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What Makes Ghost Recon So Immersive?


What makes Ghost Recon immersive?  

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I still don't know why this game is so immersive. Is it the FOV? Possibly. The sounds? COD1 had the best sounds ever and wasn't this immersive, so no. Is it the difficulty of the AI, even at veteran? IDK, the loss of control when you get shot and live? Possibly. I honestly have no idea, but I would probably say, if I had to guess, that it's the combination of sound, FOV (HIGHLY overlooked), sound and consequences for being hit. Plus the soul switching. Even though people complain that it's not realistic, or even ANTI-IMMERSION, it removes you from the now lifeless body. The pulse pounding reaction when you die is gone, to an extent, but the fact that you move to another live person removes frustration to an extent, but instills fear in you to be either more careful, lest you die, or rush in guns blazing and just hit them hard. That's a decision you HAVE to make. But that's not the point I'm making, the decisions. I'm trying to pin the immersion. But yeah, if I had to guess I'ld go with my above statement.

On FOV, GR gives you a 90Ëš peripheral vision, even at a 4:3 aspect ratio. Yes, there is some distortion, but it gives you a VERY realistic sense of peripheral. It is not the standard 60Ëš FOV that most games give you.

What do you think? :hmm:

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Excellent question, Snake! And I am hard-pressed to answer it by simply clicking two of the options you offer. Your post elaborates additional aspects, but I'm still not entirely sure if it sums it up completely. I am also far too tired now to get my thoughts in gear sufficiently to undertake the required tasks, so I'll sleep on this one before my attempt to answer. :thumbsup:

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The one option that I feel I severely overlooked, was the responsiveness of the game. That is the most common thing I feel lacking in games nowadays. When I move my mouse/analog stick to aim, or try to walk forward s step or two, I want that to happen immediately, and not have to play around forever. This works in GR, but in games without a conefire system, it just doesn't work.

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I think there's more to it than that, although all the above elements are contributary.

the following all play a major role too, methinks:

Freedom of movement and an often open mission structure

when the a team member dies the rest try to carry on and try to complete it (no hero character), this keeps the gameplay dynamic in SP as you really want to keep the rest of your squad alive (they represent 5 lives you may need and are not just cannon fodder)

the feeling of being connected to the game, as opposed to playing small sections in between cinematics and exposition

I'm sure there's more to it though :D

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I know there HAS to be more to it than what's been mentioned though... Did RSE pour the souls of soldiers into each game disk, invoking an immersing experience that affects heart rhythms? LOL The only other 2 games that I've ever played that created the heartbeat-skipping arial maneuvers to your person have been Doom 3, and FEAR. No, I'm not saying that the Ghost in Ghost Recon has some demonic power to it (ROFL) but there is something very powerful in the game that separates it from all other shooters I've ever played, outside of the try to make you crap your pants horror games. The RSE team poured their hearts into this game, for sure.

On a more serious note, and in response to ya, Phlook, I know that's part of it, but why does my heart skip that beat lol. I feel that the topics you mentioned are key to the GR experience, but it's something that makes the game enjoyable and yet intense, perhaps is just a perfect gaming equation that RSE burned after they made Ghost Recon. Yes, the fact that the entire game is FPS/in engine is a major key to this Phlook, as you mentioned.

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While I voted for being shot and sounds (listen to the game with headphones honestly and not neccessarily 5.1 sound and it takes on a different atmosphere).

I also think the game engine plays a part in it too. There is something about the homegrown RSE engine that imparts a really noticeable feel to a game and that adds to the immersion to me.

The choices you posted are but a few of the reasons as to why GR immerses you in the game and alone don't do much but when added together, along with the other things gives us that what we miss in the newer games.

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...you really want to keep the rest of your squad alive (they represent 5 lives you may need and are not just cannon fodder)
True.

The somewhat anonymous nature of you and your teammates, along with the way you/they gain experience (and clusters) during the campaign (or Trilogy) creates a situation where you care about the other guys, and want to see them thru it, without resorting to the unlocked specialists or human wave attacks, is high up on my list.

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I think the open maps is part of it - you really feel like you are moving into the unknown...unlike a COD for example.

When I think of COD4 or GRAW on console - everytime you complete an objective, a scripted CrossCom shows on your hud - "Hey soldier, something ELSE terrible has just happened!!! You need to get your ass there now!!" = immersion gone for me.

I want to feel like its me out there and my men - the mission is in our hands, we planned it, we live and die by our actions.

GR FOV seemed to be effective.

