Tech News on G4
3D Ghost Recon shoots from the hip
May 5, 2011
By John Powell - G4 Canada
The Ghosts are back. America's elite Special Forces unit is badder but not exactly bigger than ever in 'Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars'.
In their first outing on the Nintendo 3DS system, the elite strike force may have been shrunk down but what they lost in size they have gained in intricate gameplay. You may have played many a top-down tactical offering before but nothing quite like this.
The 'Shadow Wars' of the title is the kind of conflict that's the Ghosts' specialty. Get in, quietly. Fix things, quietly and get the heck out, quietly. As Russia prepares for a national election and a megalomaniac attempts to build a new empire bent on re-igniting the Cold War, the Ghost are called in with orders to stabilize the situation and completely shatter his support base. To do so, the Ghosts must combine each of their specialized talents to overcome the foes and obstacles in their way.
For a portable hand-held title, 'Shadow Wars' is unusually detailed. Presented with a variety of tactical scenarios introduced by storyline cut-scenes, it is up to the player to move and command the Ghost troops to complete mission objectives in a selection of locales, settings. Each squad member has abilities, weapons and equipment specific to them. The goal is to use all of those as effectively and prudently as possible.
You not only have to juggle your crew and their specific skill sets but the environment also plays a crucial role. Taking up a position inside a dwelling or kneeling behind a tree, which mitigates damage, can be the difference between pressing forward or sending your team home in body bags. Moving through low ground or sniping from the high ground can give you bonuses or penalties depending upon the terrain around you.
The most principal distinction between 'Shadow Wars' and other turn-based strategy games like 'Advance Wars' is the support fire and return fire system. Any time a character survives an unprompted attack due to movement, they will return fire. Also, if a number of characters are centered on one target, they will defend each other with support fire so they cannot be outflanked.
The 3D element is like the icing on the cake or in this case, the armour-piercing casings on your rounds. With smoke wafting over the grassy plains or the jagged canyons cutting through the battlefield, 'Shadow Wars' is easy on the eyes, although the 3D doesn't alter the actual gameplay in any way. It is just there for effect.
The 'Shadow Wars' missions are not all repetitive team deathmatch type strategic battles either. You will be required to blow up downed helicopters, chase down and bazooka anti-aircraft guns and assassinate enemy bosses before they flee the map, etc. It is this range of missions and the skirmish missions against the computer AI and multiplayer battles that set 'Shadow Wars' apart from other turn-based strategy games. 'Shadow Wars' may not be the Ghost Recon experience fans are used to but it is a welcome and alternative addition to the growing 3DS library.
Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars
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