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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Action / Shooter

 

Publisher

Ubisoft

 

Developer

Red Storm Entertainment

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

November 16, 2004

 

 

- Much-improved visuals
- Online play
- Four-player co-op
- Lone Wolf mode has some pretty cool weapons
- New third-person view works well

 

 

- Fans of the original game may be put off by the changes in gameplay
- Some annoying environmental restrictions
- Horrid death animations
- Frame rate can get choppy at times

 

 

Review: Ghost Recon - Island Thunder (XB)

Review: Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 (XB)

Review: Splinter Cell - Pandora Tomorrow (XB)

 

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Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2

Score: 8.4 / 10

 

ghost recon 2 review          ghost recon 2 review

 

The original Ghost Recon for the Xbox was one of the most popular Xbox Live launch titles back in 2002. The sequel Ghost Recon 2 (GR2) has undergone numerous changes that may upset fans of the original game and attract new fans to the series.

Interestingly enough Ghost Recon 2 and UbiSoft’s (soon to be released) Splinter Cell 3 both take place in North Korea. The game’s story is centered on a rogue North Korean general who separates from his nation’s government and becomes hell bent on acquiring a weapon of mass destruction.

The game’s presentation style is pretty unique and innovative – the game sets up each mission by showing interviews with the actual soldiers who undertook the

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mission. It’s pretty interesting and seems like something you’d see on PBS Frontline or the History Channel.

The gameplay seems to have shifted focus from a tactical shooter to more action oriented game. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as GR2 still plays great and features a number of notable improvements over its predecessor. Perhaps the most noticeable change is the default

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over-the-shoulder third person view. This allows you to see your soldier and all of his movements. You can also switch back to the regular first-person mode.

The single player campaign consists of fifteen missions. Twelve of the fifteen missions see you fighting alongside your AI controlled squad mates, while three of them are “Lone Wolf” missions. (More on them later.) Rather than controlling two squads of soldiers, you’re simply in command of three soldiers. There is a rather simplified command system, which enables you to issue orders to your soldiers on the battlefield. The command system certainly isn’t as in-depth as games like SOCOM (on Playstation 2), but it still is decent. You can issue fire order commands and tell your soldiers to move to a certain position. Also, when one of your soldiers is wounded you can instruct your fellow soldiers to provide medical attention.

Most of the game’s levels take place in rural environments, with a few urban environments thrown in for good measure. While the environments have been changed somewhat, there still is one nagging issue that returns from the first game and that is the annoying environmental restrictions. Certain hills you can’t climb up because they are too steep or you’ll run into an invisible wall.

Many of the missions you’ll undertake are pretty standard. They range from convoy ambushes to search and rescue operations to defending certain locations. There is a fairly nice variation between night and day missions as they both play out pretty differently.

 

ghost recon 2 review          ghost recon 2 review


The AI for both your teammates and enemies is fairly well tuned. Your teammates are also pretty quick to respond to your commands.

One of the additions to the single player game is the Lone Wolf Mode. You can basically replay all of the game’s single player missions by yourself without any squad mates. To help you through the tough fight, you are equipped with futuristic military weaponry and gear. You’ll get an M29 rifle that is camera equipped and enables you to look around corners using the camera. You can also call in air strikes against enemy vehicles and fortified positions. While the Lone Wolf mode is an interesting addition, personally I enjoyed the regular single player campaign much more.

GR2 also features a hefty number of multiplayer features. There is a four-player split screen mode where you can either play cooperatively with three friends through the campaign or play competitively against one another. Not only that, you can also player four-player split screen online as well. GR2 also supports Xbox Live and features a pretty outstanding online mode. The online modes include Co-Op, Seek and Destroy, Hamburger Hill, Sharpshooter, Domination, Last Man Standing, Search and Rescue, and Siege. Each of these modes can be either team-based or played as free for all.

GR2 visuals have received a hefty upgrade from the original game. No longer do the visuals have muddy textures or bland looking environments. The night vision looks excellent and some of the explosions you’ll see with the night vision enabled looks like live footage from Iraq. Utilizing the Unreal engine, the visuals are detailed and the animations for the most part are well done. However, the death animations look awful. You’ll frequently kill an enemy and see them end up in an awkward position or in some cases clip through certain objects. You’ll also run into some occasional frame rate problems when you get into some intense and large firefights, but it doesn’t prove to be too problematic.

While the release of Ghost Recon 2 may have been overshadowed by the recent release of Halo 2, it still proves to be an excellent sequel. While fans of the original might be disappointed by the amount of gameplay changes, it should appeal to mainstream gamers. In the end GR2 is a worthy sequel to one of the best tactical shooters on the Xbox.

- Siddharth Masand
(December 22, 2004)

 

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