Now the initial hype has settled, and masses have had time to raise their concerns once more about little “James” feeling nauseous after playing with his new 3DS, because he is either too young to experience any form of stimulation, or can’t read the plentiful warnings on the product that states “play no longer than 30 mins” and no under 7’s allowed, I thought I would take the time to give you a review of another launch title that we picked up; Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars.
Having bought and hated all the previous Ghost Recon’s and associated spin-offs, I was hoping that this game would be more akin to Advance Wars than anything Ubisoft previously spat out from the series, and thankfully, this is the case. Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear started my Clancy love affair, however Recon and Hawx have never failed to disappoint with their hollow stories, poor controls and soul less game play. Moving into a new top down perspective, and adopting a turned based approach, Ubisoft have actually managed to provide a very entertaining and perfectly suited tactical fighter, that will no doubt keep the bankers happy for at least another 3-5 years with many a sequel to follow.
Taking control of The Ghosts (Imaginatively named), you will collect a small troop of socially handicapped individuals, capable of only conversing in broken Rambo-english (Rambonglish). Desperately trying to create a reason for them to kill the steady stream of enemies within each set piece, and interspersed snippets of attempted camaraderie, the dialogue is terrible, and story bland, making the inter-mission side notes tiresome, because you’ve seen this film a million times before, and already know how this is going to end.
What Ubisoft has managed to pull off is brilliant gameplay, and its ease of access. One of my biggest gripes about some of the DS and PSP titles is that they were not portable games that I could play between stops on a tube, bus, or train journey, but instead took a couple of hours to get through, making them relatively unplayed. Shadow Wars gets the timing down to a tea, letting you quickly jump in and out, and even leaving in sleep mode doesn’t appear to destroy the 3DS’ already poor battery life. That’s not to say that the game is short, having clocked well over 12 hours and only just getting through the campaign, multiplayer and elite difficulties still await. The levels are good, but the 3D adds nothing really to the experience, what is surprising though is the amount of interactivity with your environment. Bushes, buildings, elevation and each individual’s skills will all play a role in your success, or failure for each and every map, providing tactical advantage for those able to notice it even exists.
Snipers, soldiers, heavies, ghosts, engineers and medics will join your squad and should be used in accordance with their technical abilities if you are to succeed, and fortunately the game will spell this out for you from the first mission.
Multiplayer is restricted to local play only, with you forced to hand the console to your friend sat next to you, rather than sharing a networked session with anyone across the world. This is massively disappointing given the depth of gameplay, and seamless nature of Super Street Fighter IV 3DS’ online abilities, demonstrating that the machine and Nintendo’s infrastructure can deliver portable, global multiplayer.
Overall, if Ubisoft could remove the story from Ghost Wars 2, and made all the characters mutes, you will not have lost anything from the experience. Online multiplayer is a must for the future, but will not be a problem when you are stuck on the number 32 trying to get home. This is a must buy if you have already gone out and bought a 3DS, and will keep you entertained for many hours. That is if you can drag yourself away from the seriously addictive AR games that come with the console.