The one shot kills - if you were lucky enough to survive you knew that death could follow quickly so you had to think quickly to survive. COD4 - hit, hit , hit hit (must keep going forwards) hit, hit hit - keep going forward.

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No one has mentioned what I believe to be the truly unique immersive factor of the game (at the time). For me, what made it most amazing was that it displaced camouflage off of the game system (at least in MP) and placed it onto the player's eye. In other words, my ability to hide from my enemy (human player) was not a statistical calculation, or a button I pushed that made me "fade" into the scenery as other games tried to do it. Instead, I hid by knowing how to position myself against this bush or that grass.

90% of GR is locating the enemy (even in SP/Coop) before they locate you. Even though the enemy AI see you based on game system calculations, the way it is done is relatively seamless compared to other games. For me, this is what makes the game so immersive. When people talk about realism, for me that was never about weaponry that matched real-life specs or anything, it was primarily about simulating the experience of hiding and moving across terrain. War games are never "realistic" because we lack the central component of death and killing. But GR provides a reasonable simulation of surveying terrain, identifying enemies, providing tactical overwatch, etc., in a way that no other game has (though I really haven't played many games newer than GR).

I still remember taking lessons from a former Canadian sniper on the Wilderness map. He would tell us where he was and we still couldn't find him. That's what makes the game so immersive to me.

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A complex topic that requires a complex answer, methinks. Some good points have already been made and it's getting hard to add something of significance. First of all, I agree that the heart-stopping immersion Ghost Recon has to offer is indeed not caused by any single one aspect described, but rather by a uniquely successful combination of many features, some of which more obvious than others.

The entire human-interface design, from the game's field-of-view/angle-of-view over its excellent sound environment up to the very direct and responsive controls, is a critical part in making the player feel like being one with the game character and puts you right into the action. And although it has been criticized again and again, I am still not entirely sure whether the simple on-screen crosshairs as opposed to the more common weapon view might not play an important role in that, too.

But the interface only takes care of dragging the player into the game world, and this game world needs to take over from there. That's when the other aspects kick in. Sandbox style with non-linearity and freedom to move, AI characteristics of the NPCs, first-person perspective old-school lean vs. "modern" third-person cover system, no in-game cutscenes, basic "naked" HUD, (semi-)realistic weapon ballistics and damage model, wounds and limping, and the camouflage system H-Hour so perfectly described - all that adds layer upon layer of immersion to the game world, in which the interface has placed you so very directly.

Now we have a game world that provides many immersive factors and an interface that allows the player to participate in this world very directly and unobstructed. These two pillars are sufficient to create an enormous amount of immersion by themselves, but Ghost Recon doesn't stop there. On top of everything else mentioned you get the RPG factor - you play characters of your choice and even have a (limited) way to customize them and let them grow experience (e.g. campaign mode lets you change character names and adjust their abilities with time).

And finally one of the most important things: You are not alone! Even in single player, you are part of a team, and every single "person" on that team has significance. Here, AI capabilities and soul-switching come together to render all teammates equally important to you, and more often than not you will really feel the urge to protect your teammates in the field even at the cost of your "own" current life. I think once a game succeeds in getting you to sacrifice your own game character to protect a computer player, immersion has reached a point that can hardly be increased anymore.

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I'd have to say just everything about the game made it immersive for me. :yes: One of the best parts is keeping yourself from being wounded or killed. Oh what pressure and tension that puts on you! :devil: Thank goodness they didn't put health packs in this game.

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I agree with everything above, I have often laid in overwatch on a hill and been totally engrossed by the gentle sway of the trees and the way the sunlight filters through the leaves as well as the realistic wind noise.

The movement to me way just right, I find games like GRAW feel like i'm moving my crosshairs through treacle. I want to be able to snap to a target.

The hit sounds and animation are still some of the most impressive I have ever come across. It's not that the effect is cutting edge or the sound is realistic, it's just... Right somehow, to this day I can still be made to jump by GR when that shot comes out of nowhere. No other game has ever done this for me.

One thing that is overlooked as well is the Command Map feature. Now I know some people would say this isn't realistic, you couldn't get that much detail etc. Well guess what... this is a game, tbh nothing about it is realistic apart from the fact that your sitting in front of a monitor playing it. The thing I love about the Command Map is the fact that you can bring it up instantaneously and still move etc. This allowed you to check what angles needed covering etc or what gaps needed filling because it shows (in real time) where they are, and in what direction your squadmates are facing. It's a joy to use. Other games have similar features, ArmA for example, but ArmA's map is so slow and laggy that it's more of a guesstimate than a true dynamic map so if anything is a hinderance in anything other than a general idea of position.

