The Ghost Recon series has always been a firm favorite of mine since the first game in the franchise released, more years ago than I care to admit. The latest iteration is a side-step in the series, given it is on a handheld, in 3D and is a turn-based tactical strategy game. Let’s take a look….
Despite the title “Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars” bars little in common with the other titles in the franchise. Prior to looking into the game and eventually playing it, I – like others – had assumed this was going to be the first third person shooter on the Nintendo 3DS. I couldn’t have been more wrong, what we have here is an out and out turn-based strategy title, using the “Ghost Recon” branding.
Ubisoft were smart to take this route as there’s really no way one can compare this to the regular “Ghost Recon” titles. As the player you’re in charge of a squad of characters you move around the play area and shoot the bad guys to complete various missions. Despite how simple that may sound, there’s a lot of depth within. Ubisoft has done some sweet work here and the 3D is really well done. As turn-based titles go, “Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars” features all the usual factors: grid markers, range, line-of-fire, terrain use for cover, weapon range differentials and more.
The top 3D screen is where the action takes place and as with all 3DS games you can use the 3D slider to the level of 3D you’re comfortable with, from full depth to none. I set to full and looking down caverns and other environmental as[ects was really cool. Menus too appear in 3D at times, though most informational stuff appears on the non 3D screen at the bottom, thus out of the way of where the action is. As graphics go “Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars” is sweet and harkens back to games of tabletop miniatures mixed with something like “Syndicate” on the amiga. For those who never had the joy of that game for comparison, it just means an overhead view of the environment, in which you move your own force in grid like fashion before taking action.
The game is fairly in depth with a whopping 37 main missions to complete each featuring increasing difficulty / tactical issues as you continue forward. There are also ‘multiplayer’, though I use the term loosely given it’s a one DS deal of pass and play gaming, a very odd omission given the 3DS wireless capabilities.
Female Gamer Angle
It’s a pleasure to report “Ghost Recon” Shadow Wars” actually features some female soldiers (Hooyah!!). Saffron and Banshee are the 2 female characters in the squad of 6. On a negative note they’re the ‘Medic’ and ‘Recon’ characters respectively, so not the hard hitting ‘Commando’, ‘Gunner’ or ‘Sniper’ (the last class being ‘Engineer’ also a guy).
Saffron carries the medkit and a small sidearm, whilst Banshee is equipped with special cam and carbine as her main weapon. Regardless of once more being placed in the light combat roles, it’s still nice to see a couple of female ‘ghosts’ in the squad.
As far as launch titles for the 3DS go, “Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars” is a MUST check out for the non turn-based strategy fan and a must by for fans of the genre. The gameplay mechanic is set so that even a novice can jump in and play, thus making this a solid foray into the turn-based strategy genre for this franchise. Fans of the “Ghost Recon” brand though may be disappointed this title is such a huge leap away from what may be expected. Great 3D graphics, a nice system of gameplay and the fact you can pocket this and take it with you makes it a winner, perhaps not for everyone, but definitely one of the better 3DS launch titles thus far available. Nice one Ubisoft.