Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon
Too short, too simple
Mar 30, 2002
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Ghost Recon is a lot like a cross between Novalogic's Delta Force series and Sierra's SWAT 3, you have to sneak around and pick your moments to act while trying to achieve your objectives. After completing a mission each soldier who participated is awarded 2 points to improve their stats(which start off very low) and completing some missions will unlock 1 of 12 specialists, these specialists usually have better/different weapons and much better stats. The levels are all very impressive, trees sway in the breeze, rebel camps have camp fires and washing hanging on clothes lines while another level has heavy rain, mud caked roads and fields, destroyed buildings and artillery that lights up the distant sky. Issuing orders is incredibly simple - just point and click on an overlaid map and the soldiers will either respond or you will get an annoying buzzer sound indicating it's not possible (no explanation will be given though).
Overall the game is far too short, it's only a completely linear 15 mission campaign, the missions don't take too long to complete, usually about 5 minutes but will take longer if you try to make it through the game without losing any soldiers. It suffers from 'Delta Force Syndrome', you can complete each mission by taking your time, sneaking around the perimeter sniping everyone. Each soldier has a fixed kit selection with a fixed primary weapon and a variation of secondary equipment (more ammo, field glasses or a sidearm) so instead of giving your best demolitions soldier a satchel charge to blow up a bridge, you have to pick the demolitions soldier who has satchel charges in their kit selection. This also falls apart when the action starts, if this soldier is killed the mission automatically fails. Also, if you run out of ammunition you can't pick up an enemies or a fallen team mates weapon, this soldier then becomes useless. The specialists you unlock are far superior to any other soldiers that once you have unlocked two of them (usually after two missions) you don't need to use any other soldiers. The AI of team mates can be stupid at times, if you switch control to another team your previously selected team will often change posture which can lead to them being spotted and killed, plus they never even try to find any cover what so ever, they prefer to sit in the open rather than crawl into some nearby ground cover. Team members with an automatic weapon will often stand up while the rest of the team is crouch or prone and fire off 40% of their magazine in one burst, needless to say these team members tend to die first. The path finding is very bad, often team members will get stuck behind objects or just plain lost and you are forced to either go back and get them or change control to said team member and 'rescue' them. The enemies aren't much better, they will often stand upright in the open, firing bursts at you. They often stand perfectly still looking at a door way or a gap in some rocks, waiting for you to come to them only for you to come round behind them or shoot them in the arm the juts out. Often you will see the barrel of a gun or even an arm or leg clip through a wall or door giving away the position of an enemy, you then take your high powered rifle and fire a few rounds in the rough direction of the person attached to it only to find out your bullets don't penetrate anything but glass, this is truly bizarre considering how much effort went into making this game realistic. The sound/enemy detector is a nice feature but despite being a little crude (only places sounds in 90 degree zones) it makes the game too simple as it effectively tells the position of all the enemies. Issuing orders is all done in real time and is completely mouse driven which means no keyboard short cuts to speed up the process. Orders are only incredibly simple: move here, look in this general direction, only fire if fired on, fire at will or suppress any suspected enemies. These orders are far too simple for a so called 'tactical shooter'. Only one order can be issued to a team at any one time which means you have to either wait for them to finish the first order, or over ride it with a new one. You can't give more than one team the same order at the same time which means even longer that you are open to hostile fire.
The Bottom Line
Fun for the few hours it will take to finish it. Fans of Rainbow 6 might not like how it has been dumbed down but fans of SWAT 3, Delta Force should really enjoy it. It doesn't have the depth to be a lasting favourite but has some impressive features that will become standard in the future.
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