Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars: review

Ubisoft have supported the 3DS with a swathe of titles but unfortunately a lot of these games have disappointed, with most being poor ports of older games. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars on the other hand has been built from the ground up for Nintendo’s new console.  And with strategy veteran Julian Gollop of X-COM fame at the helm, things look very promising. So can Shadow Wars really deliver a killer app for the 3DS?

The simple answer is yes. This game is our favourite Nintendo 3DS launch title that we’ve played so far, and is well worth owning the console for. The game is a turn-based strategy affair, with your team taking on 37 varying missions. The Ghost Recon team you control consists of up to six combatants with unique skill sets. You have Duke, the commando of your team, who comes equipped with an assault rifle and shoulder mounted missile launcher. Haze is your sniper, who can choose between having a heavier rifle for extra stopping power, or a lighter rifle for extra mobility. He can also carry AP or EMP grenades. Richter, your heavy gunner, comes equipped with a minigun which causes extra damage, but limits his manoeuvrability.

You also have a medic called Saffron. She can heal each member of your team as well as herself. Banshee, the recon expert, is equipped with a Harry Potter inspired camouflage cloaking system that renders her invisible to all on the battlefield unless an enemy soldier is immediately adjacent to her. If this happens then she will be vulnerable to attack unless you quickly move her out of harms way. Mint makes up the final member of your squad and is an engineer, equipped with an assault rifle as his main weapon. He can also deploy a gun turret or a mobile drone to defend positions on the map. These defences can get damaged but Mint can repair them quite easily, as well as any vehicles.

The game awards PEC points and stars which you receive depending on objectives completeted and the difficulty level that was chosen. The stars are used to upgrade each individual member of your squad at the end of a mission. This awards better equipment and increases the characters’ combat effectiveness.

Your team can get into some pretty sticky situations

Each level involves your squad moving around the game world which is sectioned off into grids like a chess board. You click on each member of your team and the game shows you where you can move and any action you can take, for example, attack an enemy or capture an enemy emplacement. There are plenty of areas for cover that your team can exploit, such as buildings, that ease the damage of enemy fire. This really adds to the tactical element of the gameplay. The game uses simple cellshaded graphics and the 3D effect is used quite sparingly, but that is more to do with the overhead camera angle. It does make you feel more immersed in the battle though, as you watch your little warriors fighting it out.

In addition to the single player campaign there are also skirmish missions which involve various scenarios that your team find themselves in. These are a very pleasing diversion from the main game and are nice short missions compared to the more involved nature of those found in the campaign.

Your team has varying skills that all add to the tactical gameplay

During the campaign you’ll find that if you don’t pay attention and one of your team gets caught in a crossfire, then they will be in real trouble. If they die it’s game over, and you’ll need to start the mission from scratch which can take over an hour in some cases. The lack of checkpoints is frustrating, but it harks back to the good old days of games with a challenge, and the developers have to be applauded for not compromising by making death a simple inconvenience. This sense of dread adds extra tension to the game.

Shadow Wars also includes a multiplayer option, although sadly it is limited to the one system rather than via Wi-Fi or online, which limits its appeal. It can be quite good fun though as you pass the console over to let your friend take their turn.

While playing the game we had a few instances of the screen going black and a warning message telling us that if it happened a lot to contact Nintendo. We checked online and there was a lot of people complaining of the same problem. One solution to this was to turn off the Wi-Fi on the 3DS console. We tried this, and it appeared to fix the problem, but we do hope that Nintendo or Ubisoft releases a patch soon to stop this happening, as at first galnce it looked like our console had a serious problem.

Shadow Wars has a very generous 30 hour plus campaign

Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars is a terrific strategy game which has that ‘one more go’ addiction factor that makes it hard to put down. The levels are well designed and the game gradually introduces new members to your squad to avoid hitting you with a lot of complications early on, which might put off newcomers to the strategy genre. There are many hours of fun to be had in this game, with nearly 40 hours worth in the single player alone. If you love turn-based strategy games we’re sure you’ll love this one. If you’ve never played one before we urge you to give it a go as this is one of the 3DS’s top titles.

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Written by Kevin M

I’ve been addicted to gaming since my parents bought an Atari console way back in the 70’s. I progressed to the iconic Speccy, Amiga, and all the Playstation platforms. Having seen games evolve from single pixel bat and ball, to HD constructed environments, gaming has changed much from my early years. Having defeated the rock hard R-Type on the Speccy, the biggest challenge I’ve faced so far is putting up with the hordes of American teens spouting abuse in the current generation of consoles, noob indeed!

One comment

  1. half_empty80 /

    Great review. This really is one of the best launch titles and I love it

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