Technically, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2 Summit Strike is a stand-alone expansion pack to the original Ghost Recon 2, which was released on the Xbox less than a year ago. But don't let that distinction and the marked-down price tag fool you. Summit Strike has the same level of quality as any full-priced third-person shooter and is every bit as enjoyable as its predecessor, with a varied campaign, wide-open levels, and a wealth of multiplayer options and modes.
Summit Strike offers a varied and interesting single-player campaign.
The game's campaign finds the elite Ghost commandoes on the hunt for Asad Rahil, a Pakistani terrorist. Rahil's crimes, which include unleashing chemical weapons on a hapless village, have created a great deal of unrest in Kazakhstan, which has been further exacerbated by the assassination of the Kazakh president. The entire country is thrown into upheaval with the new power vacuum, and UN forces sent to stabilize the region have been overwhelmed thus far by Rahil's burgeoning army. As a Ghost squad leader, you're tasked with taking down Rahil and bringing peace to the region.
Aside from taking part in a couple of lone-wolf missions, you'll find yourself leading a four-man fireteam of Ghosts across large, wide-open levels. The sheer amount of area available in each of the game's 11 missions is quite impressive, and with multiple objectives to achieve, you'll find that you need to cover most of that ground. As in past Ghost Recon games, you have the ability to issue simple orders to your squad, such as laying down a hail of suppressive fire, holding position, and flanking either left or right. You also have the ability to order them to perform context-sensitive actions, such as attacking enemy vehicles with portable rocket launchers or laying explosives on a demolitions target. In most cases though, you don't need to tell your AI teammates to do anything. They're great at following you around, finding their own nearby cover, and engaging and taking down enemies. Until you get used to squinting into the distance to find enemies moving about, you'll often find your teammates acquiring and killing hostiles almost before you realized they were there.
That's not to say that Summit Strike is easy or plays itself, however. The game offers a fair amount of challenge, even at the default normal difficulty. In almost every mission, you find yourself terribly outnumbered against dozens of enemy foot soldiers, and vehicles ranging from machine-gun-mounted jeeps to tanks and helicopter gunships. With those odds stacked against you, you'll definitely need to assist your teammates in combat. Since the game strives for some sense of realism, you can't take much damage before going down, and there are no contrived items that let you restore lost health. If a squadmate goes down, you can bandage him and bring him back up to half-health. But if he goes down again, he's lost for that mission (dead teammates do magically reappear in later missions), and squadmates cannot bandage you if you go down. Once you die, the mission is over. Thankfully, Summit Strike does allow for in-mission saves at any time, so if you get through a particularly sticky situation, you can create a checkpoint of sorts for yourself and continue from there.
Low-light goggles improve nighttime visibility but bathe the screen in a monochromatic green glow.