Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex — First Assault Online Is an Awful Long Title For Such a Mediocre-Looking Game
The animated life of Ghost in the Shell is a complicated machine. You've got the original 1995 film adaptation of Masamune Shirow's landmark cyberpunk work, then there's the 2004 sequel, and then the 2008 remastered Ghost in the Shell 2.0. Of course, you've also got Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, the 2002 animated series, which also had a few feature-length chapters during its run. And let's not forget the most recent iteration, Ghost in the Shell: Arise, a complete re-imagining of Shirow's story, which took place before the original manga, but also had a movie release this year in Japan. People love their Major Kusanagi, no matter how convoluted her story becomes throughout all the various incarnations.
Though there hasn't been quite as many Ghost in the Shell video games, that hasn't stopped the franchise from being equally confusing. The original PlayStation One title, Ghost in the Shell (based on the first film) managed to survive just fine on its own, but two different games based on Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, which were both titled simply Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, arrived on two different systems and offered two different styles of play (one a third-person shooter, one a first-person shooter). For this latest attempt at bringing Ghost in the Shell to life as a video game, Nexon has again turned to Stand Alone Complex for inspiration. Unfortunately, it's also going to be a free-to-play, online multiplayer-only, squad-based FPS.
The trailer shows off a bit of what you can expect from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex — First Assault Online, including a bit of the premise. It seems all Ghosts have become hackable, opening the whole nation up to terrorist threat. As a result, the Major and the rest of Section 9 must take on these military drones in order to make the streets safe again. It looks like players will be able to take on the role of various members of Section 9 like Kusanagi and Batou, as well as utilizing special abilities for each of the characters. It's not really clear how any of that will work, but you can see an arm turning into a gun and another character making use of a drone attack of sorts.
I'm also not sure how the game will determine who you get to play as during a given match. Will teams always be split between Section 9 and the terrorists? How will you decide who gets to be who from the special forces roster? Can there be multiple Motoko's on a squad? The footage raises nearly as many questions as it does provide answers, so it seems like the only way to find out would be to get into the beta to learn more. It's just a shame it looks so damn basic. There are so many elements of this footage that are just straight cribbed from other FPS titles, I have to wonder what reason at all there would be to give GitS: SAC — FAO a chance, even if it is free.
You can sign up for the closed beta if you're feeling froggy, but it's possible you might get at least some enjoyment out of the generic-looking shooter with Ghost in the Shell trappings if you're a die-hard fan.