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The History of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon

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Nothing new here but I thought it was an interesting article which covers all the games in the GR series.

As it covers all the GR games I think this is the best forum to post it in, I didn't put the article in quotes as it's very long.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: A Retrospective

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon, released in 2001, broke the mold for first person shooters. Its penchant for squad-based, tactical gameplay punished the Rambo-like run'n'gun tactics embraced by its contemporaries (Unreal Tournament, Quake III) and challenged players to consider variables like terrain and line-of-sight when approaching the various missions it contained.

This brand new approach to the shooter genre literally changed the game and earned the franchise a legion of fans, many of whom still eagerly await the next iteration of the franchise. With Ghost Recon: Future Soldier just months away (it releases May 22nd), we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to look back at ten years in the trenches with Tom Clancy - as well as a quick look at what comes next.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon

Released in 2001, Ghost Recon was set in the (then) future - 2008. Fortunately, the grim tale of a return-to-form Russia didn't pan out exactly as the game portrayed, however it did allow the game to have a sense of urgency and it lent a feeling of importance to your actions. Could you lead a team of soldiers in a way that would prevent the foreign devils from ruining the world?


The intro for Ghost Recon sets the scene; I don't remember 2008 being this... blocky?

The game put you in charge of a team of up to six soldiers, separated into up to three different command groups. In effect, this meant that you could move your lads around the battlefield in various ways that would allow them to provide support for one another (moving a scout ahead to spot for your snipers, for example, or providing high-ground cover for a team that is moving in for covert operations).

Combat, as hinted at in the opening paragraph of this feature, was brutally punishing when approached in the wrong way. If you're hit, you'll probably die. Not only is there no room for charging into an area full of enemies, but simply popping your head up at the wrong time will likely-as-not lead to it being blown off. Careful, steady, thoughtful progression - with moments of twitch-based action - is the key to success here.

The experience afforded by the game - and its expansion packs, Desert Siege and Island Thunder - was unique and compelling, as you could play through each of the maps again and again - testing out different techniques as you attempted to complete each mission as perfectly as possible.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2

Despite the original game starting off on PC, only appearing on consoles later, the sequel - Ghost Recon 2 - was only released on consoles. There was a PC version planned, however it was scrapped just after the Gamecube version of the game was released - in 2005 - in order that the team could move on to the next game instead.

The gameplay was similar to the original game, however one of the most significant changes was the inclusion of "Lone Wolf" missions in which the player had to complete the objectives without any teammates.

Additionally, numerous changes were made to the character classes and the strategic elements were significantly pared-back - including the removal of squad selection and the ability to switch between different squad members while in the middle of a mission.


The intro for the PS2 and GCN version - the acting and soundtrack wouldn't be out of place in Team America: World Police

The campaigns on PS2 and Xbox were completely different, with the PS2 and Gamecube versions taking place in 2007 (and tying into the storyline of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory), while the Xbox version was actually a story-sequel to the PS2 / Gamecube version (!), set in 2011.

A stand-alone mission pack, Summit Strike, was released for the game - but only on Xbox.

The game was much better received on Xbox than it was on the other two platforms, with the Xbox version receiving an average of 80% on Metacritic, while the PS2 version achieved just 58% and the Gamecube version - which released months after the PS2 and Xbox versions - managed just 54%.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter

Often referred to simply as GRAW, Advanced Warfighter rebooted the series with a significant gameplay revamp and it marked the first appearance of the franchise on a (then) next-gen platform: the Xbox 360.

There were PS2 and Xbox versions of the game, too, however these were significantly different to the Xbox 360 and Windows versions. With many less features, including only one AI compatriot, the last-gen versions of the game were nowhere near as well received as the "real" version of the game (Xbox 360 / PC), with the PS2 version managing just 44% on Metacritic, while the Xbox version managed to scrape a more respectable 66%.


A pre-release trailer sets the scene for the technology-driven campaign

Set in 2013 (that's next year - they must have missed the news that the world ends this year), the story goes that there's some bad stuff going down in Mexico (OK so maybe they could see the future!) and that America's future-soldiers are needed.

This background of high-tech soldier gear created a solid framework into which the title's revised gameplay fitted seamlessly, with a host of virtual squad control options interwoven with the other functions of the futuristic heads-up display.

