Review by Scottie theNerd
"Tom Clancy games are known to be good, and Ghost Recon doesn't fail"
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six introduced a new type of game: Tactical First Person shooters. Action is not the key, teamwork, stealth and co-ordination determine success or failure. Ghost Recon follows this standard, and introduces many new features which will impress many.
The story revolves around a group of Elite soldiers known as the ''Ghosts''. Recent activity in the nation of Georgia has sparked off a militaristic coup, and Russia is eager to step in and handle the situation. Of course, this is the public story. Intelligence knows that Russia is planning to use the civil strife as a cover-up to invade. With Russia gaining power once more, it is up to the Ghosts to spearhead the allied assault against the enemy.
The player begins each mission with a briefing, clearly highlighting the objectives and their locations (if known). After the briefing, the player can either handpick their squad, or let the game select them automatically. There are three fireteams that you can control in the field: Alpha, Bravo and Charlie. You can customise who is in each time. It is important to select soldiers with mission-relevant roles, and select their relevant weapons. For example, if the mission requires you to knock out enemy tanks, you would need to a Demolitions expert with the M134 anti-tank weapon. If you need to remove enemy infantry, you would need to throw in Riflemen and Snipers.
The Ghosts have access to state-of-the-art weapons and equipment. Firearms include M16 Assault Rifles with optional M203 Grenade Launcher, M4 Carbines, M249 Machine Guns, M82 Barrett Sniper Rifles, etc. All soldiers carry Night Vision goggles, and depending on the kit you give them before the mission, they can carry Grenades, Claymore Mines or Pistols.
In-game, you control one of your soldiers, while others in the same fireteam will follow. You can switch between your fireteams and issue commands from a map. You can also alter their level of aggressiveness and movement priority. You can move in a full standing position, crouched or lay prone, each with benefits and disadvantages. The game also presses the importance of accuracy. You carry limited ammunition, so every shot must count. Every action effects accuracy: your body position, the weapon itself, even moving your weapon around throws accuracy. Of course, the enemy won't stand their and let you get a shot between their eyes. That's where stealth comes in.
Your men are trained to blend in with the environment, to move without seen. With careful planning, you can navigate the level without arousing too many opponents. Dash into a strategic group of trees and fire on an unsuspecting enemy, or place a Sniper on high ground and pin down soldiers below. Use Support troops to suppress enemy fire with their machine guns while the rest of your team move out. Team co-ordination brings success.
The missions themselves are not hard, but they do provide challenge. Each missions has objectives, in addition to an optional objective. By completing the optional objectives, the player can unlock Specialist soldiers with superior weapons and stats for later use.
The environment is beautifully detailed. Brushing past a tree causes enemies to approach your location. Missions take place during different times of the day. Graphics are clean and sharp, and although the missions take place in silence, you can still listen to your radio commands, and the pre/post-mission music is dynamic.
There are a few gripes. There is some collision detection issues, where bullets that clearly hit the target appear miles off, and occasionally won't register. The AI is also questionable: Usually they work fine, but occassionally your squad members run into enemy fire, or worse, into your own fire. They also have a tendency to attract enemy fire anyway, forcing you to lower your aggressiveness to prevent unwanted attention.
Overall, Ghost Recon is an excellent, in-depth game. With the addition of mods and packs created by fans and players, the tactical action of Ghost Recon is truly classic and will last a long time.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 12/21/02, Updated 12/21/02
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