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Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2

Review By:  Jared Black

Developer:  Red Storm Entertainment
Publisher:  Ubisoft
# of Players:  1
Genre:  Action
ESRB:  Teen
Online:  No
Date Posted:  6-11-05

Although the Xbox version of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 2 represented a complete overhaul of the series, it was still undeniably a Ghost Recon game.  That’s not true of the GameCube and PS2 versions, which cast off all pretenses of strategy and stealth in favor of linear missions and an increased pace.   The result is a game that falls between two extremes and won’t really please fans of either.

The biggest change from previous Ghost Recon games lies in the missions, where sprawling areas have been replaced with linear straightforward challenges.  That’s not to say that the game wasn’t linear to begin with, but at least before you had multiple ways of reaching and achieving most objectives.  Here’s you simply blast bad guy after bad guy, and then do whatever the objective tells you to do.  The storyline is also pretty basic (a series of excuses to blow stuff up), and doesn’t come close to the unique “Modern Heroes” TV show format the Xbox version uses.

However, despite the extreme linearity the game still fails to deliver an exciting experience.  Capt. Scott Mitchell moves at a slower pace similar to the Ghosts of yore, only with the first-person perspective no longer available (less immersion) and no real need for the stealth anyway.  Many of the new moves found in the Xbox version, such as rolling while prone and the gun camera in Lone Wolf mode, are sadly missing and ironically would’ve worked well in a more action-oriented environment.  At least Mitchell is a little tougher this time around (no one-shot kills), but now it just feels unrealistic in an otherwise realistic setting.  While you can change weapons to outfit the Cap’n a little more to your liking, the game provides zero advice on their different capabilities and the selection is very limited. 

At least the option to lie prone is still there, but unfortunately the only good cover is solid cover.  Forget trying to hide behind bushes; enemies can now apparently see straight through them even though you cannot.  Not only that, but enemy AI is scripted to an insane degree.  Each trip through a level will result in the exact same guys appearing at the exact same time, with little to no ability to think and act on their own.  Since the AI is designed to surprise and frustrate and there are no in-level saves players will have to try, try again (repeating the same tedious areas) until each level is finally complete.  In this sense, it’s a blessing that each level is so short.

While there’s still a team of four Ghosts working together to take out the bad guy, many times it doesn’t feel that way.  Although the team can still receive basic orders (move to this spot, hold, etc.), oftentimes they don’t follow them like they should and they usually aren’t necessary anyway.  In fact, the only real strategy I found that worked consistently was “send the team forward to draw out the enemy so you can snipe them from afar”, although even then enemies often waited until I actually crossed that invisible trigger line before they appeared.  I guess it’s perfectly acceptable for enemy soldiers to waltz into the middle of an airbase unmolested as long as it isn’t a Captain.  When enemies did go ahead and show up, they usually just traded shots with my teammates (neither side doing much damage) until I arrived.  This version also lacks the PS2’s voice commands.

You want online play?  Would you settle for any kind of multiplayer at all?  Well too bad, because the GCN version of Ghost Recon 2 doesn’t have it in any form even though this series was practically built on that.  Not that GameCube owners are missing much in comparison to the PS2 version (which featured very basic online play), but it would’ve been nice to have some form of multiplayer here.

At least the GameCube version looks better than the PS2 version, but even then there’s a downside.  While character models and environments are identical, the GameCube version has a sharper look to it.  However, the trade-off is a sluggish framerate and severe pop-up.  In fact, the framerate is far worse than in the PS2 version and so bad that it often makes it hard to aim accurately.  The pop-up is also terrible, and easily some of the worst I’ve seen this hardware generation.  For example, the third mission is set in a village that basically has one two-lane dirt road running through it with high hills on each side.  At one point in that village I was standing on one side of the road under an awning, and a large hill and several trees on the other side of the road simply disappeared.  If I took one step forward they’d reappear, and then disappear again if I took another step backward.  Since this port uses art assets designed for the PS2 and we’ve seen what the ‘Cube can do in games like Resident Evil 4, this is simply inexcusable and points to shoddy programming and/or a lack of development resources put into the port.

I’ve always been a fan of the sound work in past Clancy titles, and this has more of the same.  The voice acting is good enough, and the sound effects are satisfyingly robust.  No major complaints here. 


  • Blasting bad guys always has some inherent fun to it, and for the most part it’s relatively painless to do so.


  • Extremely linear missions and frustratingly scripted AI mean many trips through the exact same areas and enemy patterns.

  • No multiplayer at all and no voice command support.

  • Framerate and pop-up issues throughout the game, with the framerate getting really bad in “busy” areas.

  • Having to choose the language every time the game boots up is annoying.

Final Verdict:

At least PS2 owners have online play to fall back on, but this version doesn’t have a multiplayer component at all.  What’s left is a slow-paced solo action game with a choppy framerate, heavily scripted AI, and severe pop-up problems.  Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 2 is not a complete failure, but there are much better places to spend your gaming dollars.  If you’re absolutely dying for a military-themed shooter, try one of the Conflict games or Call of Duty instead.

Overall Score: 3.5

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