The Nintendo Wii may have intuitive and accessible point-and-click controls, making it fairly straightforward when it comes to shooting things onscreen, but there just haven't been that many hardcore shooters for the system. Next Level Games hopes to bridge the gap between more casual players on the system and shooter fans by bringing Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon to the Wii. We met with game director Mike Inglehart, who talked to us about the game and how the focus was to keep it as intense as any other shooter out there but with accessible controls and cooperative play, so that a wider range of players can get into it without the added hand-eye coordination to tackle the same challenges together.
The actual shooting isn't necessarily the hardest part of a shooter so much as being able to handle your character's movement and the camera at the same time. Ghost Recon solves this by letting you point and click to where you want to go next. You can choose to run and slide for cover or walk and fire at the same time, leaving you vulnerable to enemy fire. It functions almost like a rail shooter, but instead of just firing and letting the computer handle the rest, you need make some strategic choices to survive. Inglehart said that the dexterity involved in controlling a camera is steep, so this is a way to keep the difficulty level at a more appropriate level while retaining the same intensity of a shooter.
Even if you don't have a friend to play with you on the couch, you'll be accompanied by an AI player (there's no online play). But to fully experience cooperative play, it's better to have someone who can coordinate with you and he or she can always drop in or out at any time. Inglehart talked about how players would be facing the same challenges, and that working together, you might be able to spot something the other person may miss. You'll also play differently based on your weapon type, so your roles may change before every mission. If you decide to take on a more tactical role as a sniper, you'll want to have your buddy provide you with cover so you're not left vulnerable.
The campaign story mode is broken down into 12 levels with more than 30 missions that will last roughly eight hours. The story is unique to the Wii game and is written by the same writer as Ghost Recon: Future Soldier for the other platforms. It's parallel to the story in Future Soldier, but here, you play as two soldiers who get drafted into the ghost and must go through Moscow to face an ultranationalist regime. We didn't get anymore details beyond that, but it was enough to get us started and into the campaign.
An Arcade mode is also included if you want to take on specific levels and shoot enemies for points. It's for those with a competitive drive because you'll be able to upload your score to the Wi-Fi leaderboards. There are three difficulty settings for Ghost Recon, which will affect your amount of health. A feature called "focus moments" let you slow down the action for a bit, but your reticle can continue to move at normal speed. You can't use this all the time, but it does provide a bit of relief if you're swarmed.
This was a hands-off demo, but the controls seemed simple enough. Icons onscreen will indicate where you can run to, and you point and fire with the B button to take out opponents. Some motion control is involved, mainly to run and ride, as well as reload, but you can also point offscreen to reload. We were told that there were 11 enemy classes that you'll eventually come across, like engineers that spawn small drones to come after you.
The areas we were shown were fairly nondescript, consisting of large gray buildings and trucks to find cover behind. It feels like a Ghost Recon game, though, with enemies swarming in from up ahead and choppers in the sky, but it is a lot more forgiving in terms of your health because there will be med packs strewn about to give you a boost. We'll have more details on Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon as soon as it becomes available. The game is currently set to ship in November of this year.