Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex – First Assault Online, is the latest addition to the long streak of online experiences published by Nexon. Inspired by the homonymous series of manga, this game is a free-to-play FPS featuring in-game purchases that echoes of other Nexon products such as Combat Arms. The title also takes a shot at reproducing some of the most iconic modes for the FPS genre, although the result could clearly use a few improvements.
Getting past the loading screens and into the game leads you to a main menu that looks somewhat familiar. It is unclear if this design choice was to be a homage to older titles from the same publisher or if the developers decided to focus on something else, recycling assets from older games. The game seems to have no major problems while running and, contrary to most online FPS, you’re given the chance to change your FoV, making it playable for those who suffer from motion sickness.
Familiar FPS DNA
Ghost In The Shell offers a good variety when it comes to maps and game modes. Aside from the usual Team Deathmatch and demolition, a Counter-Strike inspired match pitching two teams against each other in a series of rounds where one has to plant a bomb and the other has to defend specific sites and that nobody seems to really be interested in, the meat of the game is in the Terminal Conquest mode. These maps have you run to specific strategic points throughout the level in order to capture and hold them. Once you capture a terminal, an intelligent machine known as ThinkTank will be deployed. These computer-controlled robots can spot your enemies, shoot and act as mobile gun platforms. The goal is to capture all of the terminals.
Weapons and characters customization also play a huge role in the game, with the latter being one of the most interesting aspects of this title. Ghost In The Shell features 8 different operatives that can be unlocked through the in-game currency. Each of these sport a unique skill that you can activate during combat, from a holographic shield to bionic armor. Skills can also be shared with your teammates, further promoting teamwork and allowing for a dynamic gameplay.
Weapons, on the other hand, can be customized to improve their effectiveness or to add specific gadgets. From flashlights to suppressors and tripods, these change your current firearm’s stats and slightly modify the way your character feels, moves and plays. Characters can also be upgraded through the use of special modules that can be obtained during matches, but the limited amount of time the preview account I was using allowed me was not enough for me to fully experience the feature.
Where Does It Go From Here?
The title offers plenty, but the content is still barely enough to keep it alive on the long run. The rather toxic community, typical of free-to-play FPS games, that won’t miss an opportunity to flame and blame the team for any loss definitely doesn’t help. Furthermore, the fact that the most played mode seems to be, by far, Team Deathmatch with extremely long waiting times when participating in any of the other games, paints a bleak future for this title.
Ghost In The Shell has existed as an early access project for a while now, with people sharing their opinions on the title and the developers shaping their product to the best of their ability. While this game’s future doesn’t seem to be a bright one, it surely will be interesting to know what the dev team is planning to change and how the title will evolve. First Assault Online is available for free on Steam. A Nexon account is required to play at the time of writing, but that might change in the future.