Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon
Review by SigfriedLion
"A great cooperative experience, if you can look past some flaws."
The latest installment of the Ghost Recon series gets a new style on this Wii version, changing from a First Person Shooter to an On-Rails Shooter with cover mechanics, closer in style to the Time Crisis series and introducing some clever cooperative mechanics.
Overall, they do their job. Models are somewhat low poly, and the textures suffer from blurriness on some cases, like on cut-scenes involving the A.P.C. the Ghosts travel on, however the frame rate rarely drops and provides and smooth experience most of the time, even when the screen is chock-full of different enemies and explosions.
Not great, not bad. Music ranges from moody rock tracks for the large gunfights to calm tunes for the stealth sections, with some symphonic score for the more "emotional" sets of the game, nothing you'll miss once you finish the game but not ear grating either. Sound effects are fine for the most part, each gun sounds different and explosion pack quite a punch. However, the voice acting is mediocre at best, with the main officer in particular sounding like he's reading for a radio play rather than giving orders in the middle of a stealth operation.
This is where the game really shines, presenting some very clever ideas derived from the cooperative game-play. In most situations, team work is required to overcome the odds, such as taking down enemies at the same time for stealth take-downs, or using suppressive fire to enable the other player to get closer to hiding enemies. Some sequences accent this, giving each player different weapons so each one of them fulfills a different role, for example, one player gets a missile launcher for dealing with helicopters, which takes time to lock on, while the other one gets an sniper rifle to take down enemy marksmen who try to snipe the first one. On other occasions, heavily armored shotgun troops come over with riot shields, and one player must stun them with a heavy caliber rifle, while the other one takes the down with a machine gun while they flinch. Things like this make communicating with your partner a necessity, and manage to convey a sense of teamwork not commonly seen on other games of the genre, however this also means that playing with the computer is harder, as the AI sometimes refuses to adapt to the role its supposed to be doing, thankfully you can select which role to take every time you restart a section after dying. This mechanics are undoubtedly the strongest assets of the game and differentiate it from other games of the genre.
Somewhat generic and forgettable, a Ultra-nationalist party takes over Russia and Ghost Squad Bravo is sent to deal with the problem in a semi-stealth operation, must of it is narrated via radio chatter and a short audio briefing before each stage, with sporadic cut-scenes mid-game. Thankfully, these cut-scenes are not very long and most of them are skip-able, so there's no need to watch them again when replaying a level.
The campaign is fairly large for the genre, spanning 12 levels, each with a duration of about twenty to thirty minutes each on your first play-through, and 3 difficulties to select from the beginning, although there isn't much difference between them besides heavier damage from gunshots taken. There also 42 different achievements to obtain, ranging from making a certain number of head-shots to dealing with enemies in special ways. There's also an Arcade version of most levels, which can be played cooperatively or competitively, which introduces and scoring system, with high scores shared across an on-line leader-board, both modes are quite fun although not very different from the main campaign.
Final score: 7/10
A great cooperative experience, particularly if you have somebody to play it with from start to finish, sadly hurt by sub-par graphics and lackluster history, however, if you can look past this minor flaws, the experience is well worth it and gives a glimpse on how on-rails shooters can evolve to include deeper mechanics.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 12/01/10
Game Release: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon (US, 11/16/10)
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