Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars

Ghost Recon is a series of games that has been going for many years now, one that I first stumbled across during the life of the original Xbox.  Back then it was a highly tactically based shooter with you placing way-points and guiding teams around maps. I loved it.  When the 360 arrived we were treated to a more arcadey approach to the Recon games, but they looked gorgeous and still stand up as being grade ‘A’ titles.  With the launch of the 3DS we are treated to a new outing for this game and also a new approach to how the game is played.  I must admit to being slightly sceptical from previews I saw; it looked a bit basic, but how would it play?

The story of the game, which is played out in cartoon panel style cut-scenes, tells of an Eastern European uprising which your team of ghosts is sent in to sort out.  Played out from a top down view, Shadow Wars is a turn based military strategy affair where you take turns to position and control your squad and then wait as the enemy takes their turn.  A gung ho approach simply does not work here, you have to plan out your movement before committing to your final decision.  Leave a soldier out in open space and they are open to attacks; move them in to water and they move slower.  A little planning can have your squad moving between cover and backing each other up.  At this point I should say that the 3D effect of the top screen adds a good bit of depth to the play screen; you really do feel that it is more advantageous to see the cover with depth rather than depicted as a flat block.  The 3D also helps to accurately show differences in heights of terrain, which is vital in situations where you are being shot at from up high. Height advantage can make it harder to get accurate shots in.

As you play through the first few levels of the game, you are introduced to different classes of soldiers for your squad.  You have the standard medic, sniper, engineer plus a commando, recon and gunner, all have different weapons and secondary weapons to use.  The power of your weapons is dictated by distance from enemies, type of weapon and even, height of terrain.  You can plan your shots for the most damage by using a useful grid that appears when you target an enemy, the grid also shows where you can move to, where cover is and can even show where the enemies can shoot you from.  The shots are based on a hit points system, with all the aforementioned criteria being part of how much damage your shots can do. There is also a return fire  rule of play where soldiers in the vicinity will return fire if fired upon.

The main campaign mode sees you moving through various objectives on the game maps, varying from outdoor to indoor scenarios. If you beat certain maps it then unlocks extra maps to play through in a skirmish mode.  Skirmish mode has set objectives to accomplish, mostly staying alive against huge odds, a process which I found quite tricky to get anywhere on I died so quickly.  There is also a multiplayer mode included but rather than download play or online, it is played by passing the 3DS between two people. This doesn’t make it a bad method, maybe just a missed opportunity.  That said, as I’m currently enjoying the single player campaign so much at this moment, I don’t really want to share the experience with anyone else.

Of course the 3DS like all DSs’ before it also has a touch screen, though in this instance it is the least used part of the game.  You can tap to check out stats and attributes on it, but it is easier just to use the D-pad and buttons to play the game.  I can’t help but feel that a little more time could have given the touch screen more purpose in the game, but it doesn’t take away a whole lot from an already good game.  It shows that to make an enjoyable game you don’t need to use all the tricks and gimmicks the 3DS offers, if you put solid gameplay first, the end results are obvious to see.







2 responses to “Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars”

  1. Tim avatar

    Nice review – I am toying with the idea of a 3DS but I am concerned I won’t get the use out of it – my son has a DSi and as soon as he sees the 3DS I will lose it!

    Do you guys think that Nintendo will release more mature games for this platform?

  2. Martin avatar

    This isn’t necessarily a mature game, although I’m
    sure it won’t appeal to the masses, shame because it’s very good.
    I think when developers have found the 3DS’ qualities, more mature titles may sit well on it. As long as they stay away from the gimmicks.

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