So on hard reflection having played every test and come to the same sort of stalemate, I think we can all agree the game looks great, the customization's great, and I think even the range of environments and setups will be great.
But why is the game not built to be played tactically? Depth is what I'm talking about. Motivation to engage with the game strategically. Almost all engagements, are just a closing circle of death.
- Most glaringly inexplicable, is that camp AI isn't randomised. We get the same configuration for replays, or just generally. Lifeless.
- Where are the tactical tools in the design itself? For instance when we have to interrogate a guy in the open with a chopper nearby. We should be able to create distraction, draw the AI away into investigation. We should be able to neutralise the target with rubber bullets or a stun before bagging him. We should be able to use smoke or tear gas to cause confusion and snatch him. The ONLY way we can actually play these scenarios is to delete the enemies around him and then sneak up outside of his forward cone of vision to get a hold of him. If we spook the camp, there are no choices. We have no non-lethal means of changing the outcome, which is him running to the chopper, and escaping. We should be able to disable the chopper. Most of all if we cut him off we should be able to point a gun to his face and have him surrender, like if someone waits behind the car. We can't. He runs blindly into the obvious threat of death. Oh and he's in the same spot, separated from all his support, EVERY time, with a "snatch me" t-shirt on 😉
- The different DNA of bases can be interesting, but again it's superficial. Alarms, generators, light panels, AA. Nothing about the design promotes the awareness of these. One shot takes out the alarm and the call for helicopters before entering any base, so mundane. Generators we never touch as enemies see in the dark anyway. And light panels do blind you, but are avoidable.
- All of it lacks real design depth. Imagine a camp full of randomised, patrolling enemies. You have to snag and interrogate someone to get the alarm code and it has to be input at the tower, that's prevented helicopters showing if we go loud. Imagine generators causing an investigation state in the base, some fixing it, others searching with flashlights.
- Imagine designing GRW in a way that fosters tactical play – not where the simplest, and quickly becoming ONLY way to play – is to circle inwards headshotting everyone until you're clear. I'm astonished they didn't mix this up.
- The only part of it with design logic is the AA, cool, we can't basejump into a camp when active, that's good it really punishes chopper approaches and HAS to be dealt with, and jammers, which do a great job of limiting the tools you have. Both require thought to find and eliminate. But imagine AA could be reprogrammed to target their choppers, then an alarm triggered? Imagine jammers couldn't be switched off at the mains, but required you to coordinate in a triangle to scan limited areas for hostiles with some anti-scrambling?
- The design ideas lack depth. Aside from the fact, that we are not motivated to make the challenge harder for ourselves. At all. As if knocking out a base all ghost would prevent alert levels in the two nearest bases from rising a notch for a day or so.. real, in-game consequences, that connect the world and make our choices meaningful.
Really feel for the team – this one is an unpolished diamond. These design ideas should have been tested with the public much further in advance, and deepened.
As it is I feel GRW is going to get eaten alive by the media in a few weeks. Is the endgame really replaying the missions with enemies in their Truman Show placeholder spots? Will PvP be announced last moment to offer a more lively challenge, but again with gamemodes untested? I'm not after any milsim, all I want is satisfying gameplay which makes it a pleasure to make dynamic choices.