Review by Hawk45

""Anybody got a beach ball?""

Review for Ghost Recon

Review Title: "anybody got a beach ball?"

Story: 9
The year is 2008, and ultranationalists (I like how this term gets more and more implicative as time goes on.whats next?Will they be called ultra-mega-extreme-uber-screwed-in-the-head nationalists in 2012?) have seized control of the Russian government and are attempting to re-establish control over its former satellites.

This just simply won't do for the Unites States, so you're sent in, as part of the ghosts, an elite unit of the Green Berets who strike swiftly, efficiently, and silently, to first aid the rebels in Georgia and then later to make way for a full-out assault on Russia.

It's original, deep, very plausible, well, ok, it's something Clancy definitely thought up, and it makes me feel like I really am saving the world this time.

What's more, specialists (special units acquired for completing bonus objectives) have a background that you can read up on, like where they were from, what their school life was like, and how they got deployed to the ghosts, and other neat, nifty things, like any distinguishing marks such as a tattoo or bullet wounds.

Gameplay: 9
Gameplay is simple, requires much concentration, as one wrong move can make you dead. However, you have 6 men at your disposal, each seperated into 2 fire teams of three men and if any of them die they are replaced by a new recruit for the mission. There is always a pool of 12 to select from, 6 riflemen, 2 support, 2 snipers, and 2 demolitions experts.

Riflemen are your bread and butter, equipped with an M16 and with medium accuracy. They can carry M203s, an M9 SD (useless unless you're a sniper) binocs or extra ammounition.

Support units carry the M249, and can carry frag grenades, binocs, a pistol or extra ammo. I usually just give them extra ammo, because they use a lot. They are wildly inaccurate, and are best used when there are many enemies close by (like see-the-whites-of-their-eyes close), or to support the riflemen by giving using suppressive fire. I tend to notice the efficiency of my fireteam go up whenever there's a support unit.

Snipers are my favorite, but require special care. They must stay out of sight or they may be in trouble, however they can snipe from long range, neutralizing threats before they can shoot back. Their best defense at short-range is their pistol, but this is wildly inaccurate and should be used when one needs to engage a target at close-range as sniper. There are few situations for this, but it is useful. Don't go in thinking "ooh cool I get to use a pistol", though, because it sucks in comparison to everything else.

Demolitions experts are required for missions which require one to demolish something, such as tanks or to place demo charges at, say, a torpedo rack or fuel depot, to blow it up when everyone has reached the extraction point. They carry an M4, and, well, they're a good idea as an anti-tank unit just incase.

In addition, completing bonus objectives will release a specialist, who is quite a few leagues better trained than any of your ghosts, and will use different weapons usually, such as an OICW for a rifleman specialist, or an M82A1 for a sniper specialist, or a host of other weapons. Most don't seem to vary much, except in sound, however, all the sniper specialists have bigger ammo capacities, so they can fire at more enemies before having to do something else.

Also, as your team completes missions, surviving members get stat points they can use to increase abilities such as weapons (reduces recoil), stealth (allows you to get closer to enemy without being seen), endurance (allows you to take more damage), and leadership, which grants a bonus of 1 point for the fireteam for every 3 points in the skill, if you are using that character, or if its the lead character in the other team. I find it particularly useless, however, mainly because I don't expect any of my men to live long enough to get good at it, and the three points required would be better spent making them more efficient killers.

The missions seemed varied enough, if only because terrain is vastly different from each mission. Sure, neutralizing this tent camp and this other tent camp is essentially the same, and rescuing or capturing this and that guy is essentially the same, or blowing this and that up is essentially the same, the game manages to keep it very very fresh with differences in terrain, resistance, and time of day. Maybe this time you get to snipe everyone from a mountain, or maybe you have to in and get your feet wet, and take a few casualties doing so.

In addition, sometimes you have to work fast, really really fast to prevent something from happening. This can be annoying, however is not too hard when you manage to just work fast and get the job done quickly, and that becomes easier as you learn the positions of the enemies. This is a ver fun part of the game.

Also, the atmosphere created is really really good. Its a blend of terror, paranoia, and boredom if you're wounded and have to get across a big map at a walking pace. Interestingly enough, however, an unwounded soldier can lead a wounded soldier at full pace and have the wounded one keep up just as well. Also, when you get shot, your vision tends to go blurry for awhile, this gives a dramatic sense of trying to stay alive as you try to see the guy who shot you and kill him before he kills you. Sneaking around taking ample cover is also quite vital, as is being fast on the trigger so you don't die.

