Game Rant's Riley Little reviews Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars
With a very limited launch lineup, the Nintendo 3DS needs some games that make it worth investing in the new 3D system. Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars is one of Ubisoft's launch titles for the 3DS, and it's easily one of the better offerings currently available for the handheld. Unfortunately, one of the better offerings of a lackluster lineup doesn't make the the game a must-own by any means. Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars isn't a shooter like Ghost Recon game past, but is instead a turn-based strategy game that delivers a different but enjoyable experience.
The gameplay in GR: SW is similar to any other turn-based strategy game before it (i.e. Final Fantasy Tactics). You have a squad of Ghosts that each have different abilities and ways they can aid you as you attempt to defeat your enemy. The sniper can shoot guys from far away, the heavy machine gun guy deals out tons of damage, and the girl with the cloaking cape can only be shot at point-blank. The different classes add a nice layer of strategy to the game, and the way each class is handled or placed on the battlefield can be the difference between winning and losing.
Ghost Recon on the 3DS is presented in a cel-shaded style reminiscent of Crackdown 2, but overall the graphics aren't that impressive and could be mistaken for a DS game. The 3D effects also do little to immerse players in the game, making them almost pointless. Some of the cutscenes and some of the gameplay benefit from the added depth in 3D, but you're missing out on very little if you just play with the 3D off. The Nintendo 3DS is capable of running a much better looking game than Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars, which is why it's such a shame that the game didn't make use of most of the technology available.
There are three different game modes in Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars. Campaign is the main mode and it offers a series of missions that will actually take quite quite a few hours to complete. I'm certainly not complaining about the abundance of time this game can consume, but the missions rarely seem to vary in terms of objective. Even the locations that each mission takes place in seems nearly identical, which can make for some very tedious gameplay. The campaign is still pretty fun, aside from the feeling that you are repeating the same mundane tasks over and over again.
The game's main story is pretty lame and uneventful, and it's only made worse by the generic cast of characters. The Ghosts, lead by Duke, have been sent to put an end to the madness being caused by a man who's trying to become the leader of Russia. The cutscenes that introduce the characters and progress the story are cartoony stills that express emotion by occasionally having one of the characters make a face. There are also no voice-overs, so don't expect anything revolutionary from the cut scenes you are forced to sit through.
Skirmish is Shadow Wars' second primary mode, and it's a pretty fun option for those who want to test their skills or continue to play after completing the main story. This mode offers missions with specific tasks to complete, usually with a unique twist. One mission pits a CPU team of snipers against your squad of gunners, while another may task you with keeping your squad alive by defeating waves and waves of enemies. Skirmish is a very fun and challenging feature, and it's one that I jumped to whenever I wanted something other than a lame campaign.
The final mode is multiplayer, and it's the biggest disappointment of the entire game. In Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars' multiplayer there is no need for the 3DS's Download Play option, or even another Nintendo 3DS, because multiplayer is played on a single handheld unit — those participating have to take turns passing the 3DS back and forth to each other. The multiplayer does work well, but it's a shame that Ubisoft didn't spend more time on the mode because nobody wants to pass their $250 3D handheld around like its a damn show and tell project. It's pretty funny that Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars flaunts that it's so futuristic, while simultaneously offering such a primitive multiplayer experience.
Ubisoft's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars is an enjoyable game that offers up hours upon hours of missions. The strategy aspect of this game is apparent the first time it's fired up, and you can be sure that it'll give you a decent challenge that will keep drawing you in time and time again. However, the game isn't even remotely impressive visually, the levels and mission structure can quickly become tedious, and it has the worst multiplayer option I've ever seen in a handheld game. There is enough content for Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars to warrant its $40 price tag, but you're better off saving your money for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.
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