Review by Ginghamphatts
What is this?
I had been hearing good things about the 360 version of this game, but didn't own a 360, so I decided to rent it and check it out on the regular old Xbox. Bad idea.
I have no idea what went wrong here. The employees at Ubisoft who translated this from 360 to Xbox must have been high to think that this game would be worth it.
First off, let me mention, Halo: Combat Evolved has graphics of this level. Now keep in mind that this game is coming out at the end of the Xbox's life cycle, following things like Halo 2 and Half Life 2, both of which had great graphics. Granted the particle effects and lighting are better in Ghost Recon, but that's no excuse for this next bombshell. The game must be running at 30 fps or less. The movement animations are HORRIBLE. I watch enemies lurch and keel while moving from cover to cover. Why does it run so low? Hell if I know...
As for the game play itself, things feel alright, but just not quite "there". It's almost as if you're wearing a pair of jeans that's just a little bit too big and a shirt that's a size too small. Sure, it fits, but it feels really awkward. You'll often find times where your shots simply aren't connecting, and they're usually at a very frustrating time.
All of the talk about air strikes and drones sounds cool, too, but don't be fooled. It's rather simple, and when taken in the context of the already unspectacular game play, it's not that interesting, either. They also lead you to believe that team-play will be an important asset to you within the single player. First off, your AI teammate is about as sharp as a piece of putty. You'll see him run off into the middle of a firefight just asking to be gunned down. Hey, but you can issue commands!, right? Oh, sure, go ahead and try. It'll tell you that you did something, and the AI might back off a bit, but you can really just equate this to the 'one button for all' system that Half-Life 2 managed to pull off with grace... except this one blows.
I must admit that I did enjoy the game for a while. For the first half hour or so, all of the fancy-looking HUD information was cool, and the weapons were great. While the weapons don't really lose anything the more you play, and the HUD is still rather stream-lined, you start to notice the low, and choppy, frame rate more and more. The lame rendering on part of the graphics becomes much more annoying as well. You just start to become pissed off by these things.
That is about the point at which I looked up information for the 360 version to see if it really was as good as I'd heard. And it was. Why? Because it hadn't been hacked off at the knees. In translation Ubisoft cut the multi-man squad down to you and one AI, dropped a number of features, some of which are almost required by some missions, they cut the frame rate, and dropped the graphical level by a painfully noticeable degree.
There is no getting past how badly they messed up when pulling this game down from the 360. While anyone can expect that the Xbox just can't perform at the level of the 360, games like Half Life 2 have proved that the old Box can handle a lot, though. And with Ghost Recon looking and performing the way it does on Xbox, I can't help but wonder what could possibly warrant turning such a good game into such a mediocre one.
They should have simply dropped the visual level, scaled back some of the lighting and particle effects, pulled back SOME of the squad features, but tried to leave the over-all game intact. That was one of the main points of the 360 game -- a huge amount of squad control. In the Xbox version it has been reduced to a (half)handful of things to do with your squad.
My recommendation?: Don't bother with this one. Wait until you have a 360 and play it there, where the mechanics work correctly and the graphics don't run at a measly 30 fps.
Rating: 2.5 - Playable
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