Review by peterofnj

"Ghost Recon 2"

The year is 2007 and conflict is once again brewing in the Korean peninsula. The Ghost, a U.S. special operation team is deploy behind enemy line to sabotage and interrupt the enemy. Ghost Recon 2 is a third person tactical shooter that has the player commencing various operations and objectives in the span of the game. The stages are vary and include a good amounts of outdoor and indoor scenes. Unlike previous Ghost Recon game on the PS2 this time around, the player operates a single unit, four members team. Team command is rigid in the sense that not much can be done with them. For most of the game, your teammates follow you like puppies and occasionally offer support fire. Occasionally is a word that needs to be cap and emphasize here. They just don't do much on their own account. The player is bless with four team commands. They are: suppressed fire, lodge grenade, take point, and halt. I have use them creatively and has a mixed result with them. For example, there is a stage in the game where your objective is to blow up a down U.S. spy helicopter. In the site of the down chopper is a small hill with several bunkers on top of it. Upon reaching that area, Enemies will spawn and greet you with welcoming fires. Since I am pin down just below the muddy hill. I order my team to lodge grenade at the bunkers above. That sounds like an effective use of the command, but disappointingly, no matter how many grenades my team lodges. It didn't kill anything. I did however put myself at risk of being kill by friendly fires. This command doesn't seem to work unless the enemies are position at the same X, Y, Z plane (in term of 3-d geometry) as you are.

In term of stage design, the game is rail on a straight path. You go from point A to point B and so on. There is no deviation in the path. The restriction seem a little too restrictive sometime. For example, in stage three where you're going lone wolf to assassinate certain enemy officer. At the beginning is a hill to your left and there are several enemy sentries below it. The hill area is completely restricted. Instead of traversing above the landscape and gaining height advantage, now the player has to navigate the ground in prone position, thus making game play dull, unimaginative and uncreative. Is this kind of game better on rail or is it better on a free roaming map? The latter is the choice of the majority. The rail system detracted the appeal of the game greatly. This change the game from being a sneaking around tactical shooter to a straight forward shooter.

Stealth is a huge element of tactical shooter. GH2 doesn't emphasize on it. All mission are straight forward assault type operations. You are however given a silenced pistol. It's quite pointless to use it. The minute you fire it, everyone knows where you are. I guess its usefulness lies on multiplayer. With the stealth elements remove, you assume the game might move in a quicker pace? No, the motion speed is horrendously slow. I often feel like G.I.Joe is carrying a hundred pound of equipments with him. The problem is he isn't. This get a lot of use to. I didn't get use to it until three-quarter of the way into the game.

How's the sound, graphic and animation in GR2? Graphic in GR2 is alright. It's a huge improvement over its predecessors. There are more populated foliage and environment details. It's good, it is in the slightly above average area. The graphic is decent and not ugly at all. There are draw in issues in this game. Foliage will pop up from slow draw in. It doesn't happen a lot, but it is there. Anyone who has ever play any of the Ghost Recon game on the PS2 will know that animation frame rates were choppy and horrendous. This game has technically resolve some of this issue, but frame rate can be unstable at time. It won't kill the game or change the outcome of a firefight, but it's like an eyesore.
The sound effects for the most part are okay. Guns aren't as loud as they should be. It isn't exciting or violent. It's tame and lame. It doesn't feel exciting to fire a gun or mount a torrent. Grenade's explosion is very poorly done. Shrapnel should be taken into consideration and not be omitted. The team doesn't converse much with radio chatter, more radio chatter could help the gaming experience. (Provided that they are relevant dialogues) Also, team members need to yell out grenade warning when an enemy toss them. This is a standard in most other shooters.
Animation for the most part should be done better. Secondary animations fall rather flat in this game. They don't seem natural. The animators need to study more and take a look at game like Killzone at how it's done in an exciting exaggerated manner.

Ghost Recon 2 isn't a bad game. In my opinion, it's not as good as Socom 2. It is strange to see a game release a year after Socom 2 to be trailing behind its competitor in so many ways. It's a tremendous improvement over any Ghost Recon games on the PS2. If you have Socom 2, there really isn't a reason to pick this one up. It's by far a superior game. Of course, you can only play the Algeria mission so many time before wanting to play something else. We can only hope to see a far and even better Socom 3 in the near future.

Pro:
- 3rd person view and no first person view.
- Zoom in with the R3 button. The camera shift to over the shoulder view.
- Mission are about half the length of a normal Socom 2 mission.
- 14 total missions in all
- Player can carry more ammo than Socom 2.
- Player can pick up enemy's AK rifles or mount guns with the L3 button.
- Rail shooter and no free roaming
- Save only allows after the completion of a mission.
- Guns doesn't recoil, it just become more inaccurate with each adding shot fire.

Con:
- Teammates aren't as helpful or useful.
- A.I. teammates can still get stuck behind objects, hills, whatever, or just plain MIA and not follow the player.
- Limited in creative use of tactics.
- Menu needs to be more intuitive. Icon commands are obscure and doesn't make much sense.

Overall Score: 7.5


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 12/05/04, Updated 12/06/04


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