Review by ap viper
"If you liked the first, you'll love this one"
Let me start off by saying that the gameplay in this is very similar to the original Ghost Recon. It is squad-based combat. You control the ''Ghosts'' which are essentially an elite group of Green Berets. The elite of the elite. This game takes place in Cuba (hence the name Island Thunder) opposed to Russia, and it shows. Now on w/ the review.
The graphics are serviceable, but that's about it. They do look better than the original, but still the graphics are no Splinter Cell. You should know that though it is played from a first-person perspective, that your gun does not show up on screen. Some people call this laziness on Ubi's part, some just call it a minor gripe. I don't care about it.
I love the sound in this game. It really immerses you in the game. There is no music during the gameplay, but you can hear all sorts of background sounds. If it's an urban environment, you can hear cars in the background. If your in the woods, you'll hear birds chirping and the wind blowing and the tree's swaying. Subtle, but it really gets you in to the game. The weapons sound realistic enough. I wouldn't really know as I've never actually fired any of the weapons in the game. No gripes at all here.
This is the bread and butter of the game. The offline play is good, but the online play is simply amazing. There are eight missions that you'll play in the campaign. All revolve around overthrowing an evil dictator in Cuba. You'll be given a variety missions from blowing key structures up, to retrieving important packages. It's what you'd expect in this type of game. There is also a quick mission feature. This allows you to play any of the campaign maps in a variety of ways. Mission is just like the campaign. Defend has the you defending a base from waves of enemies, while firefight requires you to eliminate all the enemies. The final mode is Recon, in which you must get to the otherside of the map. Whats great is you can play all the quick mission cooperatively or through X-box live.
That being said, the online play was the main reason this game was made, and I can't fully recommend it unless you have X-box live. There a total of 20 maps you can play online, 8 exclusive multiplayer maps, the 8 maps from the campaign, and 4 maps brought back from the original. You can choose from solo or team, I prefer team. You can play 5 different modes in Solo and Team, from Last Man Standing , to siege. The actual play online is great. I have experienced very little lag, and most of the servers I've played on had very no lag at all. My biggest complaint is the interface, which has not been improved much from the last game. It is easier and faster to find a game, but the optimatch search is very limited. You can't search for a specific map or gametype(though you can decide whether it's team, solo, or Co-op) It is much easier to find games in other games, such as wolfenstein. That is my only real complaint with the online portion though, and once you get in a good game, you'll forget about. The gameplay is very slow paced, and if lover games like Unreal Championship, you may not like this game. Patience is required to play. The X-box live communicator makes teamwork, or bragging, a breeze. You still must hold the white button to talk. It's a love it or hate it feature.
This is a great game, and if you liked the first one, or are interested in a slow paced shooter, then you should definetely check this game out.
With X-box live: 9/10
Without X-box live:7/10
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 08/09/03
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