The first time I ever played Ghost Recon was when it came out for the Nintendo GameCube. That game was an absolute blast, and the controller was perfect. My love for Ghost Recon grew as I got into the Xbox versions, but it still wasn’t quite the same as the one for the GameCube. When I heard that a new Ghost Recon was coming out for the Wii, I was excited but at the same time very worried that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations.
My main concerns were that I’d have difficulty with the controls. Yes, the Wii is innovative but sometimes nothing compares to a regular controller. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon gives the players two options: using the Wii-mote and Nunchuk combo or the Wii Zapper accessory. Sadly, we don’t have the zapper, but the controls weren’t that bad using the standard combo. The reason is that the game isn’t like most shooters. It’s more of an on-rails game, like Time Crisis or House of the Dead. The difference between Ghost Recon and those other two examples is that this isn’t in first-person. Gears of War fans will be familiar with the over-the-shoulder camera angle, and although I can’t stand GoW, the angle worked very well for Ghost Recon.
One thing I really have to give to Ubisoft is that when you moved the reticle over your target, if it lined up with where your character was standing, you would go transparent, so your line of sight was never compromised. Like in Time Crisis (sorry, I’ll be using that as a comparison a lot since it is a popular game), you move from checkpoint to checkpoint, and you have to remember to cover and dodge. The checkpoints are medium sized arrows that flash and appear on walls, trash receptacles, and other objects you can hide behind. Your character will always be under cover or hidden until you press the Z button on the Wii Nunchuk. In the arcade version of Time Crisis, there is that large pedal on the floor that you press when you want to come out from your cover. Think of the Z button as serving that same purpose. In order to get your soldier out there, and to have him aim properly, you must be holding down Z otherwise he will just blindly shoot and you won’t do much damage to the Russians you’re fighting against. I had to find out the hard way when Chris and I reached the end of the 1st mission and I only had 11 kills yet fired over 2,500 bullets.
As far as the other controls are concerned, it really was an easy game to play. The B button on the Wii-Mote is the trigger, you switch weapons by either moving the thumbstick on the Nunchuk or by pressing the D-Pad on the Wii-Mote, Z is to come out from behind cover, and everything else is taken care of for you. You don’t have to worry about moving your character around or properly dodging anything since it is “on-rails”. There was a nice move where, if you wanted to slide to your next checkpoint, all you had to do was shake the Wii-mote from side to side. The only downside was that you couldn’t shoot during that time, but it made the transitions from place to place a lot faster. Aiming was another thing I was worried about as I wasn’t too sure how the controls would be mapped out for that. Again, that was easy since it utilized the Wii-mote motion sensor so I just had to move my right hand a bit to adjust my aim.
On the subject of aiming, I should warn you all about how to snipe in this game. In other shooters I’ve played (and I’ve played a lot of them), you zoom in with the rifle, and look around to find your target. Sometimes, you can even zoom in some more to really get a clear shot. That wasn’t the case with Ghost Recon. When you get to a point in the game where you can have a sniper rifle, this is how it goes: you switch to the rifle, you zoom in on the target with the rifle, a small scope shows up in the lower right corner of the screen where what you see is rather blurry, and you pull the trigger. You can’t really get a proper headshot here because once you are scoped in, your range of motion is limited and what you see through the scope isn’t all that clear. Gamers who love to do a quick scope and just shoot, even if what you get is a body shot, won’t mind the way sniping is handled, but I’m all about those sweet, sweet headshots.
Everything else about the game is pretty much standard Ghost Recon. When you start there is a cinematic telling you about what has gone down and who the opposing force is. For this Ghost Recon, the Russians have gone crazy and started to sweep across Europe. After taking Norway, other forces were brought in to drive them out and push back their borders. Graphically the game isn’t too impressive but on-rails style games rarely are, but it is better than most of the other ones out there so I will say that. The sound quality of the game works. It isn’t over the top, it doesn’t have a crazy soundtrack in the background… it just lets you focus on what is going on, and when your teammate has to reload.
I did have a few problems with the game, so I’ll get into that right now. I didn’t like how I wasn’t able to select who I wanted to be in the beginning as there are only two main characters, Hibbard and Booth. Sure, I know that the story focuses on those two, but I was used to being able to scroll through a set selection of characters, select which weapons I’d want to have, which secondaries I would want, and if I would want to have grenades or something else. In Ghost Recon, you start off with a regular automatic rifle and plain grenades. The first event you get to is where you get to control a robot and you can decide if you want to be the automatic turret, or if you want control of the large cannon that shoots some massive shells. Then, when you go into another area, you can decide if you want to have the sniper or another standard gun that is similar to an SMG. The only way you can choose your selection is by swapping it with the other character, so it can be a bit of a pain if you’re playing with a friend and you both want a sniper to be your secondary.
Overall, it was an enjoyable game. I liked how accessible it was, I liked how it allowed us to have a fun arcade-style shooter in our home, and I know that Ghost Recon would absolutely kick ass with that Wii Zapper accessory. If you have a Wii and are looking for a game like this, I highly suggest you go and pick up a copy, however if you’re a fan of the series and are wanting a proper FPS then you might be disappointed as this is nothing like the other Ghost Recons.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon is available now for the Nintendo Wii for only $49.99. Make sure to follow Ubisoft on Twitter for more gaming news and updates.