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Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 2
Score: 68%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment
Developer: Red Storm Entertainment
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 (2 - 16 Online)
Genre: Shooter/ Action/ Online

Graphics & Sound:
I was quite disappointed with the visual elements of Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon 2 for PlayStation 2. While the environments do a fine job of getting the mood across to the player, the detail that I had hoped for just wasn’t there. Textures seemed very basic, and the overall look and quality of objects unfortunately felt very rushed out the door. However, outdoor elements do a very good job of imitating cover and impairing the vision of the player. But when you take the game to the Internet, be very prepared for an even more dumbed-down look, as the game actually gives a visual feeling of playing a PSOne game. Ouch.

On the audio front, GR2 does a very nice job. Of course, all of the typical war-time sound effects are present, but the talking of teammates is also quite well done. The music in the game also sets a very distinct mood. In addition, you also have the ability to use a supported USB Headset to verbally give commands to your troops. The voice recognition of this great gameplay element is outstanding, which makes giving orders no harder than the click of a button and a couple of words coming from your mouth.

There’s been a recent rash of war-themed video games released for the combat-oriented gamer. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 2 follows suit and delivers both squad-based gameplay as well as solo missions for those that don’t realize there’s no “I” in “TEAM.” Unfortunately, the squad-based elements are practically non-existent when it really comes down to the gameplay.

The missions in Ghost Recon 2 are actually relatively short, which is a shame because attempting to penetrate an enemy base can actually be quite fun. The reason for short missions, however, is that if you die, you’ll be required to start from scratch. There are no checkpoints in GR2. Complete the entire mission or die trying. Don’t forget to protect your squad-mates in the process, because points are awarded based on how accurate you are in killing the enemy as well as how protected your team was.

The great thing about Ghost Recon 2 lies in the controlling scheme and the natural feel of how you can make your commando perform precise actions on-screen. While the animations for crouching and lying on the ground don’t transition as smoothly as one would like, the ability to get into these positions is crucial. Using cover is your best friend, and the ability to peek around corners is vital to successfully infiltrating without taking a scratch. Unfortunately, this ability to shoot around corners doesn’t work as well as it should. It is actually possible to position yourself to where you can make shots while still remaining fully behind an object, easily taking out enemies without threat to yourself.

Along with the Campaign Mode, Ghost Recon 2 also allows players to get a feel for the game with Training Mode as well as Quick Missions that allow you to play regular Missions, Firefights (with a goal of eliminating all enemies), or Lone Wolf (solo) missions. And of course, GR2 can also get online with up to 16 people in multiple modes of play. The graphics just are not very good online, however, with very low poly-models and environments. The gameplay too changes drastically online with matches often coming down to flat-out firefights instead of covert missions.

As mentioned above, Ghost Recon 2 also allows the use of supported USB Headsets which is nearly essential while online in order to communicate your strikes and defenses. Offline, calling out commands to your team is much easier as well. Unfortunately, giving commands to your platoon really doesn’t do a whole lot. While it is possible to make your team stay back or lay down covering fire (among others), it is also quite possible to play missions without really knowing your team is even there, sans a few kills that they will help you out with. A team-based game like this should emphasize team play. Ghost Recon 2 just didn’t give me that feeling.

Playing through missions in Ghost Recon 2 is actually (and unfortunately) relatively easy. While you may die a few (even quite a few) times, it’s really only a matter of time before you complete each mission. The reason is that the game is very scripted and linear to play, which means that enemies will not only be stationed in the same spots every time you play through a level, but they will also perform the same movements time after time based on your actions. Because of this, it is very easy to anticipate enemy actions after playing a mission only a few times, which means that the difficulty drops drastically with each pass.

Game Mechanics:
The controls of Ghost Recon 2 are nearly perfect. All actions and movements feel very natural when running around trying to not only take out the enemy, but also trying to save your own life. The only real problem is that the transitions between the standing, prone, and crawling positions, can take a bit too long, leaving you open to heavy gunfire.

The overall experience I had playing Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 2 comes with mixed reactions. While I enjoyed the initial challenge of the game, I soon realized that the game is more or less based on the “try and try again” mentality. Each pass through the missions seems to get easier and easier because the computer’s A.I. just isn’t there. All of the actions are scripted, making the game turn from challenging to very easy in no time at all. If you’re a fan of Tom Clancy games, you may want to pick up Ghost Recon 2. But I would recommend a rental for most gamers so that you can check out both offline and online gameplay to see if either is something you want purchase the game for.

-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

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