghost Recon. It has everything an Official Expansion from Ubi Soft might have, except it is fan made, and it is totally free. The modding team is headed up by El Oso, and includes work from established Ghost Recon modders such as Neutron, Bajabravo, Don Miguel, Harntrox and Piccolo amongst others, and new Ghost Recon mapper, Sleeper.
Frostbite is an 8 mission campaign based on all new maps with all new missions. There are 12 new weapons, and 4 new vehicles such as two-men snowmobiles and a M113 armoured personnel carrier.
There is new winter camo for the Ghosts, and new Russian and Norwegian characters. There are 5 new multiplayer maps included, bringing the new map count up to 12 (one map features twice in the campaign).
A host of game types were supplied by Harntrox that will add longevity to the multiplayer experience that Frostbite offers.
Finally, there is even a neat launcher tool coded by Don Miguel that ensures the mod is installed and launches correctly.
Three people were responsible for the maps in Frostbite - El Oso, Neutron and Sleeper. I found everyone of the maps to excel in at least one area, and every one of them offered not only glorious scenery, but challenging and fun gameplay. Hardly surprising considering that some of these maps were worked on for in excess of 7 months!
One thing they all had in common was they were a joy to wander through, they are really beautiful, and only go to prove what a missed opportunity it was that Ubi Soft never released a "Snow" Expansion for Ghost Recon. As if the visual spender was not enough, Neutron selected some cracking soundtracks that add to the mood and really put the icing on the cake for me.
Two things I noted about the viewing distance and fog; Firstly, on some maps the viewing distance is terrific with almost no fogging at all, which is going to be a total joy for snipers. Infact one of the maps "Snipers Nest" will probably be worth the download on its own for sniper fans. Perched high above a sprawling snowscape Ghost Recon Snipers will have the time of their lives.
Secondly, where there is the fogging we are used to seeing in Ghost Recon, it was not nearly as obvious, and because of the white snowscape it actually enhanced the whole experience. So rather than being an annoyance, it actually adds to the ambiance and whole "Frostbite" scenario. Or in simpler terms, it's plain kewl.
There are many neat touches, like a very nice rotating radar dish and large ice ponds (make sure you take a close look under the surface!), but what really impressed me was the majesty of some of the maps, they were like a scene out of an old war movie, like Where Eagles Dare, and when that atmospheric music starts the nerves really will kick in!
Some of the multiplayer maps are going to lend themselves very nicely to particular games. Bunkers for example is going to be fantastic for Siege games. Talking about Bunkers, the infamous Bunkers map from Mike Schell that has never been released - has been worked on and included with the 5 multiplayer maps - and what a blast that one is on Firefight!
Finally, do not think that because each map is based in a snowscape that they are all going to look familiar. Thanks to some superb lighting work by the mappers each map looks a little different, and some look alot different. Winter Wilderness is the final map in the campaign, (although I think it was the first one El Oso produced), and it is truly beautiful. The first time we saw it at GhostRecon.net we immediately thought of the amazing scenery that games like Riven in the Myst series produce. Sleeper's map gives off a chilling blue, another great map that will see your Ghosts knee deep in snow if you are not careful.
I have probably written twice as much as I usually recommend including in a Review, (and I really want to say more about some of them) that should go someway to telling you how impressed I am with these maps.
Maps are all well and good, but without a decent mission or multiplayer game type the longevity is severely restricted. Longevity is something the modding team has obviously put some thought into though, so no worries on that score.
In the Single Player campaign for example, El Oso has included random mission objectives - so until you have inserted, you may not know exactly what you are up against, so be equipped for anything!
In Multiplayer the awesome game types from Harntrox are going to provide hours, days, weeks and months of enjoyment on these maps.
Weapons and Camo
When you see names like Bajabravo, Wolfsong and Piccolo on the Credit list you know you are in for a treat in the weapons and camo department. The camo looks great, infact it's so good that at times I found myself almost walking blindly into the enemy before downing them with a panic spray of ammo. From the AG3 to the HK weapons, they all look great and add yet more depth to the pack.
If you have skipped straight to this Conclusion, shame on you, your download isn't finished for another 2 hours anyway! If you have read the full review you'll already know I loved the atmospheric and well designed maps, I loved the missions with their random objectives, and I loved pretty much everything else too.
So what are you going to score a fan made Expansion Pack that provides everything you'd expect to see in an Official Expansion pack, plus more, and is available for free download? Yep, for the second time this year I find myself awarding a Ghost Recon mod full marks, and I do not have a moments hesitation in doing so.
Congrats to the whole Frostbite team - 10/10.
Edited by Rocky, 04 August 2008 - 09:39 PM.