Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – First Assault Online is a free-to-play first person shooter inspired by the anime series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. The game has been in early access since last year, but from this morning, everyone will have the opportunity to play it as the game hits open beta. I had the chance to take a quick look at one of the modes on offer in the game this past week.
Ghost Assault puts two teams up against each other, Ghosts vs Cyborgs, in a hide-and-seek style match where the Ghosts must manoeuvre around the environment while avoiding the Cyborgs that are on the hunt to destroy them. Normally the Ghosts are completely invisible, but the Cyborgs have an arc shaped radar on their HUD that shows an icon along it when a Ghost is close to them. This radar gives the Cyborgs a general idea of where they should be moving to. If they manage to get right up next to a Ghost then their model will become highlighted in a shade of red and the Cyborg will be able to see them while they are in proximity. On occasion, a Cyborg can try to launch a melee attack on the Ghost which, if timed correctly, will lead to a one hit kill animation.
From the Ghosts’ perspective, they can decide in each situation if they want to run away or stay and fight if they’re in range of a Cyborg. If running away presents itself as the best option the player has a sprint ability, but this drains a rechargeable metre. If this metre drains all the way then the Ghost becomes completely visible, making it much easier for their opponents to see them and chase them down for the kill.
Sticking around to fight by yourself is usually a bad idea, because both sides have very limited ammo in their pistols which unfortunately don’t really do that much damage. The pistols mainly seem to be useful for slowing down the opposition – but alternatively if you are grouped next to someone else on your team, then picking off a player on the opposing team becomes a lot easier of a task.
Once a Cyborg has been killed then that player is out of the round. When a Ghost is taken down, on the other hand, players from either team have the ability to hack the downed corpse, providing that team with a reward for their success. If a Cyborg is responsible for the accomplished hack, then that Cyborg receives a momentary view of where all the Ghosts are located, allowing them and their team to quickly move on and towards their next target. If a Ghost manages to finish the hack, then all of the Ghosts who are currently downed are instantly revived.
During the final 30 seconds of each round, an item spawns in a random location which will help both teams in securing their victory. The Ghosts receive an assault rifle to help thin out the Cyborg numbers, while the Cyborgs can collect a drone that goes on the hunt for remaining Ghosts.
Each round is essentially built on this same foundation and the winning team in each round secures a point. Every few rounds the teams switch roles until eventually an overall winner is declared based on the number of points that have accrued.
It’s hard to gauge exactly what Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – First Assault Online is as a whole package, especially considering all I’ve had a chance to play is the Ghost Assault mode, which is very basic in concept. It plays more like a simple party game mode, or something alternative to the main experience. Not that I didn’t enjoy my limited time with this mode, but it’s not something I would see myself spending hours getting into with its current state. This is especially true considering over the last six weeks I’ve put a heap of hours into Dead by Daylight, a fantastic hide and seek experience with a lot of mechanics at play.
Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex – First Assault Online does have other modes on offer, and the game features a stack of unlockable items and gear. That said, I didn’t get the opportunity to check out any of this so far. But the great news is with the open beta going live from today, you’ll be able to jump in and give Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – First Assault Online a try for yourself.