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About the product
- In this game, The Order Of The New Dawn have laid claim to a bare planetoid. Their rivals, the Crayven Corporation, want to know why
- Start out playing for the side of the Crayven Corp., running espionage missions to find out what secrets the planet holds
- With incredible graphics, intense real-time strategy, and over 30 single-player missions, you'll be amazed at this game
- Play with up to 8 people, or play against them in a deathmatch
- Choose and arm your troops, arrange battles, and fight to win --- and uncover the strange and terrifying secret
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Disc mint in factory jewel case with manual (.25) no big box. We ship worldwide from San Francisco bay area.
Sierra Studios proudly introduces Ground Control, an astonishing 3-D real-time strategy game with a focus on fast-paced action and strategic combat. This debut release, from Sweden-based developer Massive Entertainment, challenges players to perfect the art of war.
By combining strategic combat with fast-paced 3-D action elements, Ground Control promises to deliver a fresh experience that appeals to a wide audience, including online gaming enthusiasts.
At its core, Ground Control is a frenetically paced RTS played out in a visually stunning 3-D world. During the course of the game, players are challenged in an intense arena of battle as they try to effectively manage tactical squads of foot soldiers, mobile units, aircraft, and support units to vie for control of a distant planet.
In addition to the epic single-player game, Ground Control's extensive multiplayer component features several modes unique to an RTS game.
Top Customer Reviews
That's about all you know as you begin the game. You fight them because you're told to by the cold manager, Enrica Hayes who has no brains and couldn't care why you do what you do. When you get your mission briefings from Enrica, you then get to configure your units with whatever options are available, fill your drop ships, and land to attack.
The game works with individuals grouped together into set units. While a set of 4 tanks move together, a particular tank can get wounded and die. You can't tell a particular tank to go somewhere on its own, though. The unit moves together. This makes it easier to manage many missions, simply grabbing units and pointing them in directions.
The graphics are great! Ground Control has the move-anywhere view that Dark Reign 2 uses. Very intuitive and easy to use. Follow along with a unit, or get a birds-eye view of the great graphical combats. While my Athlon-750 often choked on some of the larger scale combats (boding poor results for slower machines), in general it whisked along at a good clip.
The landscape is fully three dimensional and fully rendered. Hide in the shadow of a cliff to get an ambush jump on your enemy. Sneak along under trees or overhangings to avoid being seen. Troops have options for weaponry and healing that can be customized. Troops can be carried in APCs to zip from location to location, and peel out quickly into whichever formation you specify.
The downsides on the game are the stuttering I mentioned before on heavy-graphic situations, and also the general situation you, Major Sarah Parker, find yourself in. While it's great that the lead player and her boss are both women, it's very, very annoying playing a game in which you watch your 'friends' shoot up hospitals, where you're berated by your commander and where no matter how quickly you get to someone, the program insists it's "too late" and you must watch the person die to further the plot. I have enough frustration in real life without playing a game in which the lead character is drinking after each mission, wondering why she even keeps fighting. Does that provide any incentive for the player to want to keep playing?
Also, most games of this style allow the player to choose amongst factions and decide which side to play. In this game it's very linear. Each mission is forced on you, and what you do in the mission is pre-set. While replaying the same mission 10 times might have them decide to attack from the NE or the SE randomly, they always attack, and then the same exact messages always appear, which you cannot click through.
If you enjoy strategy combat without building units or structures, and have a fast enough machine to handle this, Ground Control might be the perfect game for you!
RTS is my favourite game genre. I started with Dune 2 and continued with CC and Warcraft. But GC had ruined me. After experiencing the free camera there was no going back to boring isometric view of other titles. With no bases to build and no resources to gather, you can focus entirely on the missions set in huge alien landscapes, accompanied by glorious background music. I still have this game on my PC in 2015 and that is saying something. Don't buy it, though, it's available as a free download.
Ground Control doesn't have that, although you do have some larger choices about the mission before it starts. You can customise your attack force and decide which units to take into the battle before dropping into the fray. The game is pretty hardcore though, as Monolith Productions were unhappy with players simply quick-saving their way through battles in other games instead of deploying proper tactics so they simply dropped the ability to save mid-mission from the game. And considering some of the later maps can take up to an hour to finish, that's a pretty ballsy decision. To be honest, it works. Playing Ground Control is much like playing a Total War game, with intelligent decisions and tactical planning (but retaining flexibility to deal with changing circumstances on the battlefield) required rather than simply sending your army off willy-nilly and reloading if they happen to get wiped out.
