Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon - game review

Date: 2002-02-25 13:42:00
The review was based on the PC version.

The time of games such as Unreal Tournament or Quake 3 is slowly passing. On my part, this statement seems to be at least careless and ill-considered, because probably someone will say that these games are playing well; Moreover, a whole lot of new parts will be created, such as Unreal 2, Unreal Torunament 2, Doom 3 or Quake 4! Right, but will they be games similar to those mentioned at the beginning? Rather not, because more and more people choose games in which they can feel like in reality, more real. Of course, I am not saying that Unreal 2 (and this title ironically) or Doom 3 will be a faithful copy of what we see in everyday life - what not. However, there is a clear tendency to create games that are more and more like our surroundings with all its features and properties. This fact was perfectly used by the Red Storm company, which thanks to its creativity gave the opportunity to play the role of a member of a special division to millions of players around the world. A real possibility ...

Thanks to the cooperation of Red Storm with the famous author of "political fiction" works, Tom Clancy, a series of games with the common title Rainbow Six was created , presenting the activities of one of the Rainbow branches in many corners of the globe. However, after 4 years of using both the topic and technical solutions (I mean mainly the graphics engine), it is time for changes. And the fruit of these changes is Ghost Recon - the newest item from the "Red Storm" stable, also created in cooperation with Tom Clancy.

The plot of Ghost Recon is as follows: In 2008, ultranationalists came to power in Russia and launched campaigns against the Baltic republics and those that also gained independence in the nineties, such as Kazakhstan. This campaign aims to bring them back to Russia and restore the country to the power of the former Soviet Union. The situation is slowly getting out of control, which is why the US government decides to send a detachment of "Ghosts" to the Baltic republics in order to restore stability in this region. The plot may not be the most sophisticated, but it is about keeping certain realities.

The entire campaign in which we will take part consists of 15 missions related to each other. Once completed in the Campaign mode, they are unlocked in the Single Mission mode. Ghost Recon also offers a multiplayer mode with games such as "last man standing" or "hostage rescue".

At the beginning of each mission, we are introduced to the current situation by a Mr. Narrator who speaks our native language. It sounds quite nice, although I had the feeling that he was too empathetic in the role, which made his voice a bit artificial. But maybe I'm picking on. In any case, you can turn it off (the narrator) and familiarize yourself with the text and mission objectives. The next screen is the selection of the members of our squad and assigning them weapons and equipment. Initially, at our disposal are regular soldiers of the "Ghosts" squad, but as we progress, the so-called specialists, i.e. outstanding personality in some respects (sniper, support, shooter, sapper). They also use the most modern weapons, not available to regular soldiers, so it is worth using them for as many missions as possible.

An interesting solution is to force the player to equip the unit with the equipment necessary to complete the mission. It looks like this, that if we are to blow up the bridge, until we recruit a sapper with C4 charges on the team, the program will not allow us to start the mission.

And finally we begin. When I saw Ghost Recon for the first time, the graphics in the game surprised me, not to say astonishing - in a positive sense, of course. The first mission is to eliminate the enemy camp, located in a slightly mountainous area. Before proceeding with the task, I looked around. The sun was shining straight in the eyes, the wind rustled moving the leaves and tree branches, you could hear the planes flying somewhere high ... The graphics in the game look great, especially when we set the detail level to the maximum values. Words of appreciation to the creators are due to the perfect reflection of the climate that prevails in individual missions. Sometimes it is beautiful sunny weather, during which we run in the forest, once we sneak in the dark to eliminate the soldiers occupying the farm quietly and without unnecessary noise, and other times we crawl in the fog over the marshy areas to rescue our man from the enemy camp. During all these missions, you even have the feeling of being in the place where the action takes place. Unfortunately, the level of graphics reproduction that is presented in Ghost Recon must be paid for with high hardware requirements. While in the resolution of 800x600 in 16 bit color with the maximum details turned on, you can play relatively comfortably on computers of 600-800MHz class, 128MB RAM, in the resolution of 1024x768 in 32 bit color, the number of displayed frames in the game could drop drastically even on a computer with a processor of 1600MHz, 512MB RAM and GeForce 2 Titanium. I understand that the amount and complexity of the objects in Ghost Recon is huge, but the "hiccups" on equipment above 1.5GHz is at least inadvisable.

Another important feature of the game is the soundtrack, especially since Ghost Recon is fully polonized. I must admit that I had some concerns about the effect of casting Polish voices instead of the original versions. I admit that I was pleasantly disappointed. I think the moment has come when the people responsible for dubbing are starting to grasp what's going on, which results in a very well-made sound side of the game. The soldiers' voices sound natural and aren't offensive like they did in a few other games. Actually, I have no objection to their sound - just good job!

Now that I have briefly covered the visual and audio aspects of the game, it's time to move on to ... the gameplay. And in order not to make lengthy introductions, I will say that it is very large.

It should be remembered that Ghost Recon belongs to the "team based" genre, i.e. games in which our task is to command a squad of soldiers. The success of the action depends only on whether they will cooperate with each other. Those who prefer ala Quake gameplay won't find what they're looking for in Ghost Recon. This game is much more "calm" but no less dynamic than the classic "shooters". Its most important assumption is REALISM. When creating the game, the creators followed the assumptions of the Rainbow Six series, which became the precursor of the "tactical team based FPS" genre (what a turn), and the assumption is "one shot, one dead". This assumption makes Ghost Recon a game that requires thinking and planning from us. We can't just run with a single soldier to the entire enemy camp - probably before we got there, someone would have shot us. As already mentioned, without the cooperation between individual members of the unit, the success of the mission will be impossible.

You can express yourself in superlatives about the intelligence of computer-led soldiers. Each shot causes them to react, even if the bullet misses the target. When we start shooting at them, they hide behind trees and buildings, call for reinforcements, they fall to the ground. They can even chase us if we decide to run away. An additional advantage is the perfectly realized motion-capture. The behavior of individual characters is very varied and even when they are standing still, they make some gestures.

Unfortunately, I was not able to test the multi-player mode thoroughly. But based on what I saw in the first 60 minutes of playing online with 12 other people, I must admit that the sensational Rogue Spear so far was defeated in my private ranking. This is largely due to the fact that Ghost Recon offers large open spaces unlike the Rainbow Six games.

After going through 10 of the 15 missions that make up the campaign, I can say one thing - Ghost Recon is a great game! Excellent graphics, very good soundtrack (this also applies to the Polish version), perfectly conveyed atmosphere. The only problem may be the high hardware requirements for higher resolutions and the difficulty of the game itself for beginners. Unfortunately, I cannot approve of the Polish manual - because it does not look good. It consists of 32 pages and contains only instructions for installing and operating the game itself. There is not a word about the tactics which is very important in this kind of games. Also, the translation of the manual is not the best, and after reading it, I had the impression that the translator had no idea about weapons, computers and games. It's a pity because you could outsource it to a player and I bet he would have done it better. Detriment.

For my part, I sincerely recommend the game not only to fans of the genre, but also to those who will encounter this type of game for the first time. It guarantees many hours of fun, which can be extended practically indefinitely thanks to the great multi-player mode.