GHOST RECONReviewed By: Rick Casteel
When I first downloaded the demo for the game I must admit I didn't get it. Intrigued by the idea of leading a team of highly trained combat personnel on military missions was tempting to me. The concept along with the generally glowing reviews I had read in the secular press made my decision to give it a try. Spending some time going through the “training” section of the game helped me see what I had missed during the demo.
The player commands a squad of six Special Forces soldiers calling themselves The Ghosts. This squad has been deployed to Eastern Europe where the story has set up the rise of new powers in Russia bent on restoring the old regime. The Ghost get assigned to peace keeping missions in The Republic of Georgia and as the player your job is to make sure they complete their missions and get out alive.
The game allows the player to command the squad in two manners. First through the command map interface you can call up a map of the mission site with objectives and team identified. From here the player can order movements and defensive or offensive postures. Alternatively and where you spend most of your time is moving from team to team in first person view navigating the area towards your objective. It's in this manner that you can best assess your environment, what is around you, what can be used for cover, where the enemy might be positioned and how to approach. This makes for some of the most intense game play I have encountered! I have found myself hunched over my keyboard having my sniper crawl in the direction of an unknown threat stopping every few feet to listen and examine every inch of my surrounding for evidence of the enemy. You will quickly learn how to save and restore as one of the elements of the game is attempting to see your enemy before he sees you. The game does provide a threat meter of sorts but provides only a general direction and imminence of hostility. This can be frustrating and may have many players calling “foul” as the AI of the game has the uncanny ability to pick you out of the bushes or grass without you even knowing there was a threat. I played a level 7 times before I found the snipers nest that was taking out my guys without my being able to locate it. But that's war and at least in a game I can restore!
From a Christian perspective one has to know where their conviction is regarding war and violence before playing this game. Unlike "SWAT 3", the objective is to take out the enemy, not subdue. Violence is realistic without being overdone. There is no adult material as defined in our ratings though there may be the odd profanity though I honestly don't recall a specific instance. So if you are looking for an excellent squad combat tactical sim, as said in 1 Timothy 1:18 "This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;"
Year of Release—2001
Positive—This game brings the most immersive experience I've enjoyed in a long time. I'm a computer programmer, and enjoy winding down at the end of the day by playing this game. The graphics are state of the art, the atmosphere (scenery and sounds) are incredible and tense, and the gameplay is terrific. The game is called “Ghost Recon” because you don't send your team in just firing at everything, but must use stealth. However, your team does have to kill the enemy to accomplish certain goals, so pacifists or sensitive people really shouldn't get this game. On the other hand, if you do believe in “Just War” or can leave politics behind (or just suspend disbelief) and just enjoy a strategic, immersive, very tense game, this one is great. One last point - the recently released patch improves the AI greatly. They can no longer “see” you long before you see them. Just be sure to crouch more and run less when approaching them! My Ratings: [5/5]
—Kerry Batts, age 42
Positive—Before playing any combat-sim a Christian must decide for himself what his position is on real-world warfare. I have done this, and this is how I judge what games I will play. I have played various popular shooter games like “Quake”, "Unreal Tournament", "Half Life", "Delta Force", and "Rainbow Six", and have decided that too many of them are about nothing more than the brutal, gratuitous killing of our fellow man (or woman, which is even more distasteful, in my opinion.) Of course I enjoy the thrill and comradarie involved with such games, but I will not play games that do not have any justifiable warfare setting. By “justifiable” I mean fighting for freedom, stopping murderers and protecting the innocent and helpless, or something similar. In that category I place games like "Delta Force", "Rainbow Six", and now "Ghost Recon". In my opinion, “Ghost Recon” is hands-down the best of the bunch. The graphics and game play are top-notch, but what really separates it from the rest is the artificial intelligence (AI). I and my LAN partiers only play this at the highest level of difficulty, and this is where the AI really shines. The Bad Guys will run, duck, hide, take aim, and generally make life for the Good Guys very difficult. Compare this with the Baddies in "Delta Force", who mostly just run around in predictable and senseless patterns, or even worse, just stand there waiting to be eliminated. In “Ghost Recon” we the Good Guys have to carefully plan our movements and attacks, and must work as a team in order to successfully complete the missions. This makes the game less an arcade shoot-'em-up and more of a genuine sim/game than others, and yes it also makes it slower paced and more frustrating, but then that's why it's more realistic, challenging, and re-playable. If you like realistic, real-world combat sims, then don't rob yourself of the challenge of "Ghost Recon". Just be sure you have a video card (at least a Geforce2 GTS, Radeon, Voodoo5, etc) that can handle a current 3D game, or you just won't be able to fully appreciate a game like this. My Ratings: [3/5]
Neutral—The game itself is a very nicely done game. The graphics are good, the sounds are good, and there is nothing negative to be said about the game on a technical basis. There is of course no nude content for those who think that is offensive. As stated before, the game is about leading a small military force on different missions in East Europe. Not Northern europe as another one commented. Northern Europe consists of the countries Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, and none of those countries are being visited in the games. The missions are diverse, from rescue hostages from POW camps, to blow up bridges. The game is about violence, and killing people. But of course always about killing the right people. If you by mistake shoot a POW prisoner or a UN soldier the game is ended. Killing the “bad” guys is of course what this game is about, and very clearly. In every mission you have an insertion point where your soldiers start the mission, and a extraction point, where your soldiers have to go when the mission is completed. You do not have to go to the extraction point at all in the game… if you kill all “bad” guys on the map you automatically win. The more people you kill, the better. In most parts of the world you have to do military service, like it or not. The people in the game you kill, did not choose to become soldiers. If you have no problem with killing, and being christian, and no problem with killing more people than you have to in a military conflict, then buy this game. It is very well done. My Ratings: [2/5]
Positive—I completely agree with the reviewer's opinion of this game. If
you like tactical shooters, this one really is the new standard by which all the rest will be judged. There are not any “adult situations” in this game, nor is there any
profanity at all. While the game is violent (it takes place during a soviet revolution in Northern Europe) and realistic, there is nothing over the top. Unlike most First Person Shooters (FPS), the violence in Ghost Recon is put in the context of fighting against a corrupt, evil system (the Soviets) and for the safety and continuing freedom of all of Northern Europe. If you do not have any problems with war, when fought for just and legitimate reasons, you probably will not have a problem with this game.
However, if you hold a pacifist view, then you should probably steer clear of Ghost Recon. My Ratings: [5/5]
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.
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