You know when you're in the mood for playing a game, but you don't want to put in any effort? You just want to lazily blast enemies in the face - ones that run blindly towards you despite the fact you're holding a rocket launcher and they're grasping a penknife. Well, when you're in one of those moods, forget Ghost Recon 2. This is a massively accomplished shooter but it's as rock hard and serious as they get.
Picture the scene. You're inching through the forest at night, your objective to plant explosives on an enemy bridge and destroy it. You're moving through the grass stealthily. Then suddenly, fffttttppp. Donk. You're dead. It happens frequently in this game. If it's not a well-aimed headshot it's an unseen grenade. Frustrating? Occasionally. But Ghost Recon 2 never feels unfair. Every time you get killed you really should have seen them first.
Although it remains hugely realistic and immersive, this Xbox sequel is less hardcore than the first game. Waypoints no longer have to be set - instead just the one team is under your control and the game borrows the context sensitive pointing and commanding of Rainbow Six 3.
Those aren't the biggest changes though as Ghost Recon 2's visuals are ten times better than the bland, foggy landscapes of the first game, also it's packed with loads of modes on top of the single player campaign. Lone Wolf is particularly good, giving you the chance to blast your way through the single player alone with a clever futuristic camera gun that you can hold to view around corners. Then there are some traditionally online style games you can play against the AI.
It's a massive game and one that'll have you hooked - and that's before you've kicked up Xbox Live - just as long as you don't mind being capped everytime you get sloppy. It's just Tom Clancy's idea of tough love.
Ghost Recon 2 will be released for Xbox and PS2 on 26 November with PC and Gamecube versions to follow in spring 2005