|Ghost Recon: Island Thunder|
|Developer: Red Storm
Publisher: Ubi Soft
Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1-2 (1-16 System link/Xbox Live)
The Ghosts are back with a new campaign set in a fictional near-future post Fidel Castro Cuba. Island Thunder features 8 new missions in the solo or co-op game, and 12 dedicated maps for multiplayer battles (including 4 favourites from Ghost Recon). This is a standalone data disk so there are no real enhancements to the game mechanics or the graphics, but this is one of the most atmospheric games you'll ever play - so who's complaining?
For those of you who haven't yet played Ghost Recon, then in its basic form it's a one or two player (split screen or system link) first person combat sim that allows you to control two squads of three men. Want more? - Then multiplayer battles can consist of up to 16 men (system link or Xbox Live) with several different game types (mission, firefight, recon, defend, last man standing, search & rescue, hamburger hill etc…), so now you can see why Ghost Recon soon became one of the most popular of the early Xbox Live compatible games. You pick your squads, select their equipment and then try and get them all through the mission alive. Success allows you to upgrade the individual soldier's abilities (weapons, stealth, endurance and leadership) and a perfectly completed mission rewards you by adding a "super soldier" with enhanced abilities and experience to the platoon.
G.R.I.T. sends you on another series of varied missions; from search and rescue (for downed Marine unit) to guarding voters during a tense and lawless election. The brief is always the same - get in, get the job done and try and bring the entire squad home safe. When compared to the latest first person shooters the game can look and play a little on the basic side - the graphics (although atmospheric enough) are bland, and control is sluggish - and you can't even jump over the smallest obstacles. It's also a tough game to get into, and with its realistic treatment of gunshot wounds (even on the easiest "Recruit" setting) your squad can be wiped out and missions failed in an instant - hardcore is the word, and you'll either hate it or be completely hooked by the experience and want to try again (and again). It's an unforgiving game, but lives on its ability to immerse the player (or players) like few other combat sims.
G.R.I.T. could certainly have used some totally redesigned menus/selection screens as they're rather basic and sluggish to use, and just like the in-game controls take some getting used to, but if you're after an Xbox military shooter there are few better, and the £20 price tag makes it almost unmissable.
- Authentic, atmospheric, brilliant sound.
- Co-op, versus, split screen, system link, Xbox Live.
- It's less than 20 notes.
- Rather basic graphics and sluggish controls.