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January 24, 2004
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2 - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
25/11/2004UbisoftUbisoft Shanghai1, 16 MA15+Medium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
225KBDolby PLIIYesNoNoneNo

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Graphics are clean.
Tom Clancy branded games have earned a reputation for excellence over the years. The primary reason for this is the realism which they bring to the gaming world. Series such as Rainbow Six and Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear have taken realism to the extreme while Splinter Cell has set new benchmarks in the stealth genre. The Ghost Recon titles add a touch more squad based management with more action oriented titles and slightly less strategy. The first Ghost Recon on PS2 was a bit of a letdown as the developers stripped away much of the strategy. Can they get it right this time? You'll have to wait a bit to find out as we kick off with the story.

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Yep, another screenshot.
In the wake of one of North Korea's worst famines, an insidious North Korean general influences the government to secretly divert humanitarian aid to beef up its army, slowly gaining power in the process.

Fearful that North Korea is amassing huge quantities of military weapons, the new Chinese regime eliminates arms sales to North Korea. In response, the North Korean government initiates secret overtures to Russia, who strikes a quiet alliance. In the midst of another North Korean famine, food riots begin rocking the countryside, and the rogue North Korean general assumes complete control of the army. Blaming China for the famine, he begins charging north to seize Chinese territory with tacit support from its new Russian ally.

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Enemies are flooding in.
China moves to respond, but limits the level of escalation, fearing open conflict with Russia and a possible nuclear exchange. Instead, China officially agrees to a multinational force to safeguard the China-North Korean border. Unofficially, the Ghosts and other special forces go in. Their mission: cripple the North Korean threat and depose the rogue general.

The 14 single player missions, while short, are quite hard. Playing the game from a third person perspective works from the fact that you can see if you soldier is behind cover - not that it matters too much. Enemies seem almost superhuman, as they can spot you from a mile away and seem to remain locked on you even when you try to sneak away from them. There is no mid-level save, but that's no bad thing in my book.

Multi-player is one area where you would expect this title to excel, and as long as you're online it does. Unfortunately there's no split-screen option, nor LAN support for those of use with a couple of PS2's in a room. My biggest issue with online gameplay is the lag. It's certainly not the almost lag-free experience of Sony's SOCOM titles. Still if you like playing online titles this may keep you interested for a while and is in fact probably the only real reason to own this title.

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The dumbest enemy ever!
Unfortunately Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2 isn't anywhere near as good as it should have been. The squad based element has been virtually removed. Gone are the two three-man squads and in its place is a single four-man squad to control. The commands you can issue range from throwing grenades to moving to positions, however, they seem unnecessary as most missions can be completed by going commando. Unfortunately this removes much of the strategy found in the PC title and as a result makes this game seem like a generic action title. Also annoying is that unless you are behind a solid rock, or hill the enemies will see you through trees, scrub or any other object. Strange. The final nail in the coffin is the level design. Gone are the wide open spaces of the first title and in its place are rather linear levels which almost guide you along a path and offer little opportunity for exploration.

When looking at the surrounding screenshots it's clear that Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2 looks good, and it certainly does. It's no where near the quality of the PC games, nor the PS2's best, but what's here is more then functional. Texturing is fairly accurate and while the game struggles with frame rate when several enemies appear on screen. Unfortunately the cut-scenes could have done with a bit more work. The story sounds fine on paper however it isn't really conveyed with the utmost excitement or quality through the videos.

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Lighting here is nice...
In terms of sound Ghost Recon 2 is functional at best - and it certainly isn't going to win any awards. The music is adequate, changing pace and tone when required, but itís the voices and sound effects which are disappointing. At times the voices sound very amateurish and certainly not the gruff marines that you expect in a game like this. Also disappointing is the sound effects which simply lack the punch which we've come to expect. Even through our beefy sound system here at Future Gamez it lacked the shock value you expect. Finally there is very little positional audio as the sound always seems to just "be there" rather then from a direction. Perhaps the developers should take a bit of a look at the competition.

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Taking on a guard tower.
So what happened? Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2 really only links to the PC games in name only. This game is a major letdown. Unless you're planning to play this game online you're much better off getting your action fix elsewhere. The biggest crime is that this game has gone even further from the superb squad based management then the first title - and that was one of the biggest complaints about that game! Why is it that a company such as Ubisoft feels they have to "dumb" down the game for console gamers. A poor action title that's hard to recommend to anyone besides die hard action fans.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSGraphically the game looks pretty sharp, but not quite the PS2's best.
SOUNDIn a war game you expect beefy effects. Ubisoft forgot about the beef.
GAMEPLAYWhere's all the squad management? It's ok, but not brilliant.
VALUEThe levels aren't big, but are hard. Online will keep you playing.
OVERALLTom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2 is a major disappointment. Ubisoft have developed a fairly generic action title. Probably one only for online action fans.

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