I was one of the few and the proud to play the beta for GRO. Like every other game of similar nature, people may either love it or hate it (I particularly love it), but let me lay down some facts about the game:
- The gameplay does not feel like any of the previous GR games much at all. The game is over-the-shoulder third-person, much like the GR2 series, and uses a snap-to-cover system, in the vein of Gears of War.
- At the time of the beta, the only game mode available was a Control Point Capture mode. The two maps available had different rules (Moscow City played more like a Tug-of-War; whereas, the Oil Rig played more like Assault, where one team attacks and the other team defends), but the main objective was to take control of all the control points on the map to win.
- Players were able to play one of three soldier classes for the entire match. Users were able to change their class between matches.
- Each class had special attributes that would be distributed to other teammates within close proximity to them. For example, Assault-class soldiers would provide a defense boost; Specialists would provide ammo regen; and Recon-class soldiers provide radar to detect enemies that have been seen by Recon. This is one key factor in how this game encourages teamplay.
- Each class can use one of two Abilities that they select prior to the match. These Abilities can give the team an advantage over the opponent when used properly, but take a long while before they can be used again, so use your Abilities wisely.
- Killing enemies, seizing control points, and overall performance gives you XP that goes toward leveling up your current soldier class. Leveling up unlocks new armor and weapons, which can be purchased by the Cash you also earn for your overall performance.
Now for my experience:
- This game STRONGLY encourages team play, as it is a steep uphill battle for a lone player to go against a squad of enemies. While I really like the idea, things can easily get frustrating when your team has weak communications against a team that knows what to do.
- Communication is key for team work, but the beta didn't have voice chat ready, so typing was the only option....and that didn't work too well.
- Near the end of the beta session (after 10 days of playing), the Recon (sniper) class was clearly the predominant choice. Things got pretty frustrating. Something should be put in place that discourages the team from becoming too heavy on a single class.
- There isn't a stamina bar, so you can actually sprint from the spawn point to the frontline without any problems. In many regards, having no stamina bar benefits the nature of the game, but people started exploiting the lack of stamina. They started doing what I call "flopping," where people would sprint towards the enemy, then dive to prone to avoid enemy fire, all the while, firing while diving. Sure, they can't aim precisely, but they still shoot forward. Combine flopping with a shotgun, and you have yourself a dangerous tactic. Players that can flop effectively can repeat it until all the area is clear of all threats. I've seen someone take out four opponents by themselves by flopping. The biggest problem about this tactic is that it doesn't do much to preserve tactical combat. I hope Ubisoft finds out how to resolve this issue without having to introduce a stamina meter.
I believe that there will be more game modes available in the final release. I'm looking forward to this game when it comes out.