Can you hear that? It’s the sound of battle, sure you are probably listening to the latest crap on MP3 with Winamp but if you can for a second shut it off you hear silence, the absolute bliss that you are more than likely not accustomed to. No sound around you intensifies what may be awaiting around any corner, behind any bush, and for that matter across the digital world known as XBox Live. The sense of being there is what Ghost Recon does best and it is safe to say that this game can deliver some of the most intense and satisfying moments in your gaming life. Whether you are going solo or teaming up with your pals online Ghost Recon is certain to stimulate your gaming senses to a level they perhaps have no reached before. Let me delve further into what is possibly the best squad based combat game this side of Rainbow Six!
While being ported from PC to XBox surely took it’s toll on GR the overall look is still intact. Sure the game runs at a lower resolution and the menus can be clunky at times but all in all this is a damn fine looking game. The environments are absolutely enormous, spanning from a prison camp to a seeminglessly deserted forest the visual quality is expansive. Being able to see for what seems like miles is something that must be experienced. Sure the poly counts are on the low side and the textures could use some work but what really shines is the ability to cram all of this into one single load of a disc. You heard me right there are no loading times once inside the game, and for as big as they are…that is impressive. Smooth frame rates and great collision detection round out a solid appearance.
Oh my, has my Dolby setup ever sounded better? I think not! This game is an audio orgasm, raindrops falling behind you, water splashing at your feet, and the sheer environmental effects are awe inspiring. Let’s use an example, we are in the swamp trudging through some knee deep water. The splashes are perfect with each step, the rain softly piercing the water and leaving you feeling cold and lonely inside. All of a sudden you hear bushes sway and chatter commence a great distance away. Surveying the area the water continues to poor and the sound truly puts your there. A shot is fired in the distance and all of a sudden an explosion, this leaves you hearing muted for a sec from the shockwave and then BOOM! The firefight begins!! Bullets blazing past your head at the speed of light. This is the way combat is supposed to sound!
If you have ever played a game of this type before i.e. Rainbow Six or the like then you know what to expect. Porting such a control scheme to the console is a task not easily accomplished. So many uses of the buttons and yet so few buttons on a controller, what’s a developer to do. Well the game gets it’s general frustrations out of the way with an in-depth training course to get you used to the control scheme. Utilizing every button on the controller is crucial to becoming any good at Ghost Recon and those against learning how to master it need not apply. This game strives on it’s realism and running into the fray spraying bullets will get you nowhere except buried on the battlefield. If you can handle the learning curve and actually take the time to master the subtleties of it’s greatness you will find more reward than most games have to offer!
Xbox Live was designed with the hardcore gamer in mind. Allowing only broadband users, voice chat, and a friend’s list is like Microsoft took Sony’s online plan, listened to what the gamers wanted, and made it ten times better. Ghost Recon fully supports online capabilities and this is what makes the game so damn fun! Taking on a mission with your pals in a co-op venture is what gaming is all about. Having multiple modes of play and plenty of unlockable goodies is what keeps us coming back for more. In fact if anyone is interested add us to your gamer tag friends list. ZeroTolerance is always looking for a few good men/women to follow us into battle! Thankfully the game will also allow for two players to join in the action via split screen so even if you don’t have Xbox Live you can enjoy the wonders that is co-op, why doesn’t every game have this feature???
There is little bad I can say about GR except that most may find it’s high learning curve a turn off. If you have the patience to learn and accept what this game has to offer you will discover one of the most intricately designed games ever! Add in online support and this game delivers on every front. Sure if you are lacking XBox Live you will not enjoy everything this game has to offer but I assure you that what you will find is one of the best games currently available on XBox. Highly Recommended!