Eurogamer eventually got around to reviewing Ghost Recon Phantoms, unfortunately as is often the case with reviews, there are a few issues. In fact, we wonder if reviews of Ghost Recon Phantoms are even worth the time, isn’t a review something you read to decide if a game is worth spending your hard earned cash on (or your folk’s hard earned cash). Ghost Recon Phantoms being free to play, is a review even relevant? I mean, download and play the game for a couple of hours and make up your own mind!

Having said that, time is precious and if you can pull some information on whether a game is worth your TIME, never mind that it won’t cost you any money, then I guess a quick scan of a review could be worth it. Unless that is, if the review is unfairly harsh, and dissuades you from trying what is in essence a really good game, that could fill your evenings and weekends for a long time to come…. which brings us to Eurogamer’s review.

So let’s get to it, in a “They Said”, “We Say” type of fashion…

1. Eurogamer on futuristic weaponry

There’s that assault shield that makes you go all Benny Hill. There’s a bullet-deflecting force field that feels a bit 1950s sci-fi. There’s a microwave weapon which I wouldn’t take seriously even if it was in XCOM.”

What We Say

HELLO! This is Ghost Recon, you know, the series that always basis it’s arsenal on FUTURE tech, but not so far in the future as to make it slip into the realms of science fiction. Having trouble believing that this tech is actually in development, or even in active use? Google the Active Denial System Eurogamer, see, no need to retire for some XCOM, although, perhaps that’s more your level? So please, before slating a game, get your facts straight, and know the series. 

2. Eurogamer on impotent weapons

“The thing is, even with all this lurid fetishisation, many of the guns are remarkably impotent. This is a game in which you can and will shoot a man twice in the back of the head with an assault rifle and watch him walk away..”

What We Say

Ghost Recon Phantoms uses an incredibly complex array of algorithms to calculate the hit damage of every round fired. Which in my case is sometimes a rather quick calculation because the hit damage of fresh air is nil no matter what concoction of weapon and attachments I may have meticulously put together. There are some guys posting on Ubisoft’s forums that I swear must have advanced maths diplomas as they explain the weapon, armour and ammunition stats and how they combine to arrive at hit damage. ANYWAY, back to Eurogamer’s, point. Shot in the back of the head and survived?! Surely Not?!! Uhm, Google it, there’s almost 2 million results.

Oh wait, Eurogamer said shot TWICE in the head, my bad. But wait, Granny survives being shot in the head twice! Case rested.

3. Eurogamer on GUI issues

” Problems arise when the game decides that, no, you can’t look down your sights when you’re too close to an obstacle, so moving back and forth in cover can give you quite jarring jumps between first- and third-person. The many labels on your HUD can also be invasive and more than a few times I’ve found a player name, a wire-frame corpse or a text overlay obscuring the already quite small part of an enemy soldier that I want to insert my bullets into. Quite often, I’ll dive into cover and find the word CLIMB floating in front of my face, as if the very walls are shouting at me with all the urgency of Brian Blessed.

What We Say

I’m not sure how many hours I have logged on Phantoms, but it’s a lot. And without a word of a lie, Eurogamer, you have given an entire paragraph in a short review to issues that are so minor and so infrequent that I have never even noticed them.  Okay, maybe the sights thing a couple of times, but have you tried to lift an assault rifle when it’s stuck between your belly and concrete cover before? Back up dude!

4. Eurogamer on Weapon Tiers

” Presumably to avoid any serious imbalance, higher-tier weapons don’t confer that much of an advantage

What We Say

Presumably you have never come up against anyone with a P90, or ventured into the Ubisoft forums where hordes of gamers or constantly complaining that the P90 is over powered in a 36 page thread. But no, Eurogamer, you have not experienced this, because you have reviewed this game before gaining the level of competence that would pit you against the top tier of player, and weaponry. You see, the matchmaking system that Ubisoft launched with Ghost Recon Phantoms avoids pitching players against players who are using significantly higher tier weapons – it makes for a more enjoyable game, yah see? At ease, soldier, you’re still learning.

5. Eurogamer on Gameplay

” If you’re content with the unremarkable combat, then fair enough.

What We Say

And that’s it. That’s Eurogamer’s sum total opinion and description of Ghost Recon Phantoms gameplay, TWO WORDS. Nothing about how if your team is going to win, it’s going to have to play as a team and not a group of run and gun individuals. Nothing about how your team is going to have to balance the number of each class in order to support their team-mates with their individual strengths as they push the enemy back. “Unremarkable combat”, really?

5. Eurogamer's Final Score

” 5/10

What We Say

5/10? Seriously? FIVE out of TEN? Let’s take a second here. The game cost’s NOTHING to play. Even the freebie aside, nobody can say it is not an extremely polished shooter, in fact, it is better than a lot of  shooters that cost real money. 5 is for a flawed game, 5 is for a broken game, 5 is for a game that fails to draw you in, 5 is a game that the developers have no intention of supporting. Ghost Recon Phantoms is none of those. The real shame is that a review such as this might just dissuade someone from downloading Phantoms and giving it a go, and the loser there is not Eurogamer, it’s gamers.

And as if to prove my point, up steps Eurogamer’s first commenter

Commenter Psi

Of course, you can use real money to buy a separate currency which can also unlock all the weapons and gear”

I’m out!

What We Say

Nooooooooooooo [echo to fade], come back Psi! I hope you lot are sitting down, because it is ENTIRELY feasible to play Phantoms without spending any real money. In fact, I’ll go one step further, it is feasible to play, enjoy and WIN at Phantoms without even upgrading your weapon AT ALL! But how can this be, surely you jest Rocky? You make an untruth to draw us into this game!

Actually no, I know this to be true because as an experiment that is exactly how I have played Phantoms, and I am still using the stock Recon weapon, stock armour, everything exactly as it was when I was a Lvl 1 Beginner. And guess what? I’m still, occasionally, finishing top as MVP and top in class. So please, don’t anybody think that in order to enjoy Phantoms, you are going to have to spend money. You don’t.

Still don’t believe me….

Commenter Firemonkey

I really enjoy it and haven’t felt the need to spend any money so far (I’ve been playing it for over 2 months now including during the beta).

Even without spending any money I quite often found if I worked hard I could end up at the top of the leader-boards against people that obviously had.

The combat is great when you treat it as it is and slowly push forward with your team mates. This is definitely not a fast paced run and gun game.

5 is too harsh. Seems like a 7 to me and as it’s free, then that’s a better value for money 7 then some of the full priced games out there

What We Say

Thank you.

If the Free to Play but Pay to Win mentally is really grinding you (forgive the pun), take the $30 you would normally spend on a game, and spend in on ‘nades and weapons. There, feel better now?

So have I been too harsh on Eurogamer being too harsh on Ghost Recon Phantoms? I don’t think so 😉