Ground Control II
Recent gaming times on PCs have not been marked by an abundance of strategies. First-person shooters – as many as you want. 3d action even more. But strategies are few. And in general, it’s even understandable why: the strategy is a purely PC-genre genre (for the sake of fairness, let’s say that the consoles also have strategies, of course, but they are somewhat different there), but now they are concentrated like a lot of money in the console sector.
And everyone, of course, seeks to do something that can be ported to all conceivable gaming platforms. However, the PC market itself is also a very big thing, and there is room for frolic in it if the competition has subsided. And, taking advantage of the “pause of the genre”, Massive / Vivendi suddenly took, and threw it into the world: a strategy that once again redefines the boundaries of the genre technically, and impeccably compilation, plus with a lot of interesting solutions – according to the game formula.
Something like that, at the first glance at which, I want to say – THING. All the more surprising, by the way, is that our splendor got this magnificence on a single compact. If we talk immediately about the conclusions from testing the “magnificence”, then the three pillars of success here are as follows: excellent graphics and sound; thoughtful and high-quality implementation of all the best “tested” chips that can play into the hands of the “classic sci-fi RTS”; giving RTS “realistic”, “life” features with a few skillful touches. And now, further – about the details 🙂
The graphics, of course, are staggering – at least the owners of powerful PCs. When for the first time in the tutorial you are explained how to control the camera and you, leaving the familiar “top and side view”, “look around the horizon”: this is truly a deadly impression. An extremely realistic urban landscape appears before your eyes – in terms of the “synthesis of reality” GC2 follows the most trendy trend and far surpasses everything that was achieved along this path. That is, it calculates a very plausible three-dimensional map, on which the line between the traditions of genres is blurred: either this is a strategy, or something in the traditions of simulators-3d-action. That is, on the one hand, there seems to be undoubtedly a three-dimensional strategy – but it’s worth looking into the distance, and the picture is not inferior … yes, in fact, to nothing 🙂 The relief is of almost any complexity, with serious elevations; both small and huge buildings-structures-ruins (with a very worthy design) and functional structures, such as bridges, fortifications and firing points. And you would see what kind of forest there is – a wonderful-looking dense cover swaddling large areas – but other types of terrain are good in their way, from sandy deserts to snowy ones. All this is reflected (!) In magnificent water, but the main thing that is reflected there is simply an incredibly beautiful sky created by the power of an indescribable mixture of special effects (due to the fact that the action takes place on different planets – the authors could not limit themselves to heavenly fantasies and the most elaborate luminaries, and they also came up with a bunch of small, but very characteristic “alien features” in landscapes that immediately emphasized the “alienness”, “alien” scenes). And shadows, and the most powerful two-dimensional illustrations, and megalithic objects 🙂
The cars and soldiers were made by remarkably detailed and well-animated models – and even the maximum approximation of an extremely fast and convenient camera (complete practical freedom within two alternative control schemes) does not turn them into something that you can watch without pleasure. But they also have great special effects – impressive “tail tails”, explosions, animated “falling to pieces.” But this is only the “traditional part of special effects”, already seen in games, despite the fact that they are made at the highest level. Much more serious is the “small details”: a flock of birds that suddenly “slips” in front of your nose and rushes into the distance (it very much confirms the impression that you are not just manipulating a conditional map, but actually looking at the arena of military operations from above); convincing rain torn by sharp gusts of wind.
In general, the audiovisual impression is made by the long-awaited upheaval in the perception of three-dimensional strategies, which was predetermined by the growth of “average computer power.” The only impression once made … the first Ground Control 🙂 Far-off ecstasy could be enjoyed by the owners of powerful cars with the advent of Dune: Emperor and the very recent Spellforce – but this is only a shadow of what you can feel today 🙂 A strategy that you can admire ( the graphics settings, by the way, the sea, and on very highly bullied options the game does not slow down on the P4-2400 / 1GB / Rad9800PRO hardware, which unfortunately you can’t say about every game) no less than any of today’s games of any other genre – it is powerful. Moreover, the quality bar does not fall in the case of pre-calculated videos, and in the case of clips on the engine – with good directing, camera work, and the essence, revealing a very good story.