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Clancy's Ghost Recon 2
Score: 8.4 / 10
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
The game’s presentation style is pretty unique and innovative – the game
sets up each mission by showing interviews with the actual soldiers who
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
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
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.
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.