Thursday, 21 May 2015

Ground Branch progress continues (and other stories)

Well, things are looking up game wise as a slew of 'forthcoming' games line up to make 2015 a very interesting year for tactical FPS gamers like myself. My current 'watch list' includes the following:

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege
Ground Branch
Survive the Nights

Rainbow Six Siege; one of the games that will make 2015 a memorable gaming year?

Good news it seems, but still that niggling little 'cup half empty' guy on my shoulder is whispering words of warning to me...

Specifically I remember being in this position before when I got all excited back in 2009 because Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, ArmA2 and America's Army 3 were all released more or less one after another...Yet was 2009 a good TFPS year? No.

None of these games succeeded in supplying either myself or my Clan mates a FPS that went above the basic levels of CoD or Battlefield but still retained the level of intuitive and accessible play and fun. (And a couple of them were just plain bad!)

Anyway, fast forward to 2015 and again we have some very interesting titles lining up to crack that nut of being both 'realistic' (relatively speaking), good looking and fun to play.

Ground Branch is my main hope as it has been built from the ground up (excuse pun) with the backing of enthusiastic fans of the original Ghost Recon. As yet it is at little more than a pre-Alpha stage but it's the level of involvement of the fans in directing how this game develops that leads me to be optimistic...

As you can see, the sate of Ground Branch is somewhat rough and (not so) ready, but you can hear in the voice of the video's commentator - PepperBelly - the sheer excitement that player/backers have for this project.

And finally, there's Survive the Nights. Now, once again, this is very much a work in progress - but the reason I include it and Ground Branch in my list of games for 2015 is because of the community involvement that is at the heart of them. From my point of view the pleasure I get as a gamer is just as much - if not more, creatively speaking - as I would get from actually playing a 'shake and bake' game from one of the big developers.

Now, as you can see STN is not a 'military' shooter but a Zombie survival game, but it has piqued my interest as - like may PC gamers - I have been enjoying the video blogs by such people as FRANKIEonPCin1080p who have been documenting their experiences in such survival games as RUST and and DayZ. These sort of games look tremendous fun BUT they are most obviously flawed (in various ways) and Survive the Nights is hoping that it's play system can rectify some of the main complaints.

These complaints included lack of co-operative play between players, little incentive to play a positive co-operative role, a propensity for players to 'shoot on sight' rather than negotiate, and rampant banditry rather than any commitment to negotiated or 'moral' progress (in other words it was easier to progress in the game if you just killed and stole other players loot, which may sound fun but I think many people want a more morally uplifting means of getting on in a game than that).

(I anxiously awaited - and indeed pre-ordered - Sony's H1Z1 this year only to find that it was little different than those zombie/survival/crafting games that had gone before where shooting on sight rather than group co-operation was - apparently - the main feature of play. H1Z1 fans would argue the point and say 'but it's got better' - but being shot in the face repeatedly by complete strangers consistently when entering the game simply put me off.)

So, several things to keep me interested - and a lot more coming along besides. And, if all else fails I could always bite the bullet and buy Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel - which I have been fervently avoiding as it seems to be little more than a large DLC for Borderlands 2 - as if nothing else it's fun to shoot stuff!

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