Review by wporter

"Red Storm got their chocolate in my peanut butter!"

In the very near future (2011) in North Korea, various angry warlords decide to have it out with each other in a nasty way...cue the elite US force the Ghosts, and their Allied partners to handle the situation. So begins the follow up to Ghost Recon and its expansion, Island Thunder.

Ghost Recon 2 plays very fast and fairly hard in the single player campaign. You directly control one soldier (Cpt.Mitchell) in either 3rd person over the shoulder or 1st person view. I think the first person view goes a long way in adding to the immersion factor; however, the 3rd person is much easier to control (as in knowing you are actually behind a particular piece of cover) and generally adds to the feeling of bad-assery involved with watching your soldier clamber, duck, roll, reload and wreak bloody havoc on those nasty Korean offenders. Like most Clancy games, one shot IS one kill, so be prepared to replay certain sections over and over and over. This is not really as problematic as it may seem. You can save anywhere during a mission in the campaign mode, and you have some extra help at your disposal in the form of teammates and weapons. Different from GR and GRIT are both the number of Ghosts you control and the manner in which you control them. GR had you in charge of eight soldiers (2 4-man fire teams) which you issued orders to by way of way points and selections made on an on screen map. GR2 has the same map--but only for informational purposes! As Mitchell, you have control over only your other 3 teammates, and you issues their orders on the fly. Some are dynamic: simply wave your reticle over an object and tap Y to issue the context sensitive command. Other orders are static: hold Y, and order a left or right flank, or suppression fire, for example. I think the new system works well in the sense that it keeps the action constant; however, from a personal standpoint, I liked the strategy element of 2 teams and waypoints from GR.

There are some new toys to play with here as well. The camera gun allows you to poke your assault rifle around corners and fire without exposing yourself. The laser targeting device lets you point out targets for air support strikes. Both gadgets are easy to use and immensely satisfying...made all the more so by the totally revamped graphics engine. Gone are the chunky soldiers and blocky environments of GR. The team here looks great. The level of detail in their uniforms and gear is astounding, and their animations are at the same time rich and realisitic. Generous amounts of explosions (both ambient and from "destroy the vehicle/bridge/HQ missions) will have you oohing and ahhing from particle effects and audio. There is a constant hail of gunfire, rain, squad commands and the general cacophony of battle that assaults you.

This game is essentially infinitely re-playable with the abundance of Xbox LIVE options. GR and GRIT were two of the most popular LIVE games...this will be no exception. By playing the solo campaign, you can unlock maps, weapons, skins and more for your LIVE enjoyment. I have found the LIVE audience to be abundant and relatively well-mannered. You should have no problem playing this game for months...especially with the promised downloadable content on the way.

I can easily recommend this game to any fan of either squad based military games or the FPS genre. It is best to think of it as a blend of SOCOM and Rainbow 6. This reviewer honestly preferred the set up of GR and GRIT with more playable soldiers, meticulous waypoint setting and the small RPG element..all of which have been removed here. But with the graphics engine upgrade, increased game pace, new weapons and LIVE maps, this just may be the future of Clancy combat.

Final Call: Buy 8/10

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 01/03/05

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