Review by Brandogrey

Reviewed: 11/13/03

I Wanted To Be Disappointed...

After hearing so many great things about Ghost Recon, I barely hesitated in picking up this title. I should have read some of the reviews which explained that the key elements that made it game of the year for 2001 on the PC where shamefully absent in the PS2 version.

I've always been a Rogue Spear/Rainbow 6 fan, just revelling in all the detailed planning that goes in to each mission. Of course, there's no planning on the PS2 version of Ghost Recon, just straight up squad-based combat very similar to what you'd find playing Socom Navy Seals, minus the ability to control your squadmates. I was upset with the fact that you couldn't lay down waypoints for your teams, strategize before the action, or scope out those sweet perches for your snipers to hole up in to provide cover, but once I got over my initial disappointment, I was surprized to find that this limited version of the PC release was very entertaining.

I think that what really grabs you and pulls you into the game is its superb sound. When you're under fire, the ping of bullets snapping past your ears makes you want to duck your head under a pillow, and when you launch an RPG into a tank at close range, the explosion is thunderous and even simulates the ringing in your ears. Fabulous. There's one mission where you have to protect an Allied tank as it travels into a village, and in that one mission, I totally lost myself in the intense action, the crackling sounds of gunfire and gigantic explosions going off all around me. And when you die, you don't hear the thud of bullets against your chest, you can almost feel it. Those are the experiences in gaming that we all look for - where we become immersed and totally forget that we're holding a piece of plastic covered wires in our hands. I can't lie, there are several of those moments in Ghost Recon, and the fun-factor is definitely there in this title.

The graphics in Ghost Recon are great - no complaints here in that department. Textures are above average, lighting is realistic, and the darkness of the nighttime missions does what it's supposed to... keep you hidden.

The obvious drawbacks for me in this game is the absense of certain control features found in the PC Rogue Spear/Rainbow 6 titles, or even in Socom Navy Seals on the PS2. You can't communicate with your team members... at all. All you can really do is point your crosshairs and direct your accompanying team to that point. You can get them to cover a certain area for you, but it involves pressing select and pulling up a map screen... really tedious. I guess I got spoiled by the luxury of Socom's voice-activated commands, and the many buttons available to you on your PC when playing Rogue Spear. I'd love to be able to tell my teammates to frag a certain area, or cover me as I tromp across a street full of lead, but I guess there's just not enough buttons on the PS2's controller.

What you will get in Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon is a fun gaming experience, an above average storyline with a great mission narrative, sound effects that will suck you into the TV, and graphics that will make you repeatedly say, ''what a gorgeous shrub!'' What the game lacks is the critical component of control. If you could just tell your darned guys to hit the dirt when the Shiites hit the fan, I think I would have given the game an 8. If there was a planning phase (like on the other Rogue Spear PC titles), I would have given it a 9, and if the game supported a headset with voice commands, I would have given it an unquestioned 10.

I can only give it a 7 of 10, however, though it is a compitant game that has it's memorable moments. It's just a day late and a dollar short when compared against some of the more modern versions of the first person/squad based shooter.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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