Ghost Recon 2

Xbox 360

Review by Matt Paprocki

Ubi Soft


Graphics: 9

Sound: 10

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8


Making every attempt to one up last year’s unforgettable Ghost Recon Xbox 360 debut is the downfall of this otherwise spectacular third person shooter. The tactical portion of the game is lost in widespread firefights that fully detract from the previously barren battlefields. Yes, Ghost Recon 2 is loaded with epic moments, yet sadly, they’re completely out of place.

graw21360.jpg (114375 bytes)Picking up immediately where the first title left off, Scott Mitchell is sent directly back into enemy territory to take part in an outstanding story of a war that crosses over into American territory to fully encompass the severity of a Mexican rebel uprising. While Mitchell returns in an overly long training segment that barely fits into the story, everything after this is stunning in its execution.

Graphical updates are beautiful, leading into shopping districts loaded with fine details and wonderfully constructed lighting model. It’s immersive and realistic; especially when the situation escalates and the only thing in the distance is a plume smoke occasionally lit by gunfire.

A medic that can heal anyone on the squad is the most substantial update. It eliminates the problem of becoming stuck at a checkpoint without health and being forced to fight through a difficult scenario without being hit. The downside is that the difficulty has been significantly decreased, even with an immeasurable amount of enemy fire in comparison to the first title. On the hardest difficulty, this is barely even half of the struggle it was previously.

This also shortens the campaign length dramatically. The final chapter is the shortest though the most intense. You truly get the feeling that a nuclear device is moments away from being detonated on U.S. soil as your superiors bark out orders. Additions to the cross com interface, by far the best HUD ever devised for a third person shooter, includes the ability to view a squad members movements from their point of view. This also makes it easier to place assist devices like a drone instead of waiting for it to find its needed location on its own.

Sadly, almost all is lost as the game forces players to go solo numerous times. The developers have nearly eliminated any drama from a showdown with an armored vehicle. Mitchell seems as capable as Rambo in some points. An intelligent concept has Mitchell losing control of his cross com, rendering him almost helpless in an open environment. Instead of having the player tactically approach the situation, a rocket launcher is provided to simply blow everything up.

This is an awkward shift, cheapening the experience down to the level of a low-end action summer movie. At times, it feels as if you’re invincible as you bring down more tanks than soldiers. When in command of multiple troops, this is easily on par if not better than the original. Ally A.I. has been given a dramatic makeover, and aside from some minor glitches, they work beautifully in tandem with the player.

Without A.I. online, the addictive lag free co-op campaign returns. Completely separate levels for up to 16 players are available online, and this is still the best Xbox Live experience you can have with friends. Missions are once again high on difficulty and rely heavily on a team’s communication skill.

Infinitely customizable game modes take over the versus portion. It’s the style of game that thrives on a hosts ability to conjure up new scenarios. As with the single player run, medics can make a huge difference to a team, though typically fail at combat. Regardless of the game style, keeping a skilled medic alive is key.

It’s hard to complain about Ghost Recon 2 given how many “wow” moments have been crammed into the campaign. You’ll be talking about them for months, but sadly, they’re not right for this franchise and grow tiring as time passes. All of the explosions in the world can’t change the level of involvement when you’re required to use your head to advance. Still, this is a gripping experience, even if it’s for a different reason than the original.


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Last updated: Monday, April 09, 2007 11:13 PM