Rather than take direct control of squadmates, the player was able to issue them instructions - and using your squad wisely was key to success, even if the game was a bit dumbed-down over previous versions (you could survive multiple hits, for example).

Sam reviewed the (superior) Xbox 360 version of the game, rating it an excellent 9.3 - check out what he had to say about it...

"Great graphics alone don’t always make a game grab you, but GRAW has its bases covered in terms of atmosphere and, like a good action movie, should have your pulse racing and your backside fixed firmly to the edge of the seat throughout."

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2:

GRAW2 follows on immediately from the events of the first Advanced Warfighter, with the plot covering the next 72 hour period of the American military engagement in Mexico. Released in 2007, the game also follows in the series' footsteps by releasing on an entirely new set of platforms, ditching last-gen and adding the PS3 and PSP into the mix for the first time.

One of the biggest enhancements over the first Advanced Warfighter title was the improved AI. Not only did they react to in-game situations better than in the first game, they were also able to tell you about things going on in the battlefield in a much more realistic (and descriptive) manner, making statements like "behind the red car!" or "under the green roof!"


Despite the game's insistence on using strategy, this trailer seems to suggest it's about running around like a loon with a big gun

The title also brought back some of the squad selection functionality that was first removed in Ghost Recon 2, allowing players to strategize a bit more about how to approach each level. It also dialled up the realism a bit, by reducing the number of hits a player could sustain before dying.

The game generated some controversy in Mexico, where Héctor Murguía Lardizábal - Mayor of Ciudad Juárez - suggested that it was an attempt at scaring tourists away from his town. José Reyes, governor of Chihuahua, went even further, claiming that the game was an insult to the Mexican people and even ordered that authorities should seize copies of the game if they were made available for sale in his country.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars

A launch title for the Nintendo 3DS, Shadow Wars is a massive change in perspective - literally - for the franchise. Rather than the progressive removal of strategy that has been a theme in the main series, Shadow Wars is entirely about strategy.

Presented in top-down perspective, Shadow Wars is a turn-based strategy game - very similar, in fact, to the outstanding Advance Wars franchise on Nintendo handhelds or the excellent Field Commander on PSP.

Based on a grid, your goal is to guide your team of Ghosts through a series of perilous missions, utilizing their unique skills strategically in order to ensure their survival.


A trailer for Shadow Wars, featuring some much-deserved accolades for what was a surprisingly good game

That the game was extremely good should come as no surprise to people who are familiar with its lead designer - Julian Gallop. Never head of him? If you're a strategy fiend, you'll have heard of his games - X-Com: Enemy Unknown, for example, is regarded by many as the best game ever made. Seriously.

If you've got a 3DS, like strategy, and don't own this game - you owe it to yourself to set about remedying that as soon as possible. Even now, closing on a year after the system launched, with many excellent titles now available for the system, this launch title still stands up there with the very best of what's available on Nintendo's 3D handheld.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

The last title in the list isn't really part of it, as unlike the other games we've been talking about, Future Soldier isn't actually out yet. But it behooves us to at least mention the game, as it's literally what's next for the franchise - with a recently revised release date of May 22nd, at which point it will be hitting the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and - oddly, perhaps - the Nintendo DS.


Once again, ultra-nationalist Russians are at the pointy end of the narrative

Set in the "near future", the game chronicles a "world on the brink of war" narrative that spans locations across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. It's packed with futuristic weaponry, including robot drones and stealth suits - what's not to love?


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Good to see Desert Siege & Island Thunder got a mention, IGN recently did an article on the Clancy games, again called a history... I only scanned the first page but up to that point they'd already missed out DS, IT and R6 Black Arrow

Yeh, I've been putting together a similar summary with CR6, that misses absolutely nothing out, but it's taking a bit of time LOL.

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Rocky I would expect nothing less from you lol, can imagine it will take some time though :/

Hehe you know me, no half measures.

There is that and also a report on Ghost Recon Specialists that's on the back burner. So many ideas so little time heh.

Hope you are doing well these days. :yes:

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I know what you mean, many plans for XGZ but finding time for them is another matter :/

I'm good thanks, works going well, lots of travelling which is rather awesome and meant I finally got chance to visit the US before Christmas (off again this week), and got chance to meet up with BlackWidow9 as a result which was awesome :)

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