The Ghosts are back (again)
As the Xbox 360 draws closer and closer the words on most Clancy gamer's lips, are Ghost Recon 3: Advanced Warfighter, but until that day comes Ubisoft have released a stand alone game, which is more like an expansion to Ghost Recon 2.
In 2012 the country of Kazakhstan has fallen into chaos. The Kazakh president and Security Council were assassinated in an explosion set by a notorious Pakistani warlord and arms dealer named Aamir Rahil. With the President dead, the Kazakh military fractured into factions vying for political control of the country. Rahil quickly moved in and consolidated power using his corrupt Kazakh military contacts. A large group of soldiers loyal to the country of Kazakhstan has been working closely with U.N. ground forces to stabilize the region.
The Ghosts have been sent in to capture Rahil and neutralize his military presence. They are working closely with a contact in the Kazakh military named Grigoriy Koslov. Together the Ghosts and Koslov shadow the U.N. ground force's assaults against Rahil's troops and track him from the southern mountain ranges to the wastes of the arid badlands.
If it's not broke, don't fix it. The style of gameplay that was introduced with the previous game remains largely unchanged, this is more about telling further parts of the Ghost's story and adding a number of new missions to the mix, eleven in total.
There are a few new things of course to make this a worthy purchase and continue the quality name of the brand. The missions in this outing have been significantly redesigned and are now much more open-ended with multiple objectives and a non-linear route to their completion, allowing for more tactics and a greater degree of freedom.
It's also a harder game than the previous one, with some of the missions requiring a number of tries before you can complete them.
Additions to the game also include new snow environments which hamper visibility and provide a different set of challenges for the player, spotting snow-camo enemies against a white background becomes a vital skill, as they tend to be eagle-eye shots and very rarely miss.
There's also inclement weather, night time and sandstorms to contend with - each new mission has a distinct feel to it and the maps and design remain strong and well created keeping to the tradition of the previous title.
The Ghost's armoury has been increased, and an additional 15 new weapons are now up for you to master the use of, each one has a slightly different feel from the next and their handling characteristics mean that you should be able to pick a favourite - for me it has to still be the so-called Barret 'Light' Fifty sniper rifle, with brutal long range killing power and accuracy.
If the Singleplayer is the icing on the cake as far as Summit Strike is concerned, then the cherry on top comes as additional Multiplayer content. Ubisoft have reworked a lot of the Multiplayer elements and made tweaks to some old favourite maps so that the game has 24 maps, and even more game modes to play them on.
The new 24 maps have some reworked favourites from Ghost Recon 2 and make use of the new environments while there are a few additional modes alongside the already popular ones from the whole Ghost Recon series.
There's now a "Heli Hunt" mode where the players must work together to destroy waves of enemy helicopters that hunt them through the maps. An "Armour Strike" game where it's a race to mark and blow up the opposing team's armoured vehicles.
And if that's not enough there's the addition of new character skins, International Specialists and the Ghosts in Snow Camo. There are also a tonne of the Singleplayer skins to choose from for the Multiplayer portion of the game and of course the whole thing plays across LIVE, Split Screen and System Link as the previous title did.
Graphics and other elements
These are largely unchanged, a few tweaks here and there but the whole graphical, design, animation and audio elements of the game remain as strong as those in Ghost Recon 2 itself. It isn't really a ground breaking game/expansion but it does nicely tide us over until the unveiling of the third game, which will not only break the graphics barrier but it should will require us to shift around our review criteria a little, Ok, I am kidding there - or am I?
AI has been tweaked a lot more and both your squad and the enemy have a number of enhancements to their behaviour, certain enemies will be more aggressive and your team will often take down tangos without much support from you, their path-finding is also pretty good and they don't seem to get stuck at all now.
Yes. A big resounding 'Yes' to be honest, while it's harder than the previous title it certainly has enough new content to make it a worthwhile purchase if you liked the first game. The new weapons, content and environments continue the story and pave the way for the next instalment.
Most of the problems that plagued the previous game have been dealt with and the AI has been certainly sharpened, the whole experience plays about the same as Ghost Recon 2 however and the harder level of difficulty will put a few people off, but not the hardcore fans of the series.
The Save Anywhere feature: which I feel is a must for these types of games and saved my hide so many times in the previous game is still thankfully there and should save a few headaches and prevent flying 'joy-pad' syndrome.
There are new unlockables and a number of information videos you can buy with your unlock points, so there is certainly replay-ability but I do feel that more than a Singleplayer game Ghost Recon 2: Summit Strike will be a massive online hit.