Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon may be a recognizable name in the world of video games, but you shouldn't judge this book by its cover. The story of international conflict is a pale shadow of the eponymous author's work, and the intense, gadget-fueled tactical combat featured in previous Ghost Recon games is nowhere to be found. This is a cooperative on-rails shooter. You move through the streets of Moscow, with an AI or human companion, but the only freedom of movement you have is the choice of when to move to a new cover position. Your weapons aren't terribly exciting, and most of your enemies seem to yearn for the sweet release of death. Ghost Recon is shallow and repetitive, though there is a good amount of fun to be had here. Moving from cover to cover and shooting hundreds of soldiers has a pleasing rhythm, and your enemies and weapons provide enough variety to help keep things from getting stale. It may not be much more than a military-themed shooting gallery, but Ghost Recon provides a good amount of light entertainment.
6284343NoneThe small scope windows are novel, but using them properly is tricky.
The reason you have to go to Russia and shoot a lot of bad guys is revolution. A rogue leader and his cranky band of ultranationalist soldiers are stirring the pot, and you have to help calm things down. There are a few cutscenes and a lot of mission briefings. The former aren't good enough to make you feel you've been rewarded for beating a level. The latter--like when your commanding officer tells you to "keep it on the down low" during a stealth mission--make it clear that this isn't exactly a taut international thriller.
You play as a two-man unit, either cooperatively with a local friend (there is no online play) or with an AI buddy. Most of the time, you are both stacked up behind cover, peeking out to shoot enemies and ducking back to avoid getting blown up or shot. You progress through the levels by pointing at bright chevrons that mark cover points and pressing a button to relocate. You can shake the remote to scurry and slide into cover or hold the aim button to walk slowly and shoot. Though you move independently of your partner, you can never move more than one cover point past his position. Usually, it's a good idea to eliminate all the enemies you can see before moving, but sometimes, it's worth the risk to gain a better angle or to live a little bit dangerously. It can be fairly repetitive, but it's also possible to find some simple satisfaction in the rhythm of clearing enemies, advancing, clearing more enemies, and advancing further.
Vanquishing your foes individually is not very difficult; even if you don't land a headshot, a couple of bullets to any part of the body should do the trick. They do shoot back, however, and if you get caught out when they are shooting, you take damage. You can heal, provided you haven't run out of health power-ups, but if you take too much damage, you'll be bumped back to the last checkpoint. As you progress, you encounter more evasive and trigger-happy enemies, including some powerful and pesky specialists. Enemies with rocket launchers or riot shields are dangerous but relatively easy to deal with; the engineers are a different story. These jerks hide behind cover almost all the time and send little remote-controlled cars strapped with explosives toward your position. The cars are easy to destroy, but they keep coming like clockwork until you manage to kill the engineer. If one slips through while you're trying to clean up other enemies, you take a big health hit--in addition to feeling pretty annoyed. You can mitigate this frustration by shooting the cars when they are near your enemies and watching the explosion cause collateral damage.