The biggest surprise on playing this nine-year-old game is that visually it still looks pretty smart. Its 3D units are low-textured compared to modern games, sure, but are detailed enough to remain impressive (down to the individual soldiers' guns ejecting shell casings as they fire, and the tracked vehicles leaving churned-up trails across the battlefield). The game looked astonishing in 2000 and remains more than attractive enough to get the job done today. And, as with many of the older games I've recently reviewed on the blog, it's so old that even the more humble modern laptops should be able to run it with everything turned up to the maximum without breaking a sweat. In addition, I encountered zero problems on running it with XP on modern graphics cards, but I cannot speak to its compatibility with Vista.
As mentioned previously, the game is pretty hardcore and unforgiving of mistakes. The more powerful units, particularly the heavy artillery, are fully capable of wiping out your entire attack force in a few minutes if you blunder into an enemy position, chokepoint or crossfire area. As a result, careful deployment of recon or stealth units to map out your path is required. Later in the game the addition of aerial forces and high-speed scout aircraft makes this a lot easier (although additional precautions have to be taken: aircraft are highly vulnerable to ground AA fire and, unlike ground vehicles, cannot be repaired). Positioning and deployment of your forces is also critical, and in fact it is interesting to realise that you're putting your heavy armour at the front, lighter, faster forces on the flanks and heavy artillery and the command vehicle in the middle, almost as if this was a high-tech version of the Napoleonic Wars (albeit one with bombers capable of dropping small nuclear bombs roaring overhead).
The missions are challenging, although the learning curve is decent enough, and keep forcing you to re-evaluate tactics. For example, once you get artillery it initially appears that the game is essentially over, as you can sit a mile outside the enemy base and pound it to rubble. However, the deployment of enemy counter-battery units, fast intercept aircraft which can bomb your defenceless artillery (unless you have AA units) and so on keep you on your toes. Enemy AI is excellent, and does a good job of keeping you busy, especially on the harder difficulty settings.
The storyline, although unlikely to win awards, is well-told and enjoyable to watch unfold. The music is excellent and the graphics engine is fantastic. Ground Control wasn't the first real-time combat game to use a fully-3D engine, but it was certainly the first one where you didn't spend half your time battling the camera controls as well as the enemy. In fact, Ground Control and its successor engines (the ones used in Ground Control II and World in Conflict) remain the finest 3D battlefield engines yet seen in the genre, and certainly put the much newer ones in the likes of Company of Heroes, Dawn of War, Command and Conquer III and so forth to shame.
On the minus side of things, the primary problem is the lack of in-mission saving (although the game naturally does save after and before every mission). Whilst it does make you play the game in a much more logical manner, it isn't very forgiving if you suddenly realise you're about to miss a dentist's appointment 20 minutes into a long mission, forcing you to restart later from scratch. However, that hardcore element is part of the game's lasting appeal, and with the in-game saving it would be a far easier and more simplistic game. Another slight criticism is that aircraft are of dubious value (since you can't use them until your ground units have destroyed all AA forces in an area, and by that time you've pretty much won anyway) and that the two sides are pretty much just reskins of one another, with only a couple of unique units.
Ground Control also comes packaged with its expansion, Dark Conspiracy. Dark Conspiracy furthers the story of the war and its characters in an consistently interesting and entertaining manner. The expansion also takes the war off Krig-7B to other worlds and introduces a new faction, the Phoenix Mercenaries, who have very different vehicles, weapons and tactics to the existing two sides. There are also some interesting and original new maps, such as airless moons and other planetary environments. However, the expansion isn't quite as well paced as the original game and its later levels are astonishingly rock hard, to the point of frustration which the original game just about avoids.
Still, Ground Control (*****) is an excellent tactical game that rewards careful consideration of the battlefield and due attention to military tactics and unit capabilities. It is perhaps not as tolerant of casual players as some other real-time strategy/tactics games, but making the battles more challenging is part of its appeal.
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