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Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 2

Score: 90%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment
Developer: Red Storm Entertainment
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4/2 - 16 Online
Genre: Shooter/ Squad-Based/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

While the original Ghost Recon was able to gain a sizable following fox the Xbox, the game was based more for PC than console players. Ghost Recon 2 is developed with console gamers in mind, streamlining the experience and opening it up to a new audience.

Ghost Recon 2 takes big strides over the original and its semi-sequel, Jungle Storm. The most noticeable aspect is the move from a 1st person perspective into a 3rd person one. This opens your perspective to more things, allowing you to see more terrain and make better tactical decisions. The ever-present fog from the original has also been removed. Environments are much more detailed with lush foliage and waving grass while offering wide-open spaces. Animation is smooth and flows nicely from one to another. It’s a very subtle thing, but the few extra frames of animation really help to make the game stand out.

Sound is one area Red Storm has always been consistent with, and that trend continues here. Gunfire and explosions are spot-on and pack just the right amount of punch. Music and voice work is also well done.


Gameplay:

Ghost Recon 2 places the action in the year 2011 during a revolt in North Korea. Fearing that violence may spread out of the country, which would spark international problems, the United Nations sends in the Ghost Recon team.

The game is split up into three main modes: Campaign, Quick Mission, and Multiplayer. A Lone Wolf mode is also available, but must be unlocked. Campaign mode, which spans 15 levels, opens with a short documentary describing the conflict in North Korea. After, you are presented with a television interview with the Ghost Recon team describing the events of the mission. From here you play through their stories, assuming the role of Scott Mitchell, the leader of Ghost Recon.

Mission setup is similar to past games in the series, but brings with it a few changes to the formula. You begin each mission by equipping your four-man squad with weapons and tools. Placing the game in the future allows for the use of military technology not yet in use, such as the SPR-468 rifle, which has a camera mounted on it so your soldiers can see around corners and over obstacles without exposing themselves to gunfire. Other tools like night vision and various types of explosive ordnance are also available. While in the field, you can also swap weapons with fallen enemies, a feature that wasn’t available in the previous games.

Quick Mission presents short missions you can take to brush up on commanding your squad. Each mission involves mission goals like Firefight, Defend, and Recon. By completing missions in Campaign mode, you’ll unlock Lone Wolf mode, letting you replay missions as a solo commando. This mode is the one that really takes the cake. Going through missions with a team is a completely different experience than going through it solo.

The biggest draw of the first two Ghost Recon games was Multiplayer. Ghost Recon 2 offers a number of online options that can be played either with four players on System Link, or up to 16 players on Xbox Live. All of the standard online modes are available and are joined by a new mode called Seek and Destroy. Here, players all begin as soldiers, the first person to score a kill is designated as a “Lone Wolf,” granting them stealth abilities and marking them as the target for the remaining soldiers.


Difficulty:

Ghost Recon 2 is by no means an easy game. The art of stealth is the most important aspect in the game, so if you can’t stay hidden, you’re probably dead. Players who want to jump into the fray -- shooting everything they run across -- will be in for a difficult experience. Meanwhile, players who are too defensive probably won’t go far. Ghost Recon 2 requires just the right balance of aggressiveness and caution in order for players to succeed. The downside is that the game can be frustrating and does have a lot of trial-and-error gameplay. Thankfully, you can save anywhere, saving the frustration of having to replay big sections of the game (provided you save often).

Game Mechanics:

Troop A.I. has been punched up a bit. There’s never a sense of “babysitting” troops found in other tactical shooters, instead allowing you to focus on tactics. Squad members never get in the way and will pick off any enemies who threaten the group. The upped A.I. is aided by a new squad interface. Unlike the previous Ghost Recon, you now control a single trooper instead of having control over the entire team. However, you can give commands with a simple button press. Coming off the complicated system found in the last game (which is the reason I never got into it), the new system is a nice change of pace.

The new system, as well as tweaked A.I., does come with a side effect. Since you’re basically just worrying about your hide (while your squad worries about theirs), there isn’t a lot of room for deep tactics. A few tricks and traps can be set, but nothing as complicated as found in the last game. Still, there’s enough here for fans to really get into the game.

Though it may not provide the same level of depth as the previous game, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 2 opens the game up to a broader audience who, like me, may have been turned off by the first game. Highly recommended.


-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Windows Forgotten Realms: Menzoberranzan Sony PlayStation 2 Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3

 
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