Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon (PS2)
In case you haven’t played a Red Storm developed, Tom Clancy inspired game, Ghost Recon follows the same basic mold as Rainbow Six, the founder of the tactical shooter genre. Yes this game takes place in the now clichéd very near future. Yes the world is in turmoil yet again and yes, you control a group of secret operatives whose ultimate goal is to stop the terrorist threat. So yea, it’s not exactly an original idea and the mold has been copied numerous times since the late 90s. But wait, this one comes from the granddaddy of them all, the team that started this whole craze so it has to be different, right? Well, not really.
Although this is still fundamentally the same game as its PC counterpart, it’s also just as different. As opposed to having up to three teams enter the fray you can only divide your guys up into two teams. This is immediately noticeable from the get go as the lack of a dedicated sniper team severely hampers your efficiency. Sure you can set up a sniper team but guess what, he’ll have three followers with him and instead of having seven troops entering the fracas; you’ll be reduced to four. Why there can’t be three, or even more teams, at your command is well beyond me.
There are a few other changes to the game as well; the zoom function is a little different. Instead of being a modifier, you’ll be able to manually control the extent of your zoom. Sure this is great but it takes a lot of steam out of the more challenging aspects of the game. I also found it quite strange that you can’t zoom while running forwards or backwards but you can zoom while strafing. The radar also helps you pick out your enemies by displaying their locations to you. You simply have far too much of an advantage and at most times you’ll be able to rain fire upon your enemies before they even know that you’re there. To make things worse your cross hairs turn red whenever you have an enemy in your sights. Of course this will provide you with a distinct advantage, simply scour the landscape, wait for your crosshairs to turn red and then fire. Repeat for the duration of your mission and you have a recipe for success.
It’s not all bad though, you’ll still be able to outfit your troops at the onset of each mission and you’ll still be able to build up their skills. This was one of the most intriguing aspects of the PC original as it forced you to take a vested interest in your troops. After all, you wouldn’t want to lose a soldier that you just spent the last five missions powering up would you? It’s an intriguing aspect that will make you care about your troops as opposed to treating them like cannon fodder.
So there are a few problems in the translation from PC to PS2 but thankfully the action remains fully intact. While vets of the PC version may scoff at what PS2 owners are experiencing for the first time the truth of the matter is that it’s still a tense and exciting experience. All technical deficiencies aside, Ghost Recon still provides you with some of the best bang for your buck. The mission structures and layouts are just excellent, providing you with multiple ways to assess the current situation. Do you want to flank your enemies? Do you want to assume the sniper role and pick out the terrorists while your other squad draws enemy fire? It’s this dynamic that makes this game so damn appealing. No two experiences are the same, thus skyrocketing the replay value.
As is the case with most PC to console ports you can expect some deficiencies in quite a few areas. Perhaps this is most noticeable is in the visuals department where in comparison, this title is actually lagging behind its source material. The graphics are actually serviceable, for a game that was released in the year 2001, but for a 2002 title, this is well below the bar. The lowered resolution and stripped texture work really brings out the blandness of the environments. Through this port the visuals have lost their shine and sheen and instead appear to be very muddled and unappealing.
It seems like the majority of the visuals were lifted straight from the PC title but in the transitional process, were lowered in quality. The player models, which were crude to begin with, just look absolutely atrocious now. Their animations fare much better however, as the troops move more lifelike than they appear. Everything else is pretty jumbled and looks really weak in comparison to today’s more graphically superior titles.
At least the audio remains fully intact; everything sounds the same here as it does on the PC. The audio samples are nice and clean and the majority of the actions have unique sound effects to accompany them. That same operatic soundtrack has been translated pretty well and will still strike a chord in those more tense situations. While the audio isn’t quite up to snuff with more recent releases such as SOCOM or Medal of Honor Frontline it’s still pretty nice in its own right.
Where this game really falters is in the multiplayer forum, while Xbox owners are getting some of the best online gameplay that their platform can provide, PS2 owners are getting stiffed completely. There is single-console multiplay but it just can’t compare to the intense action that the Xbox version has. It’s definitely unfair to lower the game’s score on the basis of this omission but a better multiplayer mode was definitely warranted.
I've picked a lot of gripes with this port but it's still essentially the same game that PC fans experienced just a year ago. But it's just that, the same game released a year later. Everything is fundamentally the same but it just feels extremely dated. The missions, however, have aged pretty well and are still as intense and complex as they were in the original. Yes the lack of online gameplay really hurts this title but it shouldn’t stop you from trying it out. If you haven’t been exposed to this game when it was on the PC then you should at least give it a try. Not necessarily a definite must-buy but a worthy rental at the very least.
Take a year old PC game, add in a few new elements, repackage it on a different platform and what do you have? Ghost Recon for the PS2, a decent title that may have ruled the markets a few years ago but today, really shows its age.
Rating: 7.4 Above Average
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
Gaming has been a part of my life for as long as I could remember. I can still recall many a lost nights spent playing Gyromite with that stupid robot contraption for the old NES. While I'm not as old as the rest of the crew around these parts, I still have a solid understanding of the heritage and the history of the video gaming industry.
It's funny, when I see other people reference games like Doom as "old-school" I almost begin to cringe. I bet that half of these supposed "old-school" gamers don't even remember classic games like Rise of the Triad and Commander Keen. How about Halloween Harry? Does anyone even remember the term "shareware" anymore? If you want to know "old-school" just talk to John. He'll tell you all about his favorite Atari game, Custer's Revenge.
It's okay though, ignorance is bliss and what the kids don't know won't hurt them. I'll just simply smile and nod the next time someone tells me that the best entry in the Final Fantasy franchise was Final Fantasy VII.
When I'm not playing games I'm usually busy sleeping through classes at a boring college in Southern Oregon. My current hobbies are: writing songs for punk rock bands that never quite make it, and teasing Bart about... well just teasing Bart in general. I swear the material writes itself when you're around this guy. He gives new meaning to the term "moving punching bag."
As for games, I enjoy all types except those long-winded turn-based strategy games. I send those games to my good pal Tyler, I hear he has a thing for those games that none of us actually have the time to play.
When I'm not busy plowing through a massive pile of video games I spend all of my time trying to keep my cute little girl fed. She eats a ton but damn she's so hot. Does anyone understand the Asian girl weight principal? Like they'll clean out your fridge yet still weigh less than 110 pounds.
Currently I'm playing: THUG, True Crime, Prince of Persia, Project Gotham 2 and Beyond Good & Evil. View Profile