Ground Control 2: Operation Exodus Preview (PC)
Ground Control II is set many years after the original game and features three factions, two of which are human called the NSA (North star alliance) and Terran Empire, the alien faction are known as the Viron.
The graphics in Ground Control II are brilliant, its difficult to even find a fault with them, animations are good, levels and units are highly detailed, when battles erupt, the ensuing fire fights look good, and there is real time lighting affects on both units and particle effects. For example, each unit will have a real time shadow and if a level is at night, you will see the immediate area get lit up by gun fire and explosions. A particularly good graphical touch is seeing enemy vehicles break up into many different pieces and fly of in all directions when destroyed.
The music in Ground Control II is pretty good, it fits in well with a war theme and doesn’t sound clichéd in any way. The sounds from unit voices and weapons fire are even better though. Each side has its own set of voices (as you would expect, an alien wont speak perfect English) and amongst the sides their own respective units sound different and these will even notify you of impending attacks and when enemies are sighted. The sounds of battle are particularly good, you can make out individual explosions and other various weapons fire, tanks sound much more powerful making a thud with each shell fired and artillery, arguably the best unit in the game sound devastating just when they’re firing, never mind when their artillery shell actually explodes.
All of these good features would ultimately mean nothing if it weren’t for top notch game play. In Ground Control II there is much more emphasis in single player to be tactical, use your limited number of units to achieve your aims, just the same game play that made the original Ground Control stand out amongst the RTS crowd. Your rewarded for doing this, for example, is that infantry fare much better in wooded areas which tanks cant get into to, so you can find yourself setting up ambushes on passing tank columns, also other units work better at a higher elevation, the NSA sniper, to name one unit, will need to be on high ground to have a bigger view of the area.
Whilst the human factions in Ground Control II will seem familiar to anyone who has played a RTS game with a SCI –FI with the standard affair of bullets and tanks, the alien faction called the Viron’s will be a unique playing experience.
As you expect the Viron’s look completely different from the opposition and use a different array of weaponry but this is not the only difference, the Viron can also meld certain units together to generate bigger and tougher soldiers. This will effect an opponents strategy, as one moment you could be planning to attack a Viron position of several low level soldiers, only to find when you get their that they have used their melding ability to form a tougher unit that will give you a bloody nose. So scouting which is always an important element in war can always be put into question when dealing with a Viron player.
Once you’ve decided on what you want, your drop ship will come by and drop the reinforcements of at a designated location. The drop ship itself is very important as without it, you cant get reinforcements so make sure its not shot down, to make this a rarer occurrence and to save on an costly wait for a new drop ship, you can upgrade certain aspects of the drop ship, from how fast it is, to the amount of armor it carries.
Luckily Ground Control II features controls that are easy to get to grips with, it’s the normal RTS affair here, you can select individual units with click of a mouse button, or drag select a group of units and you can use hot keys. Simple clicks order your soldiers about from moving to attacking, also to changing to secondary firing modes.