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.
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.
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
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.