In the Ghost Recon universe, the house blessing was a little crooked recently. The latest offshoot, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint from 2019 was quite a letdown. The title simply lacked pretty much everything that the tactical shooter series has so far been known for. Instead, the creators tried their hand at experimental new game elements: online compulsion, heaps of microtransactions and a half-baked inventory system that was suddenly based on random loot. Understandably, the fans didn’t like that at all. Breakpoint was punished with lousy user ratings and a historically bad metascore of 58!
So the Ubisoft developers have something to do well. And they obviously want that too! As part of a big celebration for the 20th anniversary of the Ghost Recon series, a new offshoot has now been announced: Ghost Recon: Frontline. It should do everything differently, do everything better than its predecessor, but it could offend die-hard veterans again.
Battle Royle with a personal touch
Ghost Recon: Frontline is a pure free-to-play online shooter. So far, okay. Instead of taking the step back to a more classic gaming experience, which many fans would have wished for, you are presented with a pure PvP gaming experience Battle-Royale-Elementen. Yep, you read that right. So it’s not about using tactics and teamwork to hunt down drug cartels, mercenary armies or even entire nations. Rather, the focus is on man against man, player against player.
Those responsible at Ubisoft Bucharest, who, among other things, already worked on the multiplayer modes of the two Ghost Recon predecessors Wildlands and Breakpoint, want to give the game its very own touch, says Game Design Director Alexandru Rais. Unlike in the standard genre, there is no ring in Frontline, for example, which makes the playing field smaller and smaller, and there is also no permadeath. It’s not even about being the last team surviving in the end!
In the central game mode, called Expedition, your goal is instead to track down sensitive secret information and bring it to safety. For this you are on a map with a total of 102 players in teams of three, looking for Intel, blasting each other over the pile and finally trying to escape with an extraction helicopter.
The island of Drakemoor, where all the fun takes place, is around 16 square kilometers, so it is comparable in size with the PUBG -Maps Erangel and Miramar. There should also be plenty of variety compared to the competition: the open game world features four different biomes and over 20 interesting landmarks. Either on foot or by vehicle, you can explore an excavation site for dinosaur bones or an abandoned amusement park, among other things.
So far, the makers haven’t really wanted to tell us why it’s abandoned. With regard to the setting and story, it was only possible to see that Drakemoor had been hit by a kind of environmental disaster and thus transformed into a hostile place. Finding those responsible and getting the displaced islanders back into their homes – that will then be your job. There are even a few small cut scenes here and there. But you shouldn’t hope for NPCs or an extensive story arc. The focus is clearly on the gameplay.
Here Ubisoft Bucharest relies on the proven trio of military authenticity, tactical action and teamwork. If you want to be successful on your mission, you not only have to have a good eye and quick reflexes, but also a lot of brains. Frontline always offers you different ways to get to your destination: you can of course just take the standard route, collect three pieces of information, go to one of the two extraction points and request a helicopter there. However, since it is then displayed on the map for all players, you have to be prepared for some resistance. So why don’t you wait for another team to attract attention and use the distraction to take off on the second helipad? Or you entrench yourself at the extraction point at the beginning of the round, take another team by surprise and look for their load shortly before the end. Your game, your decision!
The abundance of options also continues with your character. In Frontline you assemble a team of so-called contractors that the game generates for you at random. So every character has different nationalities, backgrounds and classes. That makes for variety. In terms of classes, the Assault, who is well versed in hand-to-hand combat, the long-range scout and the support who provide the team with equipment and boosts have already been presented. Each of the three has individual skills, passive perks, and special gadgets that you can use to your advantage.
These also include tactical supplies that are unlocked through special in-game objectives and then delivered to you via airdrop. These can be automatic guns, mobile coverings or even entire sniper towers with which you can shape the battlefield in your favor.
Is that still Ghost Recon?
Over the course of several matches you will of course always unlock new stuff. As your character level increases, you get access to new equipment, weapon levels open up new attachments. So there are several progression systems that should motivate you to give your best in every match, even if you may not win in the end. Missions and a Battle Pass are also planned for the future, which will provide you with new content, but must be purchased for real money. Ghost Recon: Frontline has to finance itself somehow. As a second pillar, there will also be an in-game shop for cosmetic items. However, this should also be completely optional and not offer any playful advantages.
The developers have already tested several times with pro players and content creators whether the whole thing is fun at all. Soon, however, the broad masses should also have the opportunity to play in Frontline. The registration phase for the first closed beta started on October 5th. It will start on October 14th and, in addition to Expedition, will also contain another game mode called Control, which will throw you into classic nine-on-nine rule matches on eight different maps.
A final release date is not yet known. So far, Ubisoft has only revealed that Ghost Recon: Fronline for PC, Google Stadia, Playstation and Xbox should appear. Cross-generational cross-play is supported directly at the launch.
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