Ghost Recon 2: Summit Strike
Holiday season ‘04 will never be forgotten. It was the
year of the high-budget sequels. Half-Life 2 for the PC, Metroid
Prime 2 for the GameCube, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for
the PlayStation 2 and Halo 2 for the Xbox were the main showstoppers.
It was truly gaming bliss. In the mix of all of this, the
long-awaited, highly-anticipated sequel to Ghost Recon arrived
-- Ghost Recon 2. Ghost Recon 2 left diehard fans of the series
heartbroken and disappointed. It wasn’t what they were
expecting, not even close. It wasn’t the tactical game
they knew and loved. Most thought it was too arcade-like.
Some, however, gladly accepted this new take on the series.
Well, here we are, almost a year later, and Ghost Recon 2’s
standalone expansion has finally been released -- Ghost Recon
2: Summit Strike. Summit Strike boasts new modes, maps, and
just about everything else you would find in your typical
full-fledged sequel. And get this; it’s attractively
priced at only thirty chips. Does it return to its roots as
a franchise as promised? Not entirely. It does have blood
though, so that’s something to applaud.
Ghost Recon 2: Summit Strike’s gameplay, in all honesty,
is almost identical to Ghost Recon 2’s. Nothing has
really changed. It’s still arcade-like, and it’s
still fast-paced. However, since this is an expansion pack,
and not a sequel, that’s perfectly fine. Plus, the single-player
campaign manages to stay fresh. You’ve got a deep and
well-presented story, fun yet tactical squad-based combat,
and everything else you’ve come to expect from a Tom
Clancy game. Everything feels extremely polished.
If you thought Ghost Recon 2 had a lot of multiplayer modes,
you’re in for a real treat with Ghost Recon 2: Summit
Strike. Summit Strike not only packs in the bountiful amount
of modes Ghost Recon 2 had, it adds two entirely new modes
for your enjoyment. I mean, if they would have just included
the original modes and added some new maps that would have
been completely kosher. But no, Ubisoft didn’t just
sit back and bank on an already reputable franchise; they
went to work and put in some real effort to create some distinctive
brand new modes. The two new modes are appropriately named
Helo Hunt and Armor Strike. Helo Hunt is a very entertaining
and amusing mode. You and your teammates must take out oodles
of enemy helicopters that are trying to kill you. It’s
a cooperative type mode, so there’s no actual winner,
it’s just good clean non-competitive fun. Each Ghost
has only one life, so be careful. Armor Strike is a mode where
you basically eliminate your opponents’ vehicles while
at the same time try to protect your own. These new modes
feel like offshoots from already established multiplayer modes,
but somehow, someway, Summit Strike once again manages to
keep things from being stale.
As mentioned before, Ghost Recon 2: Summit Strike promised
to return to its roots as a franchise. This is a promise they
haven’t completely kept. It’s by no means as hardcore
as the original or Island Thunder. However, this doesn’t
mean they flat-out lied when they made that bold statement.
Summit Strike will definitely please fans of the original
more than Ghost Recon 2. Reason being is because things feel
more tactical and less arcade-like. Do not get me wrong. Summit
Strike doesn’t play anything like the original; it just
does what it does exceedingly well. Ghost Recon 2 didn’t
know what it wanted to be. It wanted to be an arcade-style
shooter, yet it wouldn’t let go of some key things.
For example, its overall presentation felt a bit clunky, and
not as intuitive as it should have been. Summit Strike doesn’t
just embrace its new style of gameplay, it wholeheartedly
improves upon it.
The online in Ghost Recon 2: Summit Strike isn’t flawless,
but it’s a worthy upgrade from Ghost Recon 2. The addition
of the two new modes will definitely add replay value to an
already feature-packed game. The more sophisticated approach
will please fans of the original, as well as the gamers who
immensely enjoyed Ghost Recon 2. Group together all of this
with the fact that there’s barely any lag, and you’ve
got yourself a title people will be playing until the Xbox
360 comes out.
Ghost Recon 2’s single-player campaign, much like Delta
Force: Black Hawk Down’s, felt very scripted. Thankfully,
Summit strike is open-ended and plays like a fully developed
campaign. I’m not one to give spoilers, so I won’t
go into extreme detail when elaborating on the plot. As already
stated, Tom Clancy games certainly do not skimp when it comes
to the storyline. The president of Kazakhstan has just been
indirectly assassinated by a cutthroat terrorist from Pakistan
named Asad Rahil. Being the ruthless loser that he is, he
doesn’t stop there. He wants to put Kazakhstan in a
bind and take control of their government. This is where you
and your squad step in. You and your teammates are not here
to talk politics; you’re here to kick some behind.
Ghost Recon 2: Summit Strike’s single-player campaign
has a total of eleven missions. That’s pretty darn good
for an expansion pack. If you’ve played Ghost Recon
2, you should know what to expect as far as what you’ll
be doing, however, you’ll be in for a surprise when
you find out how non-linear the gameplay is. You’ve
got multiple objectives, numerous paths, and much, much more
in Summit Strike. Not only does all of this make Summit Strike
a great expansion pack, in all honesty it makes it a better
game. Yes, I said it. Ghost Recon 2: Summit Strike, as a whole,
is better than Ghost Recon 2. And since this is technically
just an expansion pack, that’s quite an accomplishment.
It’s not every day that you see expansion packs like
Ghost Recon 2: Summit Strike. It not only improves on its
predecessor, it quite frankly, demolishes it. The online isn’t
chock full of glitches like Ghost Recon 2; the single-player
campaign isn’t unbalanced; and pretty much everything
else has been improved upon as well. Overall, the gameplay
in Ghost Recon 2: Summit Strike is fantastic, outdoing Ghost
Recon 2 in nearly every aspect.