Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – First Assault Online [official site] is a long name. Too long, in fact, so I’m going to call it by the more palatable acronym GITS-SAC-FAO for the rest of this article. Anyway, GITS-SAC-FAO has left paid Early Access and is in free-to-play open beta ahead of a full free-to-play launch this week.
First released in December of last year, GITS-SAC-FAO is a squad-based first-person shooter set in the Ghost in the Shell universe where you play cybernetic agents from the movie’s Section 9 as they attempt to thwart cyber-terrorism in all its nasty manifestations. As a free-to-play game, you can absolutely expect all of that to be layered with the usual microtransactional fare and whatnot.
The lovely Rob Zacny wasn’t nearly as fond of the game as he was the television show and movies, however, finding it “a deeply unremarkable [game] at this stage, without many hints that something more ambitious or more intriguing could grow out of it.” That doesn’t sound all that optimistic, does it? It’ll also be interesting to see how the in-game economy of earning unlocks and upgrades shifts with the new free-to-play label, if it does at all.
Well, if you’re keen to try it out yourself, there’s a special promotion that can get you into GITS-SAC-FAO ahead of its open beta with some special in-game prizes like skins if you put in enough time with it before the promotion ends on the 27th. Otherwise you can play it through Steam on July 28 when it goes properly free-to-play.