Ghost Recon: Shadows Wars Review

Posted: June 29, 2011 in Review
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Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars

Gung-ho action franchise Ghost Recon isn’t the most obvious series to try and turn into a turn-based strategy game. It isn’t even the obvious candidate for a launch day game on a 3D system. In spite of those challenges, Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars turns out to be a surprise treat.

You take command of a team of (up to six) Ghost Recon commandos, each of which has a different weapon, secondary weapon, different armour and a different field of movement. Shadow Wars manages to avoid the usual rock-paper-scissors combat of strategy games by its clever use of squares. The battlefield is divided into squares of movement, with cover and height advantage playing an important role in deciding where to stand for your attacks. Another factor is your weapon, as each has a different range and some have splash damage that can play to your advantage – for instance, chucking a grenade causes damage to a group standing close together, while the knife will instant kill someone who is one square away.

The squad themselves are a nicely rounded bunch and their abilities make a difference in your approach to mission. There’s the all-rounder, medic, heavy weapons guy, sniper, invisible scout and engineer. Each successful mission allows you a maximum of two upgrades for each character (up to level twenty five), though it’s up to you which squaddies have priority.

Each time you complete a mission, you unlock either a bonus ‘challenge’ map or a multiplayer campaign. The two-player sections can be a little odd (you take it in turns using the 3DS, like the old Battleship board game), but the challenges are excellent. Set on the same maps as the missions, the challenges see you either racing against time to complete an objective, holding out against a superior force or simply trying to escape without losing a squad member. They’re fast, fun, hard and addictive.

As a strategy game, Shadow Wars may disappoint any that coming looking for more tactical gameplay – after all, Advance Wars is more in-depth than this one. However, it will probably have a wider appeal than any other strategy title simply because this game is far more accessible.

The story might be a forgettable excuse to have six Americans waging war against the entire Russian army and the final missions get bogged down in throwing hateful, too-hard robot enemies at you, but up until then the game is solid, enjoyable and extremely good fun. As a 3D strategy title, it doesn’t make that much use of the software – aside from really looking down into the playing field – but, then again, it’s good to see a game that places more value on being good than shoehorning in a silly way to play.

Shadow Wars is an enjoyable little game with plenty to do and even more to unlock. With three difficulties for each mission and a storyline lasting roughly ten hours, as well as a host of extra bonus challenges on the side, Shadow Wars comes highly recommended.



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