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TOM CLANCY's GHOST RECON: PHANTOMS

Play Free at www.GhostReconphantoms.com

               

What is the best way to review a military-style combat game that has all the elements (and more) of
so many other similar type of team combat military prospective game.? Well to begin with the way I
started is probably quite a good way as I learned from the ground up, and boy did that ground come
up to meet me many, many times.I downloaded it from the URLgiven above and after waiting a few
minutes for a game to become available for me to join I jumped straight in learned as I played,
possibly not the best way for your new team mates but great for me.

So I hit on a better idea. I installed a 15 year old (grandson) at the PC and left him to it - as it is now
the Easter Holidays he was delighted to spend day and (much of the) night playing and making notes.
He did so well that I daren't go back on as myself in case I meet up with some of the same players, they
will wonder how I suddenly got so bad after being so good - he is an expert on these military team games.
Watching him play was like watching a war movie, okay a war movie where the hero dies every so often
but a war movie in effect. When I play it is more like watching a nutjob on a suicide mission than a hero.

So let's take a look at the game from a player's perspective: It uses the basic WASD keys for movement,
the LMB (Left Mouse Button) is your Fire button (trigger), the RMB allows you to aim and the MMB is
for melee; numbers 1 and 2 are Primary and secondary weapon selections. Other regular buttons are Q for
changing the camera angle, F for Ability or Action, the Spece Bar will put you in or out of cover, C is of
course Crouch, LCtrl planks you prone, Enter will let you move as a Team and E is for climbing up and
down ladders, walls etc.
     

Once you get placed in a team - there is the chance to swap from one team to another if space allows - the
action starts almost immediately as you join your team members at a spawn point and follow them out into
the streets/buildings etc that will become the almost unending arena. Get used to your spawning area as you
will see it often - most of these have different directions you can take as you leave them so it soon becomes
easier to plan your route to the action; support players will view laser like lines attaching them to other team
members (basically letting you know who is who and where they are if they are in range of you).

When you die the screen fades to red and within a very short while you are respawning, much quicker than in
many other games, though they make up for this speedy action by having one of the slowest health regen times
I have encountered. When injured you are advised to get into cover and wait to heal but every time I have tried
this the opponent who shot me has had time to run round and shoot me again, thus I have found it is just as good
to keep fightng in the hope you kill your adversary before another hit sends you into the red zone.

There is a "beginner only" mode which is great for new players, but I have also found that you seem to be placed
in teams where everyone, opposition and allies, are within a reasonably similar skill range to you. There are also
trophies to be won during each conflict - Most Headshots, Squad MVP , Best of Character Class and the overall
competition called Daily Win that gives the winner for the day's play 200AC (cash to spend in the in-game shop).
You can buy AC or Gold coins for real money - this is how most FTPs survive - and of course you can get all the
best of armour/weapons and equipment if you spend enough actual money. I spent most of my ACs on a Bronze
(there are different valued boxes) mystery weapons box and received 80 grenades - top value.

This is a fun shooter style game where the tactics come into play when you begin to plan strategically with other
members of your team - lone wolf play is unlikely to be of use to your team but it may get you one or more of the
awards (see above). Stealth plays a vital part though some equipment lets you see where the enemy is even when
they are behind walls etc - seen as red heat sources.

There are three available character classes - RECON, ASSAULT and SUPPORT - and in each you earn experience
to gain levels separately. Beginners Only is allowable until your character has reached level 8 and then they/you are
considered experienced enough to go out into the world.

RECON:
Use Sniper Rifle/SMG and Pistol. They have SCAN, CLOAK, GUNSHOT DETECTOR and MOTION DETECTOR.
These abilities expand as:
Scan: Collates all IFF tags and marks enemy forces on allies HUDs on the fly.
Cloak: Active camouflage - very good (invisible) for a short time.
Gunshot Detector: Detects and highlights opposition shooters for you and your team.
Motion Detector: Detects and highlights sprinting opposition units for you and your team.

ASSAULT:
Assault rifles and Pistols. They have BLITZ, ADS, HARDEN ARMOUR and COMBAT REGEN.
Blitz:  This is a combat shield which offers protection against ballistic weapons and also gives a speed boost.
ADS:  Active Denial System. Causes enemies to suffer unpleasant heat.
Harden Armour: Improves your armour and that of close allies.
Combat Regen: Slightly better than normal health regeneration, gets better when stacked with Tactical Suit upgrades.

SUPPORT:
LMGs/Shotguns/Pistols. their abilities: APS, BLACKOUT, AMMO REGEN and  ENERGY REGEN.
APS:  This will deviate the flight of incoming rounds by upsetting the gyroscopic flight by using high-speed kinetic impulses.
Blackout: This is a portable (by human) Blackout generator that can temporarily disable enemy electronics.
Ammo Regen: Slow but steady regeneration of ammunition for you and nearby allies.
Energy Regen: Slow but steady regeneration of energy for you and nearby allies.

War is not fun, we all know that, and I for one would hate to be on the frontline (or any line) where I would be expected
to shoot at fellow humans or be shot at, but war games allow us to release our inner energies and controlled rage in the
same way that we enjoy watching war based movies - we know it isn't real (thank goodness cos I don't believe I could
actually die 5 times in 10 minutes and then go make a cup of coffee in real life). War is not fun - war games like this are!
 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015