Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Review

The lack of online play really hurts the game.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon is a tactical combat game that was originally released for the PC, and it received a good deal of critical acclaim. An Xbox version was later released, and while it featured many of the elements that made its PC predecessor such a success, the recently released PlayStation 2 version unfortunately does not.

Finding enemies with the threat detector takes all the suspense out of sneaking around.
Finding enemies with the threat detector takes all the suspense out of sneaking around.

The game puts you in control of two squads of three soldiers. You can outfit each soldier with different weapons and equipment like sniper rifles and explosives. Anyone who played the original PC version of the game knows that it gave you three teams to control, which made the game a bit more exciting and practical, since you could create two general-purpose teams and then create a specialist team of demolition experts or snipers. In the PlayStation 2 version, you'll have to make do with just the two squads. Once in the field, the PS2 version of Ghost Recon has the same basic setup as the PC version in that it gives you the ability to control each and every soldier in your complement by switching from one to the next. You can also issue commands to your fellow soldiers using a menu. The AI of your fellow soldiers is basic but serviceable--your teammates will shoot when an immediate threat presents itself. The controls for switching between the soldiers and controlling their actions are fairly simple once you get use to them. The controls for actually moving and firing weapons are also fairly intuitive, but they're a bit clunky in terms of their responsiveness.

The biggest problems with the PS2 version of Ghost Recon are found in its general gameplay mechanics. The game is designed to be a stealthy first-person shooter in which you're supposed to sneak around in wide-open environments, using trees and shrubbery for camouflage. While this is certainly interesting in the other two versions of the game, the PlayStation 2 version spoils it by including a threat-detection radar. This enemy detector lets you know where the enemy soldiers are and whether they are hiding behind an object or not. Even worse, your crosshairs will turn red (which denotes a threat) when they track across an enemy whether that enemy is visible or not, which makes it possible to shoot enemies that you can't even see. The threat-detection radar can't be turned off unless you play the game on the hardest difficulty setting, which also dramatically improves the enemy soldiers' AI.

Visually, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon isn't a particularly pretty PlayStation 2 game. The models and textures used for the soldiers and environments are fairly simple and don't look all that great, especially when you compare them with similar games for the system, like SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs. The trees and grass look like fake props on a movie set, and there really isn't a whole lot of distinction between the different environments. On the positive side, the animation of the characters in the game is fairly fluid, as is the game's overall frame rate.

In the audio department, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon features realistic sound effects and an exciting orchestral score. The clatter of equipment as your soldiers move, the sound of the wind, and the rumbling, gear-grinding sounds of tanks in the distance almost do a better job of conveying the feeling of what it would be like to be on a covert mission than the game's visuals do.

Being able to shoot enemies without actually seeing them isn't as fun as it sounds.
Being able to shoot enemies without actually seeing them isn't as fun as it sounds.

Online play brought a lot to the table for the PC and Xbox versions, but this option has been left out of the PlayStation 2 release. The only multiplayer option you're given is the ability to play a one-on-one deathmatch on a split screen, and this mode is mediocre at best. The lack of online play really hurts the game.

In the end, Ghost Recon for the PlayStation 2 is simply not a very fun game. Its unchallenging gameplay mechanics, substandard graphics, and lack of any real multiplayer modes make it the worst iteration of the game yet. If tactical first-person shooting is your game, SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs is a much better choice on the PlayStation 2.

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Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon More Info

  • First Released Nov 13, 2001
    • GameCube
    • Macintosh
    • + 3 more
    • PC
    • PlayStation 2
    • Xbox
    The lack of online play really hurts the game.
    Average Rating7306 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Red Storm Entertainment
    Published by:
    Ubisoft, Aspyr, Microsoft Game Studios
    First-Person, Shooter, Tactical, Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Blood and Gore, Violence