Ground Control 2: Operation Exodus
Anno 2000. Vivendi surprised the world with their newest game Ground Control, a real-time strategy title that went against all rules of RTS from those days. Bases were a big no-no ! A limited amount of units that you could select yourself per map and in some maps you could request reinforcements. The graphics you could admire in this game were awesome. The question is whether Vivendi can do justice to the first game with Ground Control 2.
The formula of Ground Control 2 is still the same as its predecessor. This means you don’t need to build a base, don’t need to look for resources and don’t have to make units. “How will you get units ?” I hear some people ask. At the start of a mission you get some troops. This is entirely scripted and depends on the mission but on the maps there are LZ’s, landing zones, and if you control one you can – depending on your Acquisition Points – have new units be flown in at will.
You can get Acquisition Points automatically but the less troops you have, the faster you get AP’s. This because the HQ wants all units to be used as efficient as possible. Real rush techniques aren’t applicable as your efficiency becomes 0 from the moment you reach a certain amount of troops which results in you getting new units only on a very limited basis.
A second way to get AP’s is to control the Victory Locations. These are marked on the map with a red circle (if the enemy holds them). Taking one of those is as simple as getting a Landing Zone, just kill all enemies nearby.
The game itself runs like a train although you do need a pretty decent PC to be able to play the game in all its glory. There where its predecessor already had huge amount of detail for the units, GC2 does it even better. The camera is completely free, you can freely zoom, rotate, tilt, … You can choose the perfect angle to blast your enemy to pieces. As you can see in the screenshots the detail on the units is still very high and you can zoom in so far that you can almost see the neckhairs of your units standing up straight.
Sending your units to certain death is done as in all RTS games with left and right mouse buttons. Rotating the camera can be done in 2 ways: either you work with freecam where the camera moves when you get to the edges of the screen, or you use the RTSCam in which case you can only move with the middle mouse button.
The interface isn’t big as you don’t need to control any buildings. At the bottom there’s the status of the units you’ve selected and at the right top you’ve got three buttons to fill and upgrade your dropship.
Your dropship is the only means to get new units. Once you control a landing zone you can completely fill your dropship with units just as long as the cargospace allows this and then send it to the playfield. If your dropship gets destroyed during a mission you’ll have a big problem as you won’t be able to request new units. From time to time new troops will arrive when these are scripted in the mission.
These missions vary from cleaning up an entire map to infiltrating an enemy base. The diversity among units isn’t big but not small either. Everything is just as it should be and nicely balanced.
Graphically things look fantastic. The amount of detail on the units is like previoulsy mentioned enormous but also the rest looks awesome. Bashing enemies is done on about any type of soil going from beautiful forests to bare deserts or freezing cold snowlandscapes and everything looks just as beautiful.
The storyline comes in the form of cut-scenes and in-game movies which are beautiful and full of atmosphere and the graphical engine is good enough to keep it that way throughout the entire game.
Ground Control 2: Operation Exodus is a hit ! It does justice to its predecessor in all possible ways and is in my opinion one of the better RTS games currently available. Every RTS fan should get this game in his/her collection and also if you’re not a fan of the genre, you should still get it