Welcome to the forums, LGDGRO, and thanks for posting the vids and annotations!
Many of the clips have been taken offline by now (as you have rightly guessed), but I have watched them (and other footage) and will try to voice an opinion. Of course, as a hardcore fan of the original Ghost Recon who already considered GRAW 1 & 2 to be much too watered down from the real thing, my preliminary enthusiasm for GR:O is severely limited by the fact that the game series bearing this title is moving further and further away from what Ghost Recon used to stand for. So before I can even start to provide feedback on GR:O, I feel some reminiscence and a look at the bigger picture is in order.The Lineage of Tactical Shooters
As a reminder, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon
(the real one) is the direct descendant of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six
(the real one - as this series has also been taking a turn for the worse since RvS) - commonly seen as the progenitor of the entire tactical shooter
genre. Ghost Recon took the tactical shooter to new heights by implementing real-time squad commands (as opposed to the pre-mission planning stages in R6) and introducing mid- and long-range enemy engagement on larger wide-open maps (in addition to the CQB elements already present in R6).
The game incorporated a ruthlessly realistic One-Shot-One-Kill philosophy with an effective wound and limping system (and no health regen) for the rare gunshot wound survivors - aspects that by themselves force players to be cautious and tactical from the get-go - and a uniquely unrestricted first-person perspective featuring minimal HUD elements and without even so much as a weapon view to distract from the wide-angle 90 degrees FOV (just 30 degrees shy of human binocular vision, sadly widescreen and HOR+
wasn't yet heard of back then) which pushed immersion to the point where it actually came close to proprioception (i.e. play original Ghost Recon and you'd swear that you can actually FEEL a bullet hit).
There's a myriad of additional reasons why the original Ghost Recon is so beloved and played to this very day, and many (obviously myself included) still consider it to be the greatest tactical shooter ever
. Quite an acclaim for a game from 2001, and motive for 10 years of relentless calling for a true successor
Having said all that, I think you may now better understand some of the rather antagonistic sentiment
brought against GR:O from diehard Ghost Recon fans. After all, the new game was announced with loads of PR lingo desperately trying to tie it to the original
(and you can even hear original GR's music in GR:O), yet you and I and everyone else familiar with the series know that it is hardly the primary intention of GR:O's development to please old-school hardcore Ghost Recon fans, but rather to get even more of the casual TPS players onboard with the brand.Arcade Shooter to the Rescue?Fool's Errand
Which finally brings me to feedback on GR:O. It is of course too late to altogether scrap third-person-perspective and cover system
from the game, both of which I consider absolute no-goes for any tactical shooter, because an over-the-shoulder Hollywood cam (that allows you to see what you shouldn't be able to see) will always stand squarely in the way of realism and immersion, and the fixed cover system not only ruins any attempt at realistic map design with its (apparent) requirement for waist-high walls/stacks of sand bags/chunks of rock/etc. everywhere (not to mention being an absolute nightmare for user-created maps and modding), but in combination with third-person-view also invites the camping-safely-while-peeking-over-cover gameplay as shown in the last video.
Augmented Demented Reality
But now that we've established that - due to fundamental design decisions - GR:O simply cannot be a tactical shooter anymore, we are free to salvage what we can to at least make it a TPS a little more attractive to Ghost Recon fans. As mentioned before, the first obvious candidate for improvement is to (at least optionally) get rid of those overbearing HUD and AR elements
that do nothing but cluttering up the player's narrow window into the game world. The unrealistic situational awareness of third-person POV is quite enough of a bane for immersion, and those visual crutches as constant reminders of playing an arcade game remove the player even more from the feeling of "being really there".A Galaxy Far Away
The same goes for the displayed science-fiction fantasy equipment like invisibility cloaks, force fields, x-ray vision, and those queer impenetrable riot shields (don't even get me started on the silly neon-lit uniforms). Not only do they bring (hopefully) unintentional comedy to a GR shooter, their utter absurdity also kills all remains of a claim on realism, thereby granting players the final excuse not to become immersed in the game at all. Needless to say, they also destroy all requirements for tactical gameplay - after all, invisibility, x-ray vision, and bullet-proof force fields have a good chance of trumping real-world tactics in the fight for survival. GR:O's "Free-2-Play" setup with purchasable weapon upgrades etc. will do its part to further shift the focus from rewarding tactical players to benefiting those who simply buy the best equipment, so at least make the sci-fi fantasy arsenal optional
.Squirt Guns Vs Superman
As the videos also show, getting hit by a bullet (once it finds its way through force fields to its invisible target) doesn't actually do much in terms of affecting the player. There's an impact sound (is there?) and if hit by an entire salvo of projectiles there may be some temporary blood-substitute on the camera's virtual lens for a split-second. Other than that, life just goes on for the most part. Only when hit point-blank by what appears to be an entire mag of ammunition on full-auto does a player actually go down and is out of commission for a brief moment, just to respawn a couple of seconds later. There is no incentive whatsoever to be careful, which translates to no incentive for tactical play at all, so everyone just runs-and-guns to their next demise. Please (again, at least optionally) bring back One-Shot-One-Kill plus wounds and limping
to help reintroducing conscious thought into gameplay.Sandbox or Shoebox
The devil-may-care attitude towards in-game death and resulting shoot'em up behavior is increased by the tiny and narrow maps. Dying and subsequent respawning never moves a player far from the center of action, so the penalty for spray-and-pray gameplay, repeatedly getting killed and respawning over and over, is minimal to non-existent. If all that you have to fear from death is the short delay of running a few steps down a narrow corridor again and again, why bother thinking of strategy - why bother to think at all? If you provide large and wide-open maps
that allow for remote spawn points, people will actually try not to get killed that often, even if just to avoid the long travel back into action. Another obvious benefit is that there would be more areas for opposing forces to collide, exchanging currently quite linear frontal assaults for emergent gameplay.Hopelessly Hoping
There are of course a lot more possible ways to lift GR:O another few inches towards the foot of real Ghost Recon's perennial pedestal, and if you study the forums here at GhostRecon.net or scour the web for fan feedback
you can undoubtably find thousands of additional suggestions and even pleas for future Ghost Recon development, starting the better part of a decade ago. But where has all this enthusiastic community feedback lead the series? For example, can you name even a single new feature in GR:O that is based on fan input? Just ONE?
Ubisoft willfully neglected us since they pillaged, plundered, and raped Tom Clancy's Red Storm Entertainment
back in 2000, and it was just by a lucky twist of fate that Ghost Recon's development was finished before RSE's last dying breath, before greed and incompetence slowly but surely turned both the legendary creator of the tactical shooter genre as well as its pinnacle achievements GR and R6 into a tragic farce. Since then, two once shining examples of gaming brands have been whored out to within an inch of their lives for the sake of making yet another quick buck again and again.
After almost 10 years of Ubisoft committing countless atrocities against a unique gaming philosophy and totally ignoring its fan base, it sure becomes increasingly difficult to try and see that captor of "intellectual property" clenching both Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six in its claws in anything but a negative twilight. For Ubisoft to rebuild some trust and sympathy within the fan community would take LOADS of convincing now, starting with a lot more open communication, but sadly very much still points to the contrary
And yet here we are, still clinging on to the few last fragile remnants of hope that someone somewhere inside Ubisoft's dark castle of ignorance might finally hear our desperate pleas and come out to shine a ray of light on our gloomy tactical niche in a world reigned by the blind mediocracy of consolitis-afflicted
arcade shooters. Please, folks, at least try to make this one semi-count as a Ghost Recon game