[[Introduction]]In the recent months, RTS games have been a dime a dozen. They crop up on gaming shelves everywhere, and most of them have only one thing in common. They suck. They all feature the same old controls and gameplay and same old scenarios, namely rush, rush, rush.
However Massive Entertainment, a Swedish game developer is hoping to change all that with their new game, published by Sierra Studios called Ground Control. Although the plot, where you play a General for a large corporate political party vying for control of a new planet, on which there happens to be alien technology, isn't all the new or incredibly advanced, it is how many different aspects that are so good in other games are incorporated into Ground Control.
Most of the games out today, have pretty decent graphics, because that's what sells. But Ground Control takes that to a new level. It will push your 3D card to its limits. Most likely you will need at least 32 MB of graphics acceleration or you might even need one of the next generation of cards coming out (like the Voodoo 4 or 5, slated for release later this year). One of the best things about Ground Control's graphics is the new dynamic lighting system. Every time you fire a rocket, or a grenade, the surrounding landscape is properly lighted, makings things look very realistic.
[[A new game]]
Unlike previous 3D games, where controlling your units was a near impossibility, Ground Control makes it easy. You can select and give units orders with your mouse, while the keyboard is used to move your camera and specialized hotkeys. In Ground Control, you will be aboard what is called a Command APC. This is a specialized, super-armored command vehicle. You need to keep your command APC alive, because that's where you will be in your mission. You can use your APC to move around the combat areas. Higher up you will be able to plan generalized strategies of troop deployment, while getting down low you will be able to see your troops slugging it out. But one good thing about this game is that there will be no resource gathering. Massive Entertainment feels that in a real war resources are not gathered on the front lines, and so it should not be the case in Ground Control.
Unlike other games, such as Starcraft, the infamous rush tactic may not always work. In fact, for you rush fans out there, this may not be your game. Strategy is of supreme importance in this game. Although, you will see all your enemies on the map, you will not always be able to fire at them, unless you have a direct line of sight (not applicable to guided missiles or to projectiles affected by gravity). This means that you will be able to sneak up to an enemy (and even behind him) before he has the chance to turn around. Unfortunately, this means that they will be able to do that to you too.
Ground Control can surely pull off the gameplay it promises, but the graphics might be a different story. Hopefully, they can make the game appeal to the mid-range market, for those of us who don't have Athalon 800's with Voodoo 5's in them. If Ground Control can introduce some sort of feature where a 16 meg card would be able to decently portray the game, it will certainly help its chances in the market. But as far as gameplay goes, this could be the game that will redefine the RTS genre.