Ghost Recon (Gold Edition)

ActuallyWaiting for tanks to come, I wanted to play Medal of Honor, but since the (original) discs appear to be damaged, I ended up looking at a set of Ghost Recon discs. I bought this set of discs 3 or 4 years ago (for 20 dollars or so), played it and never finished it. Actually, I never played the (extra) expansions, which are called ‘Desert Siege’ (situated in Africa) and ‘Island Thunder’ (situated in Cuba). The main game focuses on a couple of incidents in Russia.

The good thing is that games that were new 3 or 4 years ago, play very well on today’s hardware3. So, Ghost Recon works good and the scenery is quite enjoyable on the highest resolution (1280 x 800): I was surprised to see that an older game like this one supporting wide-screen resolutions. There are some screens that show the wrong aspect-ratio, most notably the map and command screens, however, this doesn’t really affect gameplay though. The problem is still there even after applying the latest patch (see the Ubisoft website for ‘latest’ patches) so I guess, it was never fixed.

Ghost Recon is a tactical first person shooter, much like the other one game I reviewed (Rainbow Six) a couple months earlier: You are in charge of 3 teams and to complete a mission you need to finish at least 3 mission targets. Goals may include securing areas, bombing bridges or even capturing (and securing) people. The best part is that you make up the teams (this is different than the XBOX version): in some cases, however, the game will warn you that you ‘really should take a demo-expert’. Ghost Recon (as mentioned earlier) requires you to think ahead: in most scenarios a frontal approach will result in a ‘slaughter’ fest. This means that good positioning and a cautious approach are necessary so that you can map out where the threats are. Peel off the defenses one-by-one with your support and sniper teams and finish it off with your assault team(s). The AI is average to remarkably good: when things go bad, the AI will try to use grenades to stop your teams. AI will and can try to out-flank your teams, so be prepared and move your teams around swiftly.

This game is enjoyable and the missions (31 of them) are good and challenging (and replayable2): on my frustration level I’d rank it a 7. If you see it on the shelves at your local games store, go get it: you can’t go wrong for 20 dollars. I mean, the graphics aren’t spectacular and that but how many high-end games can you really play on your (already) outdated machine? Huh? Huh??

1This is a actually a new feature/fix in the 1.5 patch.
2 The game comes with a mission editor so that you can create your own missions too.
3 The game is now available as an ad-supported free download.

09/19/07: I forgot to mention that the Gold Edition comes with plenty of extras (as it appears tutorials and that): check the Extras directory on the appropriate disk.

04/18/09: Ghost Recon 1 runs excellent on Windows Vista 64: As long as you make sure you update to the 1.4 version.