The Ghost Recon moniker is a noble pedigree for a game to have, but Tom Clancy has been known to attach his name to complete garbage from time to time. So when we first approached Ghost Recon for the Wii, we were understandably skeptical. On one hand, we have the opportunity to play as Ghosts from the Tom Clancy world, which are some of the most over-the-top-super-action-hero types this side of Governor Schwarzenegger. On the other hand, there’s the Wii. The Wii has been known to render otherwise great franchises into pure mediocrity.
The first thing you have to know is that this isn’t your traditional Ghost Recon game. Gone are the days of epic FPS action - instead, you’re going to be playing a cover-based rail shooter, similar to Time Crisis. There’s nothing wrong with the rail shooter formula, especially on the Wii. Rail shooting with motion controls! When done well, it’s two great tastes that taste great together. Such is not the case here. There are a variety of ways this game fails and few where it succeeds. Let’s start with the bad stuff.
The hit detection is crap, for one. There are going to be a lot of times in this game where you find yourself asking why an enemy soldier didn’t die when you shot him in the head. It’s because the game decided you actually just shot him in the neck, which is an apparently non-fatal wound. Suck on that, medical science. The reticule on your weapons is very, very small - which we understand. A bullet is a small object. But the hit-boxes are absolutely teeny, with no grace area, meaning you’re going to have to get a tripod set up on your Wii Remote if you want to headshot with any consistency. Or just hold on the trigger until you get lucky enough to have a bullet or two peg someone. The longer you stay out of cover and shoot, the more damage you take, and if one of the characters dies, you both have to restart from your last checkpoint. And you will die. A lot.
Above: Misery loves company
This game doesn’t run by a standard “shoot accurately and then duck” model, like Time crisis. In that sort of situation, your success is skill-based. The game hinges on memory and luck. Often times, you’re going to come across a group of enemies who fire in such an order that you only have one real sequence of moves you can make or else get perforated by about twenty pounds of lead. If you shoot soldier B instead of soldier A first, soldier A is going to huck a grenade right into your beanbags, and if you shoot soldier B instead of soldier C after that, you’re going to be catching shotgun slugs with your teeth. It’s impossible to tell the proper order beforehand, so unless you’re lucky enough to guess who needs to die first, you’re basically playing by trial and error. This isn’t going to happen in every zone, but it happens often enough that you’re going to lose a lot of your precious time restarting at the last checkpoint. Playing with a friend only compounds the frustration in the room, as you have two people yelling instead of one.
Using the Wii Zapper does tend to improve your accuracy a bit, but it suffers from the same problem every Wii Zapper game does, in which the peripheral required is clunky, unintuitive, and allows for no button customization.
The arcade mode is tacked on. It’s portions of the campaign copied verbatim except now you get points based on how many enemies you kill. This mode has one advantage, in that if you die, you just respawn right where you fell. It negatively impacts your score, but the only purpose of the score is to upload it to the online leaderboards, which aside from being really lame is also the only online functionality the game offers.
Ghost Recon also happens to look like a PS2 game. Not a newer one, either. The graphics are roughly comparable to Timesplitters, or the first SOCOM. It doesn’t even look good for a Wii game. The texturing is bland and rough-looking throughout, and the facial animation is so terrible it would make a botox-riddled cow seem expressive by comparison. The scenes in which we see any faces are mercifully short, however, before your characters once again don their ski-masks, which everyone is now apparently required to wear in Russia.
Above: It really does look this bad
Despite all of our gripes, there are moments in this game that are pretty neat. Controlling the Gatling gun on a heavily armored assault drone while your partner controls the rocket launcher on that same drone? Awesome. Sneaking side-by-side with silenced pistols to headshot a group of enemies before they can raise an alarm? Righteous. But these moments are too few and too far between. You have to put up with hours of hum-drum cover shooting, terrible voice-acting and infuriating, almost endless deaths and restarts to get to anything worth playing. If you’re really craving a cover-based shooter, take the fifty bucks this game would cost you, head to the arcade, and play some Time Crisis, or Ghost Squad. There’s no good reason to have this game in your home.
Dec 3, 2010