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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

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Game Profile
PlayStation 2
Red Storm Entertainment
GENRE: First Person Shooter
PLAYERS:   1-2
December 01, 2002
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Predator

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon

More in this Series
 Written by Alex Fitzgerald  on February 04, 2003

Full Review: Look Scooby, ghosts!

Games made by Red Storm (Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six) are very unique in the gaming world. While most FPS's sacrifice realism for the sake of fun, Red Storm is much more pragmatic. Instead of allowing players to magically heal themselves in great amounts by collecting health packs, Red Storm's games make you keep your wounds until the very end. Also, unlike other games where players can field an insane amount of hits before finally dying, Red Storm's enemies can sometimes kill you with a single well-paced hit.

This far more realistic approach to games developer Red Storm has leaves people with mixed reactions. Some love the intensity that can only be provided through mass amounts of reality. Others dislike this intensity, claiming that Red Storm's approach on FPS genre is far too annoying and stressful to ever be fun. Whatever your take on Red Storm's games is, chances are that Ghost Recon for the PS2 will do little to make you like them anymore, as the PS2 version of Ghost Recon is one of the weaker Tom Clancy FPS's that Red Storm has made.

Being called Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon it's no surprise that the Ghost Recon plotline is very reminiscent to that of a typical Tom Clancy novel. Unfortunately, though the plotline has some good ideas (mostly dealing with politics and the manipulating of them) the game doesn't do a good job of developing the plot. Cut scenes are kept to a minimum, and the only other way the story is explained is through text mission briefing at the beginning of the levels. These brief storyline explanations at the beginning of the levels make the plot seem very helter-skelter, and doesn't allow for the story to flow right.

The game also falters when it comes to the gameplay. Red Storm, as usual, has based Ghost Recon around the concept of squad-management. Due to this, in Ghost Recon you are able to switch between players in your attack squad, each having different special abilities (sniping, close-range combat, etc.). This team-management system works well within Ghost Recon, making you strategically plan your movements precisely in order to stay alive, and also making you keep each sense aflame with alertness so you can notice an enemy's presence before they notice yours.

That is until you discover a fatal flaw in Ghost Recon's gameplay design. You see, no matter how many times you die and have to start over within the game, the enemies never change positions. Because of this, every time you go through a level again, you'll know exactly where enemies are hiding, allowing you to easily pick them off from a distance with your sniper soldier. This gameplay design blemish robs the strategic factor away from Ghost Recon, which ultimately decreases the game's quality level in the end.

It's a real shame that the single-player game in Ghost Recon contains these imperfections too, considering the only other worthwhile game mode in Ghost Recon is multiplayer, and that mode isn't very good either. Unlike the Xbox version, which included stellar online play, all Ghost Recon has to show for itself are some rudimentary multiplayer modes like Deathmatch, and a rather weak cooperative play mode. Deathmatch works okay enough, although it really isn't anything new or interesting, and Cooperative mode is so-so (even though the game robs you of allowing cooperative playing players to each command a different squad, an option that was available on the Xbox version.)

To make matters worse, the game's graphics do nothing to improve the situation. Although on occasion the game may have a decent looking effect or something to release upon your eyes, for the most part the graphics are pretty mediocre. Rivaling many first-generation PS2 games, Ghost Recon's run of the mill graphics come complete with unclean textures, weak draw-in distance, clipping, and on-occasion, slowdown.

Fortunately, the game's audio does not follow suit. Featuring a beautiful orchestra score for the game's music, the game continually pumps refreshing instrumental vibes at you while you are playing the game that are a feast for the ears. The sound effects are good as well, although they're not nearly as good as the music. For the most part, the sound effects sound authentic, but certain sounds like guns caulking sound artificial and lame in the grand scheme of things.

Bottom Line
Ghost Recon is a good game on the Xbox, but the same cannot be said for the PS2 version. Featuring an array of problems that the Xbox version didn't have, along with the faults the Xbox version did have, the game is ultimately a very weak offering from developer Red Storm and publisher Ubi Soft. If you're a PS2 owner and are looking for a good squad-based realistic FPS, go checkout SOCOM: Navy Seals. Trust me, that game is far more deserving of your gaming dollar than this game.

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