Review by KasketDarkfyre

Reviewed: 03/17/03 | Updated: 03/17/03

I'm not selling Avon. I'm here to kill you.

Tom Clancy has made quite a name for himself in the recent years with both the amount of books he’s written as well as the movies his ideas have been based from. The video game circuit has been especially rich with his knowledge of ‘in-house’ military knowledge that includes the tactics and weapons of this countries military force. Having played through most of the Rainbow Six series, I wasn’t all that impressed with the way that the earlier titles were created on the original Play Station. With the release and subsequent purchase of Ghost Recon, I immersed myself back into the world of military intrigue and all out tactical warfare.

The story is something out of a war novel and possibly a future film if things continue on this stretch. The year is 2008 and the military force that was once the Soviet Army has regained its former strength and is poised to take back several territories that were once within their grasp. As usual, a military move such as this requires tactical placement of military operatives and repossession by force. With the rise of this new military force, a group of men known as “Ghosts” have been called into duty to stop this military force from taking over. With the mission in sight and the orders on the table, these men drift from the ready room and onto the battlefield into your control.

Ghost Recon is more than your simple war game in which you get a gun and start shooting everything in sight. Anyone who is familiar with strategy games and real-time squad based games will know that the proper placement of your resources is what will determine whether your mission will be a success or a failure. Through several different missions, you’ll have the ability to take out squads of enemy soldiers, tanks and other various targets that happen to get in your way. Using two squads and spanning across 23 different missions that range from escorting to protecting allies to the cause, you’ll have to use your head more than your trigger finger.

The difficulty of the game is determined to how well you are at issuing orders and making sure that all sides of your squad are covered. Where you might want to take a sniper and a couple of riflemen, you’ll want to think about what you’ll do if a tank shows up to ruin the party. In that case, you would bring along a Demolitions man in order to deal with the tank while you carry out your mission. Through the use of an order menu, you can get yourself into and out of firefights without a loss of life and you can even end a conflict with little effort depending on how well you can think around a corner. The trick to this is to think ahead of time and think of all of the possible scenarios of what could happen and how you would stop them.

Once you get into the game you’ll find that it is dictated heavily on the amount of actions that you can perform with the control pad. The problem with this is, is that the learning curve is extremely steep and the enemy is relentless in its effort to stop you dead in your tracks from doing any serious damage to their side. You might find that going through the basic training is almost useless because there is no explanation as to what it is that you’re doing other than you’re hitting a button. The combat isn’t all that easy either and it requires you to know what you’re doing on the fly in order to make sure that all of your men survive. Gamers with no experience in this style of game play might find it a little too difficult to contend with at first, but after an hour of play it quickly becomes second nature.

Visually, this version of Ghost Recon is a step down from the other versions of the game. You’ll find that there isn’t all that much detail with the locations or the soldiers that you’re using, though the battle sequences are hot and heavy at all points. There are times that the camera tends to screw you up if you’re not paying attention, though the locations are huge and well detailed. Something that might catch some gamer’s off-guard is the fact that the soldiers in question as well as the enemies really don’t move with realism and have more of a fantasy walk to them. While this might not be a huge problem, for those of us who are looking for realism in our game, we want to see the realism, not a supposed way of how the highly trained soldiers move and react.

There is a huge abundance of sound effects that are scattered throughout the game and you’ll find that the voices of the enemy soldiers as well as your own men in your ears is refreshing. The constant report of gunfire and explosions that rock will about round out the overall blatant sound effects. There are other portions of the game that give it a true recon feel such as the soldiers when they move through the grass and you can hear it crunch beneath their feet. There isn’t much for music, so you don’t need to be worrying about that, as you’ll need to have your ears in tune with the action on the screen.

Ghost Recon is a wonderful game if you’re into the tactical games that force you to think before you act. While there isn’t an online component like there is with SOCOM, you’ll still have plenty of action and plenty of difficulty here without worrying about paying the fee for the adapter and ISP. If you’re looking for a good squad based game that has a challenging but good interface and a good game play premise, then you’ve found your match. If you’re looking for a one man army with a gun and targets to shoot at, then go play Soldier of Fortune and leave this one for the strategy gamers.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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