Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – First Assault Online may have a cumbersome name, but it’s no longer any burden to your wallet: the online team-based shooter is now free to play via Steam or through Nexon’s proprietary platform.
Since entering early access in December, developer Neople has made a lot of improvements and additions to the game. There’s a brand new Section 9 character, Kuro, whose special abilities focus on EMP shutdown of enemy mechs and cyborgs.
They’ve also opened up access to a prototype version of a new game mode, called “Ghost Assault.” Teams will swap between terrorist cyborgs and Section 9 ghosts. Using their Therm-optic camouflage, the ghosts have to avoid detection by the cyborgs, who can only “see” the ghosts when they’re in close proximity using their radar. However, downed Ghosts can be “hacked” by either team to provide intel on enemy positions.
Both teams get very limited ammo, so it’s a cat and mouse game of stealth and skill use, as well as learning the maps to know where to look for hiding Ghosts. Compared to the more classic deathmatch and control point modes I tried in December, Ghost Assault feels more in keeping with Ghost in the Shell’s cyberpunky roots.
“Our team are dedicated fans of ‘The Ghost in the Shell’ franchise, and it’s important to us to bring this engaging world to life as an exciting sci-fi FPS in a way that will appeal to both established fans and newcomers to the IP,” said Jung Eik Choi, lead director of First Assault at Neople, in a press release Thursday. “Maintaining open communication with our community in the Early Access phase allowed us to improve many aspects of First Assault, including game experience, maps, modes, controls and more. We are so appreciative of the players who have been part of the journey so far, and are looking forward to sharing this truly collaborative effort with a wider audience in open beta.”
According to Nexon, other improvements to First Assault Online include:
- Rebalances of Operative skills and weapons for better competitive play
- Introduction of two in-progress “prototype” maps for player feedback, and three new official maps based on locations seen in the “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex” anime
- Addition of a new Operative, Maven, original to the game
- Improved UI for menus