With Red Storm developing both Rainbow Six and Rogue Spear, it's not too surprising to hear another first-person shooter will be coming from their studio. With Ubi Soft as publisher, Ghost Recon looks to be a very promising FPS that should satisfy fans of the genre. The game is filled with infantry combat that plots squad systems against each other, unlike previous attempts of terrorism simulation by Red Storm. The environments are vast and quite intuitive, with different weapons being associated with each level. Tactics and objectives also depend on the environment you are in and explore numerous fighting ploys that are advantageous to your character. Missions will become more difficult as you progress and a hostage/prisoner simulation will be used. Also, as you progress through Ghost Recon, specialists will be added to your troops that bring better weaponry and fighting styles; skills and equipment will be expanded upon as well.
Ghost Recon is based on 15 missions in the former Soviet Union, with bonus PS2 missions including the "Desert Siege Expansion", an eight mission set of conflicts between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The team AI is troubling at times, so a human partner is the best bet; however, the game is still very manageable with the computer as a teammate. Ghost Recon can be explored using solo or split-screen cooperative mode, a tactic that can weigh on the game's engine, but is a nice aspect of the game. Team strategy is very vital in Ghost Recon, and can be accomplished very productively with a friend. The camera is an important issue in Ghost Recon, as there have sadly been some zoom options eliminated from the control scheme. Different weapons are still able to zoom in and out of their appropriate target, but there seems to be less distinction and zoom levels included. Instead, each weapon appears to have the basic in-and-out zoom feature that smoothly locks on enemies. The scope-limited view has been removed for the rifle and two-stage zoom is also gone with the higher level rifles. The main problem this is associated with is long-range combat, which was easily accomplished in the PC version. Instead, the game makes close-quarter attacks more efficient, especially with the somewhat cheap auto-aiming system; I guess it all depends on your preference of FPS titles.
Finally, we examined the differences between the PC and Xbox versions of Ghost Recon. First of all, there's the radar/threat indicator display in the middle, an indicator for team stance in the lower left corner, a zoom meter in the upper right, and weapon info in the lower right. However. there's no compass, so you are forced to judge your direction by landmarks around you, or trying to look closely at the small map where your small icon is pointing. Also, with the lack of sub screens, a small amount of data was lost, but you can navigate your team by pressing the pause button, once you figure out all the icons, of course.
host Recon is scheduled for release later this fall, and hopefully we will have more information on the game as it closes in on production. Stay tuned for all updates and we will try and get some screenshots up in the near future.
10/3/2002 Matthew Stensrud