Like everyone else I could wax lyrical all night about this and that in GR but it was just one of those ohh so rare games that just gel'd as a whole, no one part made GR just hundreds of tiny jigsaw pieces that fitted together perfectly to make it the game we still love to this day.

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Dai-San, you talk about how the map works. I would love to see a Google Earth style map feature added to the next true GR installment. A truly 3D map system with real-time information from troops on the ground, satellite imagery, and UAVs in the air.

It would have to be real-time, and open/close just as fast as bullets travel. If it doesn't, then it's useless.

On the part about the sounds and scenery. I love it all.

Edited by +Medic+~SPARTA~
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Single Player: Being able to defeat the map the way I wanted to. Take COD: World at War for example. Great game yes, but can I see myself playing the maps over and over again? I suppose the question should be, do the publishers of this game even want me to... but that is another story altogether. But [GR] was great for you could kill everything on the map, or at times choose to recon your way around everything whilst killing a limited amount of foes on your way.

COD however chooses to tell me how to play, with an endless supply of enemies coming at me until I conform to the "click on this tank to move to next part of lvl" which is like a big kick in the mouth and subsequently a massive wake up call stating "yes, you are playing a computer game, welcome back to real life"

Multi Player: Server options and ability to host your own server... the later being especially important. Again going back to COD. (apologies for picking on it) But you can not host your own public server. This generally means I am stuck playing on servers hosted by US players, which has it's draw backs straight away, but I also like to have the control over people who glitch etc and mess up the game for everyone else. So what I want and liked about the GR series so far is how you end up having a server that is populated by people who play the game the same way you do and they will keep coming back for me.

So let me manage the game the way I want, you just give some decent graphics, gameplay...blah, blah, blah and we'll do the rest.

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HiHo Cobblers, long time no hear (Watchman here). If you do play COD4 and yearn for a vaguely [GR] style of play then you can get some good, glitch free steady play over at B:P:R or our good friends at Sparta; especially the GRnet Crouch night on a Friday. If you're interested PM me and I'll get you some details.

Anyhoo and apologies for drifting slightly off topic but after almost 10 years of fps gaming, for me [GR] is absolutely still the benchmark. In those occasional quiet moments I'll fire it up and play a few missions. Gfx aside it still captivates me and keeps me on the edge of my seat. As Dai san said, it still has the ability to make you jmp out of your seat and frankly no other game since has been able to do that.

I guess the feature that stays with me most is the quality of mapping and the interplay with the terrain. In a game I believe it's the closest we'll ever get to real life. Nothing better than hunkering down on caves with an M98. Use the cover, hide in the scrub and pick them off at will.

A truly great game and I'll be a happy bunny if Ubi / RSE ever get round to making a true sequel because lets face it, neither of the GRAW's has been able to take that plaudit.

...you really want to keep the rest of your squad alive (they represent 5 lives you may need and are not just cannon fodder)
True.

The somewhat anonymous nature of you and your teammates, along with the way you/they gain experience (and clusters) during the campaign (or Trilogy) creates a situation where you care about the other guys, and want to see them thru it, without resorting to the unlocked specialists or human wave attacks, is high up on my list.

I remeber when I played through IT, I went all the way through without losing a team member, yes I achieved the specialists but used them sparingly, preferring to grow the squad members.

Sure we took some bullets and the wounds were plenty but I sat those guys out for a mission or two and rotated in other team members.

Then on the final map I was close to completion and lost my sniper, I'd put him on overwatch where he'd picked off some of the tango's . But when the screen flashed up that he'd been killed I was so gutted it was ridiculous!

I'd lost a virtual buddy, we'd be going home a man down..........

Yeah, I know this is a game but no game I've played since has EVER made me think that way.

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combat, and being allowed to wage the war my way on the map.

