Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon (PS2)


posted 12/21/2002 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: 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.
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