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Tom Clancy's 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.

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