Live (online play), Dolby Digital 5.1, System Link, Memory
been a big Tom Clancy fan for a long time now. In addition to
putting significant time in with the PC version of Rainbow Six:
Rogue Spear and recently beating Splinter Cell, I've also
read through nine different Clancy novels. Needless to say, I've
been looking forward to Ghost Recon for a long time, and it
case you've never played a Clancy game before, most of them revolve
around a group of elite soldiers infiltrating enemy territory and
carrying out a variety of tasks in service of their country. Ghost
Recon is no different, but it's important to note that the team
in this game is different from the Rainbow Six team…in other words
this game is NOT part of the Rainbow Six series. The Ghosts are an
elite group of specially trained Green Berets, armed with the latest
weaponry, gadgets, and other essentials needed to carry out critical
and complex tasks in service of the US government.
time the action is set in the year 2008. The world is on the brink
of war, and radical ultranationalists have seized power in Moscow.
Their goal is to rebuild the old Soviet Empire, and one by one
former Russian provinces are conquered and merged back into a
unified USSR. US Special Forces Group 5, First Battalion, D Company
(a.k.a. you, the Ghosts) is sent in as a first-strike unit to
(hopefully) prevent WWIII and stop the radical governments spread of
modes include Training (highly recommended), Campaign, Quick
Mission, and Multiplayer. Personally I think that the best part of
this game is the online play, but since many don't yet have Xbox
Live I'll focus on the single-player campaign first. At the
beginning of a new campaign the player will set up a Dossier, where
progress and rank will be saved. The campaign itself is made up of
15 different missions, each featuring a unique set of goals to
accomplish and a variety of unlockables, settings and variables. A
total of 50 different tasks are available to accomplish in the game,
and completing these will open up a variety of locked extras such as
extra characters (usually much better than the starting ones and
filling positions the others don't so well), new weapons, and extra
levels available for use in multiplayer. Soldiers will also improve
over the course of the Campaign mode, depending on how often they're
used and how well they accomplish each task.
to each mission, the player will set up the assault teams to be used
in the mission, including picking from the available soldiers and
setting them up with the proper kit to use in that mission. Ghost
Recon is very friendly in this respect, as the auto-assign
function actually works pretty well and the game will not let the
player continue if they don't have the specialized soldiers
necessary to complete some missions (such as a demolition expert).
a mission begins, the player's teams are inserted at the drop-off
point and from there move out towards each objective. Action takes
place in first person, and smartly Ghost Recon uses a typical FPS
control scheme (move with the left analog stick, look with the right
stick, etc.). The right trigger is used to actually fire the
selected weapon, while B cycles kits, X turns on night vision, Y
switches between different soldiers, and A reloads. At any time
during a mission the left trigger is used to bring up the Command
Interface. From here the player can plan action for both teams,
including plotting waypoints (where each team should advance),
adjusting movement (Advance, Advance At All Costs, and Hold) and
setting combat options for each team (Recon, Assault, Suppress).
console ports of PC titles suffer from spotty controls, but
amazingly that's not the case here. The targeting reticule can be
set to automatically adjust whenever it gets close to an enemy, thus
alleviating any problems that may come up with the less accurate
(than a mouse and keyboard) controller. The console version also
includes a mini-map that indicates the direction a shot comes from,
making it easier to adjust on the fly. These additions are very
important, as like in most Clancy games all it takes is one shot (or
two if the first wasn't dead-on) to fell an enemy or for an enemy to
take you out.
should be obvious by now that the game is pretty complex, and as a
result the action moves along at a fairly slow pace. Rush into an
area with guns a-blazin' and the mission will be over quickly, but
plan out troop advancement, use smart tactics, and routinely
scanning the countryside and victory is almost assured. "One
shot one kill" does not lend itself well to those players who
have to have instant gratification in their shooters. Ghost Recon
rewards the smart and patient player, and as such Unreal-nuts need
plays in much the same fashion, and can be carried out over
split-screen, system link, or online via Xbox Live. The game types
here include Cooperative games, Team games, and Solo games. The coop
games include Mission (basically a single-player mission with all
human players), Firefight (team vs. team), and Recon (team has to
make it through enemy territory alive). Team games include Last Man
Standing (last team alive wins), Search and Rescue (rescue three
hostages), Hamburger Hill (make it to a zone in the middle of the
map and then hold it), Domination (occupy different scattered
zones), and Siege (infiltrate a team's base). In these team games
each team member can only talk to other members of the team, thus
creating a very good sense of realism and making strategy planning
easy and secure.
games include Last Man Standing (most kills or last alive wins),
Sharpshooter (most kills wins), Hamburger Hill (one player holds a
zone), and Cat and Mouse. Cat and Mouse is by far the most unique
game. The first player to get a kill becomes the mouse and has their
kit reduced to a pistol. Thereafter each kill the mouse makes earns
them a point, and the first cat to kill the mouse then becomes the
mouse. As you can see, there is a large variety of multiplayer games
to play. Generally these are the best games to play online in my
opinion as the player doesn't need to rely on others, unless of
course the player has a close-knit group of other players they can
trust on Xbox Live.
Ghost Recon has a weakness, it's in the very average
graphics. The settings are generally bland to begin with (darkness,
barren land, ruins, etc.), but the murky color palette and low-res
graphics make it look much worse than it should. The trees and other
plants are at times comically funny looking, although they still do
what they're supposed to do (provide cover). Many buildings are
barren inside, and at times look pretty funky themselves. I'm pretty
sure this is due to the fact that it's been ported to all three
major consoles, thus showing evidence of it's PS2 heritage. The
character models aren't bad at all though, as well as the weather
effects. The interface is pretty slick too, and keeps with the theme
found in past Clancy titles. It's not the worse looking Xbox game
ever, but it looks more at home on a PS2 than a Xbox.
sound is top-notch though. Although the music is usually subdued or
nonexistent, in this kind of game that works to its advantage. It's
important that they player be able to hear every little sound while
out on a mission, and the lack of a musical cue whenever an enemy
gets close just makes the game that much more tense and rewarding.
Ambient effects are great as well. Urban environments are filled
with cars, planes, and echoing footprints, while outdoor
environments feature chirping birds, rushing water, howling wind,
and the shuffling of grass. Rain also sounds really good and impressive
tense gameplay - one shot is all it takes to end a soldier's
life and advancing over the countryside requires constant
watching and utilizing cover.
a mission is very rewarding.
sound is simply awesome, with incredible ambient effects,
echoing footsteps, good voice acting, and sparse but well
slow pace and necessary rudimentary knowledge of military
tactics definitely won't appeal to everyone.
graphics are average at best.
aren't as precise as the PC version, although this was
compensated for pretty well.
you have Xbox Live or not, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon is
another excellent addition to the genre and Clancy's stable of
games. Featuring a very engrossing single-player campaign and a ton
of different online options, this one will keep you busy for months.
Just make sure that you're the type of gamer that can handle the
slow pace, unforgiving gameplay, and bland graphics.