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Platform: PC
Genre: Real-Time Strategy
Publisher: Vivendi Universal
Developer: Massive Entertainment
ETA: June 2004

 

Related Links:

Review: Impossible Creatures (PC)

Review: War Times (PC)

Review: Rise of Nations (PC)

Review: Rise of Nations - Throne and Patriots (PC)

 

 

 

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Ground Control II

 

ground control 2 preview          ground control 2 preview

 

There’s a plus/minus problem when it comes to getting hands-on opportunities of pre-release games.  Plus, you get a sneak peek before most everyone else.  Minus, it’s really easy to form an opinion and write a preview that sounds like a review, even though the game may still have months of development time.  Beta or pre-release versions of the game are there to give you the gist of the general direction the title is moving.  I had to keep this firmly in mind when playing around with a preview build of Ground Control II.

 

But before I give my brief -- and I do mean brief -- impressions of GCII, here’s the official line:

 

Ground Control II is a real-time tactics game set in a gritty science-fiction setting. It delivers explosive, action-packed gameplay, focusing on squad tactics with full use of the 3D battlefield. Weather and other environmental effects also affect units performance on the battleground.

In the war torn year of 2741, Captain Jacob Angelus of the Northern Star Alliance (NSA) becomes the central figure in the 

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war against the warmongering Terran Empire. In an attempt to crush the NSA permanently, the Terran Empire sends in an alien race of powerful warriors - the Virons. It soon becomes apparent that the situation is bleak for the NSA and that their only hope is to embark on an Exodus to another part of the galaxy.

 

Features:

Real-Time, Action-Packed Gameplay - Strong focus on tactical battle and action-packed combat.

Innovative gameplay- Meld your Viron troops to create stronger units with new abilities.

Amazing Graphics – Experience outstanding levels of detail. Take a strategic view of your battlefield or zoom in to see the battle-scared faces of your infantry.

Cooperative Multiplay – up to 3 players

 

Drop-in Multiplay - Unique drop-in multiplayer modes allowing anyone to join an on-going game at any time.

 

Immersive Sci-Fi Plot - Immersive storyline written in collaboration with sci-fi author Joe Dever.

 

The Massgate™ online community system gives immediate access to online matchmaking, hi-score ladders, tournaments, chat rooms and much more. Join thousands of players online.

 

ground control 2 preview          grond control 2 preview

 

The camera is described as “intuitive” but I didn’t find this the case.  This is an aspect that really has to be learned – you won’t instinctively know what you’re doing.  The in-game graphics are very good and the cutscenes are polished to highlight the story aspects and gnarly explosions.  Buildings also play a major tactical role and the graphic engine makes it easy to sort out which buildings contain enemy units and which buildings can be taken over.

 

The story is an interesting setup and I played just enough to become interested in how it all ends for the three factions.  There is no doubt that it will drive the action. (And hopefully all the pathfinding bugs will be squashed before GCII ships so the action isn't more about finding your wayward units.)

 

I like where Ground Control II is headed, but I’ll have to reserve judgment until it ships at the end of June 2004.

 

- Omni

(June 3, 2004)