Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Genre: Tactical Shooter
The squad based third person shooter franchise returns with a streamlined mechanic and a bunch of 'light' sci-fi features to aid in the usual mix of frantic action and stealth (at least they seem futuristic to me - with the US military's R&D budget you can never be too sure).
Clocking in at approx 12 hours of gameplay, the single player mode may not be the longest experience but it does not feel underdeveloped. Some fans maybe annoyed that the micro-managing of the squad has been all but removed in favour of selecting targets for team-mates, but I preferred how it smoothed over the gameplay. In many regards the levels play identical to Modern Warfare or Battlefield: a linear progression through checkpoints with the computer essentially hand-holding you from set piece to set piece. That aside, I found myself enjoying the experience here far more than the other series. Yes, some may find elements like cloaking uniforms a bit far fetched but it never took from the fun I had in deploying a series of sensor grenades to spot enemy locations, having my four team mates target the unsuspecting enemy troops and finally setting of their attacks in unison by shooting the fifth target.
I did have some issues with the main story campaign. Graphically the game is generally good, if a tiny bit pedestrian, but the faces in cut-scenes really suffer in terms of the uncanny valley. Some of the action sequences seem a bit jarring from the tactical stealth sections, most notably when I was placed in rail shooter mode which simply left me frustrated that my control seem arbitrarily curtailed. Online Co-Op with up to three other players is a welcome feature but it would have been nice to have an option for split screen offline co-op even if only for two player. Finally, ignore the blurb about the game being Move and Kinetic compatible. Yes, they can be used but only in the weapon's modification section. I honestly cannot fathom who would switch controller (or stand up in the Kinetic's case) just for that.
Of course nowadays this kind of game's success relies almost exclusively on the multiplayer experience. I actually had some difficulties connecting to the servers but once I had finally gotten into the game lobby I experienced no further technical hiccups. A variety of modes are available but with a greater emphasis placed on team work. Indeed, the system recognises and rewards co-operative play such as reducing the time it takes a player to interact with objects when another player remains close by to cover them. It may not seem like a major factor but, from my experience, it really did alter the tone of the voice chat dynamic for the better. The game will be the most enjoyable when you are teamed up with your friends but this leads to the make it or break it situation with Ghost Recon. An online shooter is only as good as the depth of its player base and I am not sure if there will be enough variety to lure that hard core 'MW / Battlefield or nothing' contingent here.
I liked Ghost Recon significantly more than some of its rivals but that just is a matter of my preferences. Ghost Recon is simply a well put together shooter but it is just getting harder and harder to differentiate between any of the other well put together tactical shooters out there.
Rent or Buy: Buy
Reviewed by: JP Gallagher