I'd like to add that the immediate access to the game is also part of the immersiveness..once I got a team to walk a path around a jeep on the plantation map per the IGOR Basic Guide I was to this day immersed in IGOR which translates to being immersed in the game...

now I can just set a chr at some position on a map, but by paying attention to possible scenarios of interacting with player I can set his roe like I want or leave it open for him...I can give him plans that make it difficult for player or easy for player..the "openness" of the AI individual response combined with team and even platoon AI make it a what happens next affair..and its that anticipation that lends to a deeper immersiveness IMO. Have you ever looked at the horizon in game and seen an enemy appear, then begin with the ...is he alone? are those two all there is? how many are within ear shot? Will one back there "see" him fall? Will they toss a fraggin frag at me!?

and then there is this...."He's history" ....who's history? where? what are you talking about?? crap! where are they?

and the smile that operator cracks as the sun comes out during the final cut scene of IT...which is to acknowledge the blink face...

mig :ph34r:

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I don't think I can pick one thing out. I think it was the Whole package. Like OFP it was a game ahead of its time. You will never see another GR unless someone takes another engine and duplicates the game verbatim. You have the missions,sounds,weapons,gametypes and more that make up the whole thing.

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Undoubtedly, this is the most important question that can be asked on this forum. And undoubtedly, the answer has many components all of which none of us can articulate.

IMHO, GR was the first game to successfully portray full-freedom, squad-based, open field military combat. Was the fact that it was "first" increase its impact? Maybe a bit.

Was the fact that what it achieved was way ahead of its time and...at a time when people could still be greatly impressed by games? I think more so.

For me, trying to come up with the "GR formula" is limiting in itself. Its like, you want to know why GR is the best? Just go play it. It's truly the only way to find out. But if I had to choose, I think GR's success stemmed from three things:

1. Freedom. Here's your gun, here's your ammo and here's your world. Go do what you need to do however you want to do it. There are no silly COD-like checkpoints. It was like being in the military. On some maps it might take hours to complete your objective...and much of that time could be spent crawling on your belly.

2. Incredible Maps. It sounds a little fanboyish but I think so many of the GR maps I've played (stock and custom) were simply phenomenal, both in the "tactical" sense and in the artistic sense as well. I don't think I've yet experienced a game since GR whose maps I've found as inspiring.

3. Lethality and Fear. The biggest contributor, IMHO, to the GR formula is the game's lethality and the raw fear it inspires in players. I think GR presents the most lethal and thereby the scariest "survival model" of any game. The enemy in GR is viciously lethal and accurate (just as you, the player can be). You knew as soon as you took the "field" that with one bullet you could be history. There were no medpacks, no magic tricks, no aids to bail you out. In other games, dying isn't that big a deal. To this day, dying in GR, unlike most every other game, gives me a knot in my stomach and worse, sometimes it can leave a REAL nasty taste in your mouth. The fact that you can feel that intensely in a game is in an indication of its incredible immersiveness.

There. I gave my best shot. For the newcomer to GR it won't convey much. Only playing the game itself will.

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Some of these have been said but here is my list...

1) Hit boxes and injuries... No game other does this...

2) Sound... it can be quiet with the wind blowing in your ear and then a bullet whizzes by you followed by a thump that would make you jump out of your seat, as your spun around, trying to figure out where the hit came from... then thump... your dead

3) Camoflauge and maps. The maps are big enough that you can get placed and situated before the enemy.

4) AI... no other AI react like GR1. period (enemy ai that is)

5) Mods and server sided gametypes... Server sided... means no downloading woot. Admin clicks on it and everyone can play it... everyone remember the crazy boom missions?

6) Binocs and analog zooming. Nothing like scanning the map for peeps thare are beyond your guns range and reporting the locations to your buddy who is closing in for the kill

7) related to the above... co-op and MP both promote teamwork. You can't win it on your own. Even your kills / deaths are not displayed until the end of the game... that keeps peeps from lonewolfing to get a higher kill ratio then there buddy. It only displays the teams total kill amount... hence it's about TEAM WORK

8) Lower bandwidth... heck we were hosting 20 players on a dynamic ip @ 768 up

9) Server controls... Graphical interface not stupid commands you can misstype. Need i say more. Well yeah... this allows the admin to switch the server quickly Which reduces non game time.

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The raw grit, and the simplicity of gameplay are what made Ghost Recon immersive for me. None of this Crosscom nonsense, or being interrupted every thirty seconds by some blabbing idiot about a badguy across town, whom he thinks is one of his students. Just me, my men, our boots in the dirt, hunting and being hunted. There is nothing complex about gameplay in Ghost Recon. The simplicity of the game's design allows you to enjoy the missions at your pace, using your strategy, in your own way.

As an OT aside, I hate it when people call Ghost Recon '[GR]'. There is no [GR]. There is Ghost Recon. GRAW doesn't even deserve the Ghost Recon name. I may be willing to grant GRAW on Xbox 360 some levity, since it was designed by RSE, but beyond that... just call it Captain Mitchell's Big Fat Shootout.

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