Review by horror_spooky
"Green Raptors Aren't White"
If you have been playing video games regularly for the past few years, you've probably realized that most of the games coming out have Tom Clancy's name in the title. These games are usually very good games (like the Splinter Cell series for instance), but I didn't like the first few Ghost Recon games. I found them to be bland and boring. I am happy to say that this installment of Ghost Recon takes a few steps in the right direction.
When I first started playing the game, I was kind of annoyed with the insane level of difficulty. However, this makes the game a lot easier to get into. Sure, you'll be playing one level a million times, but it just makes the game more enjoyable. It's fun figuring out the best places to go and the weapons you should use in the level. I haven't really been a fan of overly-hard games because I felt they ruined the gameplay, but G.R.A.W. makes the difficulty a plus.
The difficulty I described in the above paragraph does have a few flaws in its system though. Sometimes, enemies pop out randomly and out of nowhere or an extra enemy will appear in a level that you know wasn't there the other times you played through. This makes strategy sometimes a tough thing to make, but I believe these situations are just glitches and can be fixed easily. If you look at this in a different light, it makes the game more surprising and gives it more replayability.
At first, I was annoyed at the game's faithfulness to being realistic. I felt that a video game should stay completely and utterly fictionalized, but I've learned to accept this with G.R.A.W. Knowing that one or two shots can kill you makes the game much more exciting. Sure, your controller will probably be in a million pieces by the end of the game, but you had fun getting mad, didn't you? Once you become really good at the game you'll feel very accomplished as a gamer.
When you are killed, the camera zooms to the person that shot youwell tries to. The camera will zoom to the location the person was during the shooting. This can make the game seem a little lame when the camera zooms to a wall. I've also come to realize that sometimes enemies in the game can shoot you through other objects, which makes the game feel kind of cheating. If you can get past the rare occasion of being shot through a box, then you shouldn't have any more problems with Ghost Recon's enemies.
Different classes are available to choose from in G.R.A.W. It's a blast mastering a certain class of soldier. However, choosing a certain class doesn't limit you to only using the weapons readily available for that class. For example, you can choose a marksman but never use a sniper rifle if you don't feel the need for it in the level. This kind of brings up the question of whether the classes are meaningless, but they do automatically show you the guns that type of class would use (seriously, there are a lot of guns in this game to choose from and this feature is a great help).
Making your soldier how you want him to look is a feature that I wasn't too fond of. You can barely change the character's appearance and what the character wore never really mattered to gameplay at all. In co-op and versus mode, this feature was practically useless because these modes are played in first-person, giving the player no need to care about what their character looks like.
Any gamer who regularly reads my reviews will know that I am a big fan of co-op gameplay. G.R.A.W. offers only four levels to play as a team, but the se levels are very difficult and will provide hours upon hours of playtime. Like I said earlier, the co-op mode uses a first-person camera, which I like better than the single-player campaign's over-the-shoulder camera (first-person just works better for this kind of game). A major plus of the co-op in G.R.A.W. is the fact that more than two players can play together offline (unlike most 360 games with co-op capability).
There is also a versus mode available, but I didn't really care for it. All the different match types felt like you were playing the same game and most of the maps were boring. However, it did provide entertainment for a little while, but it would be much more entertaining if played over Xbox Live.
The single-player campaign is lackluster at best. The over-the-camera shoulder just doesn't fit with a Tom Clancy-style game and it's just not as fun without a friend. The major factor that separates co-op mode and the single-player campaign in terms of gameplay is the ability to tell your squad mates where to go in the single-player campaign. However, I found this system to be full of flaws and far from perfect. I found it much easier to actually play through the game without worrying about my annoying squad mates.
I've read a lot of complaints about this game's A.I. system. People have complained that the enemy and ally A.I. is about as smart as a dead rat with down-syndrome. I found this weak A.I. system to be acceptable as the game is already hard enough. Could you actually believe trying to play the game without this bad A.I.? It'd be nearly impossible.
One major complaint I have with the title is that the graphics aren't as dolled up as they could've been. The game didn't really have that much features in it so there was no excuse for the weakened graphics. Nearly all the enemy characters look identical which is just stupid (for a game that tries so hard to be realistic).
Bullets made perfect noises and everything seemed orderly with the audio. However, when there was no action, there isn't really any background music to accommodate to so some players might find it hard to remain pumped-up after a dangerous fire-fight. The weak audio system does suck some of the enjoyment from the core gameplay, which is a major shame as this game could've almost been perfect.
It will probably take an average gamer weeks to play through Ghost Recon's modes. Also, there is the co-op that is very fun to have repeated play-throughs as there are very few levels. The versus multiplayer could've been polished up a bit and the single-player campaign is very mediocre.
Honestly, I would probably rent this title before buying it, especially if you are a gamer that shies away from major difficulty. If you are a fan of Tom Clancy licensed games then you should definitely purchase this amazing (and nearly perfect) title.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/09/07
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