Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars review: This Nintendo 3DS game is set to become a cult classic

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Ubisoft Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars
  • Ubisoft Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars
  • Ubisoft Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars

Pros

  • Stellar level design: This game is expertly made by a talented strategy veteran

Cons

  • We bought a 3DS -- this title could easily be on the DS, with little way of telling the differences

Bottom Line

After you get tired of how cute and awesome your 3D Nintendog puppy is, you'll come to Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars to play a real game.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 9 stores)

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The Nintendo 3DS already has a cult classic on its hands. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars seems destined to fly under the radar. It makes minimal use of any of the 3DS' unique features, so it may not strike people as quite as interesting as some of the other launch titles. This is unfortunate, however, because it's a rock-solid, turn-based game of tactical combat.

Read our Nintendo 3DS vs. Sony NGP (PSP 2) comparison.

The plot is pure Tom Clancy. There's a sinister Russian politician causing trouble in Kazakhstan to further his political ambitions (which in turn are a threat to US freedoms). Enter some soldiers that find themselves in the middle of desperate situation, and proceed to solve the problems by killing just about everything.

If you've ever played a Final Fantasy Tactics or Fire Emblem game, you know what you'll be getting out of this game. Individuals are arrayed on a grid-shaped map like playing pieces in an elaborate chess game. Each mission asks you to complete a number of objectives (usually involving shooting things). At the end of each mission you're rewarded with points to upgrade unit abilities and then it's on to the next mission.

Within that framework there's a lot of room for tactical thinking. Houses, fences and foliage provide varying degrees of cover, and taking the high ground will yield advantages over those beneath you. Each individual in the squad has his or her own speciality too. There's the medic, the heavy arms tank, the stealthy cloaked woman and the long-range sniper.

If it all sounds pretty standard, that's because it is. We have seen this kind of game before, and Ghost Recon doesn't rock the boat. Even the use of 3D is restrained, though it does make the game look better; when the slider is off the game looks like an early DS title.

There's no StreetPass, no gimmick with the cameras, and multiplayer is limited to a half-hearted hotseat mode. It's not to say Ghost Recon is limited. Far from it, there are a wealth of levels, and bonus maps to unlock, but for a 3DS game it seems limited the first time you boot it up.

But where Ghost Recon excels is in execution. The lead designer is Julian Gollop (the man behind X-COM and Rebelstar: Tactical Command), and you can tell it's been designed by a genre veteran — everything in this game reeks of experience and maturity. It's well-paced, the level design is spot on, music fits the bill perfectly and controls are clean.

Those that complain that the 3DS' launch library is uninspired have missed this game. It's original, cleaver and addictive. It's hard to recommend buying a whole console for, because it makes such little use of that console's technology, but if you already have one, then this should be high on your shopping list.

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Read more on these topics: Nintendo 3DS games, games, Nintendo 3DS

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