Ghost Recon is something that was in many ways doomed from the start. First off, an attempt at a realistic shooter on a console that has left a wake of failed such games behind it was a bad omen. Take that and add that it was given the “it’s the Wii, so let’s make it as simple and repetitive treatment” and you get a very poor recipe indeed. Don’t take those statements as a disdain for this type of game, I would normally be quite excited to hear that one of Ubisofts flagship franchises was going to try its hand on the little console that could. However, what I found ended up being quite different than the surprisingly fun experience I got from Ubisofts last shooter outing on the Wii, Red Steel 2.
A rundown of this game will show you where they started to go wrong, it’s an on rails pop n’ stop shooter, much like you would have found in many arcades circa 1999. While if nothing else, this type of game does lend itself to mindless, “no strategy required” fun. Not to mention when everything about the game is pre-decided you would at least think the possibilities for scripted events would be endless. But quite to the contrary, the game is literally a shooting gallery; in fact it presents war in much the same way I perceived it when I was 8. Enemies pop out from cover and you shoot them whilst taking bullets likes a sponge. And the cheesy dialogue, the macho high-fives and one liner quips that any fan of Top Gun would be familiar with pervade the serious nature of war to make you feel as if the game is trying to be something Ghost Recon should never be, giddy.
Previous Ghost Recon games are methodical and very strategic; they have a plausible plot and a very serious demeanor. Here the plot (if you can pay attention) is as shallow as my pockets, Russian ultranationalists invade Norway, and all TWO of the American soldiers at the ready come to save it with the help of a Russian defector. That’s all I’ll spend talking about the plot, because that’s about how much I cared to take note of while playing the game.
But about the game play, it actually can be fun for a while. You’ll be equipped with various real world guns which may or may not be represented accurately (I’m told reloading an M249 takes upwards of 15 seconds, not 3 as the game would have you believe). You will run from cover point to cover point unloading copious amounts of unlimited ammo at AI that can only be described as being about as witty as a stump, about as equally nimble too. But of course an entire army of mindless drones does equate to some fun online leader boards in an arcade mode, but if you’re like me, leader boards only make me want to play more of a good game, not a bad one. Even co-op multiplayer is only fun for a few levels at most. I should mention that there is a built in achievement system (mention acheivements in review: check). Even played on normal there will be frustrating one hit kill attacks from enemies that really make things difficult. In fact, at one point I had to retry fifteen times in order to pass one checkpoint, the only reason I made it through is because I had two uses of a slow motion feature the game calls focus. I had to use both to finally get passed, but if I only had one, I surely would have had to restart the entire level.
From a technical standpoint the controls work quite well and only has a few detractors (minus the oft ill-fated Wii sniper). Of course the graphical side of things is about as impressive as the games voice acting, abysmal. The sound isn’t much better, lacking pop and the much needed submersion of good sound-effects. The score seems to have eaten up a good chunk of the budget since it seems to be very generic and poorly written but well produced.
I know I ragged on it, but it is actually something a 10 year old would probably enjoy. It does have some fun elements, but in the end they are not enough to lift this game out of mediocrity. If you’re interested in a fun shooter where you can actually control your character look towards Ubi’s own Red Steel 2 or if you’re stuck on the on rails thing, go for Dead Space: Extraction instead.
2 out of 5.