In addition to controlling one team, you can order the other team around by pressing R3 or opening up the map screen and issuing the way points there. This was cool starting out, but as I got deeper into the game, I started using the R3 command to set Bravo up to give me cover as I spearheaded the assault, or to follow behind, depending on the circumstances. Six is better than three.

However, I do have a few gripes about the game, most are rather trivial, yet

1) If you have a mission where you have to blow up a tank, say, using an M136, if all the demo guys die you will fail the mission. There should have been the ability to drop and pick up weapons, as I seriously doubt the ghosts are gonna go "oh crap. Our demo man's down, we best move out because I just don't feel like dropping my gun and taking his M136 to complete the mission". Really, I doubt firing would be much different than firing a rifle, at least, just as difficult.

2) The M203s are kind of bugged, in my opinion. They go off at any range, however in real life they require a distance of 40mm before they will detonate on contact. This is a minor gripe, bt a more important one is how the grenade will arc right to left arc on its trajectory. This generally isn't a problem, except when you happen to be standing right next to a wall, and feel like using a nade, only to find out it hit the wall right next to you and killed your fireteam. Also, due to the fact that they explode at any range, firing one while walking can be catastrophic because it has a great chance of just hitting the ground below you (accuracy decreases a whole lot while moving)

3) Fortified enemies won't drop dead from an M203 blast unless you hit them just right. Like one mission where the enemy is behind a few windows, shooting an M203 straight into one does not kill them, even though it should, considering where it fell and exploded. I believe this may be a bug.

Still, these are rather minor gripes and are generally easily avoided by keeping critical members safe and NOT firing an M203 while standing too close to a wall.

But all things considered, you're in for a real good treat if you pick this one up. It is a real good gem, a real good game from a real good developer and a real good publisher and a real good... Ok, i'll stop now.

Graphics: 7
The graphics in this game are alright. The enemies are sort of varied, some of them being overweight, splurts of blood shoot out for a second when you shoot someone, and a pool of blood forms under a dead man, although he seems to bleed out rather fast (hehe. It's just cuz I killed him with one of them M82A1s, I just know it). An enemy soldier will crawl if injured, and will clutch his leg when shot dead there. It is really neat.

Terrain and rocks are realistic enough, however grass and trees, I think, could have used a little more work, yet they are still easily discernible, while it isn't even comparable to Far Cry, not by a long shot, what game is? The graphics are more than adequate for this game, save the weapons models, which kind of suck, but thats not a big deal really.

Music: 5
There isn't much music in this game. There is at the title screen, and if you fire while enemies are nearby that hear you, or if you complete an objective, and it sounds like Clancy music if you've played Rainbow 6, and maybe Splinter Cell, but other than that, there's not much music in this game.

Although too much music would have ruined everything.

Sound: 7
Sometimesyourteamspeakstoofast. I mean, if you have to cross a stream, say, and you enter crouching but its too deep, your character will say "too deep", but the first time this happened it sounded like he said "toody", and I was wondering why he was speaking about being flatulent in the water!!!

On the other hand, when you kill someone, it'll say something like "kill confirmed" or "he's history", which is kind of comical. Or at the beginning of the mission they'll say something witty, like "let's go reduce someone's property values..." or "anybody got a beach ball?" I actually laughed at that one. Weirdo. Well, I guess you can't take your job too seriously, even if it is the job of killing and protecting American interests.

Sometimes, though, when you're killing a lot and you got someone who's wounded, the queue will get overloaded and will start saying things after the fight has died down. This is mildly confusing at times, because in addition to the sound a message pops up on the upper left hand corner stating what happened, so you may think someone got wounded twice, when they did not.

Also, if something goes off too close to you, such as a grenade or something but doesn't kill you, you'll hear a ringing in your ears for a few seconds. Cool.

The gun sounds are uninspiring, and don't really sound much like a gun, but hey, who cares. The rest of the game is excellent.

Overall: 9/10
Rent? Buy? Beat me mercilessly with a toaster oven? No, please don't. Just buy it. Screw renting and save yourself 5 bucks. You'll enjoy this game, I promise, and no, in the odd-chance that you happen to loathe this game, its not my fault :)


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/11/04


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