I have yet to figure out why Ubisoft continues to bother with putting games like Ghost Recon on the Wii. The series definitely has a hardcore following of gamers that love realistic war shooters, and achieving that on the Wii is nearly impossible. The latest effort, simply titled Ghost Recon, takes the series in a direction you would never have expected. This on-rails shooter has you moving from cover spot to cover spot taking down enemies in a similar fashion to light gun games such as Time Crisis. This removes all of what makes the series so endearing, and thus continues to beg the question of why even bother with it on Nintendo’s system.
While there is an underlying story here, it is about as cookie cutter as they get. The cut scenes never hold your attention, and you will be skipping most of the missions’ screens when you can. You see Ghost Recon on the Wii is hard to take as serious as the game builds it up to be. You are thrown into each level with two soldiers. You can chime in with a second Wii remote and take control of the second cursor, but there is not online to speak of. Basically you then move from cover to cover and take down enemies by aiming with the Wii remote. You can lob grenades and duck in and out of cover, but that is about the extent of the variety.
There are a few moves you can perform such as shaking the Wii remote to slide into cover and shoot while moving between cover, but this is about as linear as you can get. Health is picked up by making it to cover where health is located and filling up like a gas station. Basically the entire game feels like a giant hand-holding endeavor that never lets you spread your wings and fly solo. Enemies drop with ease as you can peg them just about anywhere with a couple bullets as they fall. There are some vehicle type missions where your firepower is increased, but for the most part you and your wingman will simply move around a poorly constructed enemy area that offers too many places to hide and enemies that simply should not be in the military.
Unfortunately as far as gameplay goes there isn’t much else to talk about. The campaign isn’t exactly epic in length and the co-op is identical to the main game. You do unlock Arcade missions as you complete the single player game and unlocking Achivements is a cool nod to the obsession found on Xbox Live, but no online really hurts. There are leaderboards for you to compare your times with others, but to be honest the lack of skill the game requires makes them feel more like a bullet point than a feature.
It is no surprise that the game fails visually as well. With the concept being more akin to a rushed effort than a thought-out take on the series, the presentation suffers as well. The character models themselves don’t look terrible, but the texture work and level design is downright atrocious. The voice acting is equally bad with laughable dialogue and repeating commentary during combat. If the story had any redeeming values they are ruined by the abhorrent dialogue and cheesy one-liners. This is just a game that feels like a bad joke most of the time; which is a shame for a series with such a fantastic lineage on other consoles.
Ghost Recon on the Wii feels like a cheap cash-in that takes no advantage of the console’s strengths. Other franchise have taken the shortcomings of the console and made them work to their benefit, sadly that is not the case here. Fans of the series would do well to avoid this iteration and stick to waiting on the latest true version due out for 360 and PS3 next year. Wii owners hoping to get in on the action should also skip the draft here. This is one game that soils the name of an otherwise respected franchise. Here is to hoping that next time the team takes their time to craft a game that takes advantage of the Wii’s capabilities instead of conforming to the stereotype of shovelware on the system.
Review copy provided by publisher.