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Ghost Recon 2 Preview

publisher: Ubisoft
developer: Red Storm Entertainment
genre: Action

ESRB rating: T

release date: Cancelled
» All About Ghost Recon 2 on ActionTrip

September 08, 2004
Branka "Nikerym" Todorovic

Your kill is as good as mine.

North Korea is on the brink of famine. The government secretly diverts humanitarian aid to military storage, slowly increasing the power and influence of a corrupt general. The new Chinese regime decides to stop selling armaments to Korea due to the suspicion that Korea is amassing huge amounts of weaponry. In response to this, Korea forms a secret alliance with Russia.

The situation in the country keeps getting worse; the peasantly peasants revolt, the rebelling rebels rebel. (Have you ever noticed how when you repeat a word many times it loses all sense?) The general takes over all control in Korea and accuses China of provoking famine in Korea. His troops move north, trying to occupy surrounding Chinese territories with silent support of his new ally. China is afraid of an open conflict with Russia, and a possible nuclear strike, so it allows international forces to secure the Sino-Korean border. Unofficially, it mostly relies on Ghosts and other special units who fly in to eliminate the North Korean threat and the blasted meddling general.

This can mean only one thing. Ghost Recon 2.

Watch it! Friendly fire is on...

1998 was an exceptional year for PC action games. Half-Life introduced an entire new dimension to first-person shooters, and Rainbow Six presented the best combination of tactics and action to date. Instead of leading a single character, the player could now perform complex tactical operations with an entire squad of CTs. The game was highly realistic and far from simple running and gunning. Red Storm applied this successful formula to Ghost Recon, taking and enhancing the realistic game play from Rainbow Six and setting it in outdoor surroundings, which brought the game to a new, higher level. So, Ubisoft announced the new sequel to the Ghost Recon series, and there was much rejoicing. (Yaaay!)

Now, about the game. The new Ghost Recon features 15 missions in all, and the guys at Red Storm swear that the plot will be a bit more complex. All the missions will be a lot more dynamic, and the goals are likely to change within the mission. In the first mission, the British SAS will be sent to clear an airfield and you will have to assist them in this endeavor. At some point during the mission, a sniper will appear and start taking down one SAS operative after another and you will have to find the sniper and "pacify" him. (Warm milk and cookies works for me. However, your results may vary. - Ed.) And you will have to do this with tanks setting off exploding shells all around you. Not an easy task to accomplish. After all, what could you expect after finishing the original Ghost Recon?

You assume the role of Capt. Scott Mitchell, leading a small group of professionals against far greater enemy forces. In contrast to the original game, you can only lead one squad that consists of four operatives, including yourself. The developers abandoned the old concept of leading several teams, saying that it only made the player miss a huge part of the action. This was the only crucial element of the old game play that was abandoned, and the development team believes that this new concept together with the improved visuals and a better plot should retain all old fans of Ghost Recon and attract new ones. No more hiding in the bush; this time we charge to a battlefield crammed with exploding bombs, plains that dropped them, and collapsing buildings.

The units within your team cannot be separated, but you will have an array of commands at your disposal; including: surround enemy positions, assail enemy positions, and other fun activities. Still, this doesn't mean you can issue ludicrous orders, as your team members (and enemies alike) instinctively work for the benefit of the entire team. If you issue no specific orders, they will do whatever seems appropriate (like look for cover if fired on). You can also choose only to designate a target, and your team members will react on their own discretion. This option has its downsides, as the AI seldom chooses the most subtle approach. You will occasionally receive assistance from the British SAS.

The development team worked hard on character personalization, so all of the characters now look more like real people and less like mannequins with guns. For each mission you can choose three of eight Ghost operatives, depending on the mission requirements. Each character has unique features and skills. For instance, Derek Parker is an artillery specialist using M8 and M320. Alicia Diaz, armed with M16 - M16SPR (Special Purpose Rifle) is a sniper, and Nick Salvatore, uses Mk 46 version M249 SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon), etc.

Maps have been scaled to a playable size (as players would easily tire and get bored on huge maps) and there are less barren areas than before.

Whatever you say, but death IS contagious!

One of the main improvements this installment of Ghost Recon has to bring is the new AI system. Enemy soldiers seemed to be less than intelligent in some situations, but on the other hand, they had a tendency to serve painfully precise headshots to your team members. And, as you may well know, lead has very low nutrition value. Red Storm decided to make amends for this and make bots act as real live people. Not only will they improve the personal AI of each bot; they will also introduce a team-level AI and operation-level AI, which would coordinate actions of teams during the operation.

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