I know that this is old news (to say the least), but PC Gamer gave this one "Game of the Year" and wished they could again the following year when nothing better came out.
Ghost Recon offers some excitingly tense moments, but problems often rear their ugly heads just when the game gets interesting.
These days, when shooter fans prepare to enter virtual combat, they're more likely to reach for an MP5 submachine gun than some futuristic plasma rifle. Games like SWAT 3 and Operation Flashpoint have offered realistic situations, weapons, and tactics that create deeper alternatives to pure fantasy shooters like Quake III Arena or Unreal Tournament. Of course, if there's a game that's synonymous with the tactical shooter subgenre, it's Rainbow Six or its successor, Rogue Spear. With these games, developer Red Storm set an unprecedented standard for realistic gaming combat. One shot could kill, and stealth and planning were the order of the day. Now Red Storm is back with a new tactical shooter, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon, which is big news for shooter fans. News on the game itself is mixed, though. Ghost Recon offers some excitingly tense moments, but problems often rear their ugly heads just when the game gets interesting.
Ghost Recon puts you in command of a platoon from "The Ghosts," an elite Special Forces unit operating at the vanguard of the US military. Set in the year 2008, Ghost Recon imagines a near future in which ultranationalists have seized power in Russia and begun a campaign of aggression against the former republics of the Soviet Union like the Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. With the situation rapidly deteriorating, your team is inserted into hotspots like Georgia and the Baltic states to help bring about stability. It's not a very original premise, but it serves its purpose.
The main game consists of a story-driven 15-mission campaign. After you unlock missions in the campaign, you'll be able to play parts of them again in a quick mission mode. Ghost Recon also offers fairly promising co-op and competitive multiplayer modes like last man standing and hostage search and rescue.
Before each mission, you'll get a text and audio briefing on your team's goals, as well as a rudimentary map of the mission area. After the briefing, you'll carry out tasks like assaulting enemy camps, rescuing downed pilots from their captors, blowing up bridges, ambushing an enemy tank column, and fighting through a bombed-out town. The missions involve a lot of slow, stealthy movement and scanning of tree lines and buildings for enemy activity. This regularly veers between excitingly tense and rather tedious. When combat ensues, it's usually lighting quick, and casualties on both sides are high. Don't expect extended firefights, but do expect piles of bodies.
Prior to each mission, you'll get to assign soldiers with particular specialties like sniping or demolitions to three fireteams to create a balanced force. Each fireteam can include up to three men, but you can only enter a mission with a measly total of six men. Each soldier is rated for weapons skill, stealth, leadership, and endurance (hit points and the ability to carry heavy gear quickly). As soldiers complete missions, they earn extra points that you assign to improve their various abilities. If you complete the special optional mission objectives, you'll get access to specialist characters with higher stats, as well as weapons that are otherwise unavailable, like the advanced OICW assault rifle.
Overall, you'll get quite an arsenal of equipment and weapons, including assault rifles (such as the M16/M203), carbines (M4), submachine guns (MP5, MP5SD), light machine guns (M249 SAW), sniper rifles (M24), pistols (M9), hand grenades, and antitank rockets. There are around 22 weapons and items in all, but you won't become some unrealistic walking tank since you can only equip two weapons per soldier at a time. You'll also encounter a number of vehicles, but these only act as window dressing or targets. You can't ride in or drive any vehicles, which is a real shame. Recent games such as Operation Flashpoint and Tribes 2 have shown just how dramatic and tactically interesting that possibility can be.
Once in a mission, you'll directly control one soldier at a time while commanding the rest of your squad indirectly. Instead of the elaborate and perhaps overly complicated premission planning of Rainbow Six and Rogue Spear, you give orders to your team members in real time during Ghost Recon's missions. The superlative SWAT 3 arguably perfected this sort of system already. You may find Ghost Recon's command system awkward by comparison.
At any time during a mission, you can call up a command interface panel that lists your soldiers and provides a rough map of the mission area with waypoints designating mission objectives. From this panel, you assign movement waypoints and firing arcs for each fireteam and issue their rules of engagement. You can tell your troops to hold position, advance and then hold if fired upon, or advance at all costs. You can order them to shoot on sight, lay down suppressing fire, or avoid firing unless fired upon. Overall, the commands are too limited. Surprisingly and unfortunately, there are no commands to withdraw or take up full cover and concealment when available. Also, you can tell a fireteam to cover a general arc, but you can't instruct them to cover a certain building, bridge, or other specific area. You'll need to move them into the perfect position by hand.
You'll find that the poorly detailed map in the command panel isn't as useful as it could be. A good full-sized topographical map would have been more suited to the sort of finely detailed movements necessary to keep your men alive. You really need elevation markings, not just generalized references to clumps of trees. The command interface has other problems. With the game set to high resolutions, everything on the panel appears rather tiny. Also, the panel seems unresponsive--you often need to click things multiple times to get them to work properly. There aren't enough hotkeys to really circumvent the interface panel, and you need to temporarily assume control of a fireteam to give it movement orders, which is very awkward, particularly during a firefight.
- Player Reviews: 27
- Game Universe:
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six (DC, GBC, N64, PS, PC),
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon (XBOX, PC, GC, PS2, MAC, NGE),
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 (XBOX, PS2, GC, MOBILE),
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear (PC, PS, DC, PS2, GBA, MAC),
- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell (XBOX, PC, PS2, GC, GBA, NGE, MOBILE, MAC, PS3),
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Island Thunder (PC, XBOX, PS2),
- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow (PC, XBOX, PS2, GC, GBA, MOBILE, PS3),
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm (PS2, NGE, MOBILE),
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2 (PS2, XBOX, GC, PC),
- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory (PC, XBOX, NGE, PS2, GC, DS, 3DS)