Thursday, 6 September 2018

I'm Back! Playing Ground Branch.

Funny how the gaming mojo can come back as quickly as it goes!

I've been in a bit of a gaming malaise over the past year or so and a lot of that has to do with the break-up of my old PC gaming clan - BIG. But, recently a game I had had my eye (I backed it on Kickstarter ages ago) has moved into a playable pre-release version and this really piqued my interest.

Anyway, after watching a couple of videos on YouTube showing some of the current gameplay I really got stoked and wanted to try it out (I had to dust my PC off first, mind you). Here's a nice appetiser...

In actual fact, and just to show that interesting PC games are like buses, it so happens there are TWO hardcore tactical games in 'near release' that I'm interested in; Insurgency Sandstorm and Ground Branch. Unlike Ground Brand, Insurgency Sandstorm give a slightly more Counterstrike-esque game format to the whole hardcore tactical game.

Sandstorm is amore immediate, adrenaline fuelled 'rush', while Ground Branch is a more methodical and tense ordeal. (But both have a lot going for them.)

Sandstorm has a little more graphical pizzaz and polish, but Ground Branch
is more about getting the immersive gameplay right.
Anyway, as a GB backer I thought it was about time I rolled up my sleeves and had a go. I must admit, the generally positive feedback from players who have tried the 'pre access release' (is that a Beta or pre-Beta) had me pretty excited. So I cranked up my much neglected PC and installed the game from STEAM (non-backers can buy the game for £15.49)...

My initial thoughts were - it turns out - completely inline with many other players, and the word 'clunky' to describe the controls seems to come up *a lot*. But, I persevered and there is a point to the  pernickety nature of the game's controls, more than any other game Blackfoot Studios is trying to create and level of detail in the players actions that simulates real world SpecOps movements and drills.

However, if you give the game a chance you will see that there is method in Blackfoot's apparent 'madness' and everything is done for a reason and you can get to grips with the controls. In fact, after a while things seem to become very immersive and you soon become convinced that this is the right way to do things.

The game isn't perfect, but would you expect it to be at the 'pre early access' phase? There are lots to work on, but the game has a very devoted following and is very community based, with a very active forum giving constructive feedback to the Devs (who do listen).

I'm still learning, but already I feel a certain vibe that I haven't felt since I played Classic Ghost Recon. They game rewards your willingness to take it seriously by a feeling of real tension that is missing from a lot of games these days...

Yes, one well placed bullet loses you the game (when you're dead, you're dead - no respawn) but the swing side of this is the huge feeling of achievement when you successfully complete a mission. Along the way, just accept that there'll be a lot of this...

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