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    Ghost Recon Review

    By Hobbes
    -- Click Images for Larger View

    Rainbow Six All Over Again?
    Click Image to enlarge One could easily dismiss Ghost Recon as just another Rainbow Six game. When I first heard about the game, I know I did. But, saying that is a big mistake! This game is a whole new battlefield, with a whole new set of rules and a new gameplan. While some of the play mechanics and controls have carried over from Red Storm's previous games, majority of the aspects of Ghost Recon has been enhanced and better streamlined to kick the gameplay to never before seen ability.

    You thought Rainbow Six was elite - until you heard about Ghost Recon. You are a member of the most elite fighting force on Earth (a member of Delta Force, perhaps?) You are trained attack without a sound, and kill with utmost precision. You are known as the "Ghosts."

    The story takes place seven years in the future in the year 2008. The Russians are starting a Communist revolution in Russia and are letting their closeby neighbors know about it by invading them with militant factions of terrorists. Eastern Europe is going to hell in a haybasket and it's up to you - the Ghosts - to fix the situation by subduing the Communist revolution in any way possible - force.


    Weapons to Play Nicely With
    Click Image to enlargeBecause you're a member of a military faction, forget about those stupid rules from Rainbow Six about certain gun usage and the threat of civilian casualties - the gear at your disposal can only mean one thing; shoot to kill. Among these are M203 grenade launchers, claymore mines, M136 anti-tank rockets, and SAW machine guns, just to name a few.

    One of my noted close-combat weapons was the OICW (Objective Individual Combat Weapon). This piece of high-tech machinery consists of a high power 5.5mm assault rifle and a 6-round long-distance grenade launcher. You do not want to be on the muzzle end of this gun when the safety is off. For the sniper side in you, there are three sniper rifles for your enjoyment, most notably the Barret M82A1 .50 caliber, which was taken from Rogue Spear: Urban Operations, an earlier game from Red Storm. This bad-ass mother of a gun can slap a soldier square in the forehead from a mile away.

    All the weapons are extremely effective. This is seem from the correct of one annoyance from the Rainbow Six and Rogue Spear series. Whenever you set your guns rate of fire for full-auto, instead of single-shot or three-round burst, the gun would go unconstitutionally inaccurate, and would be pointless in an attempt to kill someone. Quid pro quo; not anymore. Ghost Recon players will be glad to know they can run towards a group of enemy fighters with full-auto on and blast away every last one of the bastards.


    Be Your Own Role Model
    Click Image to enlargeAs a Ghost, you will be asked to complete missions that would put the average soldier in death's trap instantly. You are in command of a six-man team who must do the un-doable. In your first mission, you are left at a drop zone and told to eliminate all rebels and the rebel camps, plus capture the rebel leader in close proximity. After being told that, you're on your own. Well, let's see...you're in command! Can you lead these 5 other men, and yourself, through harm's way, intentionally, and come out alive on the other side? What are you going to do, leader? Are you going to send your troops on an all-out murder hunt, straight into the face of the enemy? Or will you take the quiet approach, sniping all the Russians you see from a mile away? It's up to you.

    Other missions you'll have to tackle include stop a Russian armor advance through a mountain, blasting your way through a POW camp to rescue your buddies, sneaking into enemy submarines to place bombs in them, and rescuing an downed F-8 pilot from the middle of rebel territory.

    One mission gets so intense, the heat from your gun makes you sweat behind your monitor. You have to fire every bullet you own and lob every grenade in your pouch to make it out alive. In situations like this, Red Storm was nice enough to include a Save Game option, which should be used generously!

     

    Specialists
    Click Image to enlargeDuring the continuity of the game, you won't settle for just the average Joe Schmoe. The game includes an option called "Specialists." As you finish missions and complete optional objectives, you will have these "Specialists" added to your roster. These men are the badasses of their fields, coming with their own special weapons and their own gear and gadgets. They always come equipped with mega bonus Combat Points, which I will discuss later. The only bad part about Specialists is that only they can use certain weapons. Remember the OICW I mentioned earlier? That gun, and one of the sniper rifles can only be used by Specialists. I guess Red Storm decided those guns were "too professional" for the recruits.


    Combat Points and Attributes

    Click Image to enlargeWith each mission you complete, the soldiers used in the mission each earn one Combat Point. These points can be used to give each individual troop more ability in one of four attribute areas: Endurance, Leadership, Weapon, and Stealth. Using your points on the Weapon attribute gives your soldier more control over his gun, allowing for faster firing with better accuracy. The Stealth attribute allows you solider to, what else, be more stealthy. Endurance allows troops to take more hits without being killed as easily, and allows them to carry more gear and still move at a reasonbly fast speed.

    The Leadership attribute is so hard to understand, I still don't get it. The manual didn't explain it very well; all I got from it was that if you save up 3 Combat Points for one soldier, and use those 3 to make 1 Leadership attribute points, if he is the leader of a platoon, all his troops gain more Attribute in the other three areas - sounds kinda magicky to me.

    In-Game Leadership
    Click Image to enlargeOne thing Red Storm improved upon in Ghost Recon since Rogue Spear is the team AI. I remember in Rogue Spear, if you commanded Bravo team to run across a field, they would run with their heads held high like a bunch of pansy ballet dancers performing for the terrorists. Even when the terrorists were RIGHT NEXT TO THEM with an AK-47 to their head, they kept on moving like nothing was happening, and then had their brains blown out. Well, this is not so in Ghost Recon. Red Storm has greatly improved the AI and the Command aspect of the game. Instead of planning your mission ahead of combat, your command your team on-the-fly while completing the mission, unlike in Rogue Spear where you had to set your team's plan of action before starting a mission. And this time, when Pvt. Joe Bob runs across a field and starts getting fired at, instead of keeping on moving, he'll get his butt in the dirt so fast it's unfashionable, and start looking for the enemy and protecting himself. The AI having the ability to care for themselves was a great improvement. Now you can tell your troops to move from one valley to another, and you can go off and do soemthing else and not worry about them getting shot up. One annoying thing, though, that carried over from Rogue Spear is the AI getting caught. The AI is commencing an order and runs into a rock, they won't go around it; they just continue running into it like it wasn't even there, and get stuck. Getting stuck is hard to fix once it happens because the AI gets stupid and doesn't understand what you want it to do. Oh well...hopefully an upcoming patch will fix that problem.

     

    In-Game Awareness
    When playing a tactial game such as Ghost Recon, knowing exactly where your enemy is helps when trying to kill him. To further difficult this, Red Storm has included game features such as trees and bushes rustling and swaying in the wind, rain splatters on the ground and rooftops, and lightning fast explosions. Another nice featureare the soldier's uniforms. Seeing a sniper in a ghillie suit in this game almost brought me to tears. They look so real and fit in so well with the environment. A testament to this was when I was trying to find my friend in a game while he was playing sniper. On my mini map, he was right next to me, but I looked everywhere and couldn't see him, so I told him to stand up, and he was right in front of me. His ghillie suit gave him AMAZING camoflauge in the bushes he was under.

    Final Comments and Score
    An overall amazing game; spectacular graphics, superb sound-effects, and a well-planned game model. My only minuses for this game are due to system requirements, which are too steep for anything less than the equivalent of a GeForce 2 and a 1GHz Athlon.

    Score: 96%




    " "



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