Review by Mr_Sociopath
""Out of sight...they're opening up!""
This game is years old, but it's summer, and I have no life. On with the review!
The story of Ghost Recon takes place in 2008, and some Russian rebels have staged a coup in hopes of restoring the old Soviet Union. In the game, you play as Green Berets, the tip of the spear, sent in to neutralize the situation as quickly as possible. You know, the usual Tom Clancy jazz. Terrorists here, commies there, pretty standard stuff. The story is only expressed through the mission briefing. It's certainly coherent, and the briefing will link to some mission objectives, such as protecting UN troops, bombing crucial areas, capturing high officials, etc., but don't expect to be on the edge of your seat in terms of the story. It's fairly formulaic and bland. Though, if you like this kind of "what if" scenarios in international affairs, it'll probably rate more of a 7 to you.
In the game, you play as Green Berets, the tip of the spear, sent in to neutralize the situation as quickly as possible.
The graphics are pretty good. The environment and soldiers have pleasant and realistic textures, even when close up. Of course, this is for years ago. Obviously Ghost Recon can't hold a candle to gaming powerhouses today, such as Doom 3 and Half-Life 2, but at no point will you ever be disappointed in the graphics, bar perhaps the two dimensional bushes and leaves, but that's forgivable.
Character movement is very well done, too. Shooting a standing soldier will cause him to stumble backwards in pain, and hitting him while he's running will cause him to fall and tumble. And launching a grenade at his feet...classic. Movements seem pretty realistic and immerse you into the game.
Sounds are very distinct and powerful. You can hear your buddies confirming orders given, the sharp whizzing of bullets past your ear, sharp clanks of richets off the wall, dirty commies screaming in pain, etc. Man, when an enemy machine gunner goes full auto on your position, BELIEVE ME, you'll know. I jumped out of my chair the first time it happened. Each gun has a specific sound that is very recognizable, but still realistic. An M4 has a much sharper and more satisfying cracking sound than an M16.
The game loses two points because...well...you hear the same sounds all the time. Your M-16 always sounds the same, and after a while, it starts to get dull, and even get on your nerves a little *coughOICWcough*.
Ghost Recon, bar the briefing, debriefing, and when a teammate dies, is devoid of music. This would generally be a fault, but because Ghost Recon is a tactical simulation, having music would only take away from your gaming experience. After all, I doubt real Green Berets listen to "Ride of the Valkries" when they're on a mission.
Let me say this: at no point in this game did I ever EVER struggle with the controls. Controlling your character(s) is very smooth and intuitive, and is completely customizable if you wish in the options menu. Everything about control is very simple. Forget your go-code planning nightmares in previous Tom Clancy games if you've played them. Giving your team orders is as simple as point and click, and can be done on the fly! Pressing a single buttion brings up the menu, then all you have to do is click where you want them to go. That simple.
Control only lost a point because there were just a few things I disliked. Not things that got in the way, but useless things. For example, while there is indeed a button to lean around a corner, you lean so little that you'll hardly use the option, unless you're trying to be uber sneaky, crawling all the time.
But mostly, it's the fact that there is no "Holy ****, a tank just showed up, I'm gonna leap behind that wall for cover" button. It would have been nice.
For some reason I can't, this game is fun. I mean it. Running through the forests at night, crouching behind cover, capping some Ruskies in the ass, it's fantastic fun for some inexplicable reason. The enemy AI is pretty intelligent. You'll never feel like you're just cruising through the game. While one provides cover fire, the others will crouch and run for cover. Running through an open field is suicide. They hear footsteps and gunshots, and will use grenades if you stay put for too long. Of course, your team mates are just as smart and skilled. You can even use claymore(remote land mines, essentially) to set up traps, though I never found the patience to.
Gameplay is simple, not very diverse. It's often just, move from point A to point B, kill the commies, maybe blow something up, move to the next point, kill commies, etc. But the terrain and exact situation varies. And again, it's inexplicable, but the game is just fun. I love seeing an enemy soldier in the distance, lining up my rifle, zooming in, taking a single shot, watch his body fall, and hear my team mate say in his low, guttural voice, "goodbye."
The game is still fun to play through, for the aforementioned weird reason. Additionally, many other campaigns are available to play, along with a multiplayer option, though that isn't that most popular. Mostly, it's just the extra campaigns that are fun, so make sure you get a package that includes the expansion.
The game is great, and is certainly worth taking a look at.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 06/28/05
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