Written by  :  Terrence Bosky (5463)
Written on  :  May 28, 2004
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
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"I don't like sand. It's coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere."

The Good

Six months after the war of Russian aggression, the world is still on edge. Nowhere is this more evident than on the Horn of Africa, where waves of Russian-supplied Ethiopian troops crossover into Eritrea. Once again Ghost Recon spearheads the American effort to restore international tranquility. Proving again that freedom isn’t free, their mission is to repel the Ethiopian invaders while defending the Eritrean infrastructure—to liberate, not to conquer. Such is the basis for the 8-level Ghost Recon expansion, Desert Siege.

Desert Siege continues the tradition of well supported Tom Clancy games, patching the existing product while adding to its length (not that this is free). At eight levels, it’s a bit longer than previous expansion packs and presents a cohesive story, plus adds a few multiplayer maps. The game itself covers the Eritrean conflict, putting the player in the position of wiping out enemy encampments, defending fuel depots, and disabling enemy vehicles.

There are a few minor changes from the original game: field glasses are now (more logically) part of the soldier’s standard kit rather than taking up valuable space as secondary equipment. AI has had some tweaking on both ends. Sadly, while the enemy AI isn’t afraid to use secondary weapons, the team AI still is. One of the biggest changes comes in terms of vehicles. Trucks are now a dynamic part of the enemy force. Soldiers stationed on the back will open fire on you as the drivers pull up close.

Team and kit selection haven’t changed, except troops begin with higher stats to account both for the amount of time passed since the original mission and for Desert Siege’s increased difficulty. There are still specialist characters unlocked by completing secondary mission objectives and they even more valuable this time around since there are fewer levels in which to increase the regular soldiers’ stats.

The levels are great. You’d expect a degree of repetition since the game is based in the desert, but the scenery changes from level to level as do the mission objectives. Also, scripting (though present) was less glaring this time around.

The Bad

Desert Siege retains Ghost Recon’s original problems but doesn’t add any new ones.

The Bottom Line

This is a strong entry that I recommend for fans of the original game.