Sunday, 5 August 2012

Tom and Me - Part Two: Believe in Ghosts

While everyone moved onto the PS2, I was left behind. It would be some time before I would get one myself, but in the meantime, we upgraded our computer.

The first game I bought was Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon. Combining the tactical gameplay of Rainbow Six with more open warfare, this game – along with its two excellent expansions 
Desert Siege and Island Thunder – made a big impression.

I bought Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm on the PS2 sometime later and while it wasn’t up to the same standards as the PC games, it entertained, largely due to the headset that came with the game, allowing you to issue orders to your squad with voice commands.

Now the PlayStation 2 might have been selling bucket loads around this time, but it was the Xbox that was gaining ground as the most powerful console on the market. That is no excuse, however, for the difference in quality between Ghost Recon 2 on the Xbox and the version over on the PS2. The latter was pretty terrible. It did, however, introduce Captain Scott Mitchell and a third-person perspective to the series.

For the PS2 at least, we were back to first-person for Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, but that was eclipsed entirely by the same game on the new Xbox 360. It is difficult to quantify how important GRAW was to the 360. When the console was released we had PGR3 and Call of Duty 2 among a few others. They played and looked well, but it wasn’t the big step up we were all expecting. Then Advanced Warfighter came along and blew us away. Stunning graphics and terrific gameplay which – aside from a few glitches and a lot of screen tear – still holds up even now. GRAW set the ball rolling for the Xbox 360 in a big way.

Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 didn’t make any huge leaps, but it refined the mechanics of the previous game and was a joy to play.

Then everything went silent. Ghost Recon Future Soldier was set for a 2009 release, but was pushed back to 2010. It would be delayed twice more until it finally released in May 2012. Thankfully, it was worth the wait.

With brilliant stealth gameplay mechanics and graphically sharing some similarities with EA's Frostbite 2 engine, Ghost Recon Future Soldier came along at the perfect time for all those looking for a Call of Duty alternative.

The game garnered positive reviews and sold well, proving the market is still there for Tom Clancy flavoured gunplay.

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