Release Date: 3/22/2011
For Fans Of: Ghost Recon, Turn Based Strategy, Squares
Available Exclusively On
The Good: Fun and full of action, each Ghost is unique, varied missions and maps, lengthy campaign, semi-decent story, and characters, decent 3D effects
The Bad: Extremely difficult even on easy, some missions drag on forever, not very deep customization wise, doesn’t deliver anything new to the genre, average graphics
When you think Tom Clancy or Ghost Recon you probably aren’t thinking turn based strategy. Ghost Recon takes the weirdest and most unlikely departure that is sure to become a disaster, but works well and culminates into a great little TBS game. This would be a great game whether it had the Ghost Recon name or not. Traditional fans of the series may cry foul or turn their nose up, but portable fans and turned based strategy fans will likely get hooked. Ghost Recon has never been known for deep or complex stories, and Shadow Wars is no exception. You play a squad of elite soldiers trying to stop a war between the Russians and Kazakhstan. Due to the lengthy campaign (a good 15 hours or so) you get an entertaining story that you actually want to see an ending to. While the characters aren’t very deep you do grow somewhat attached.
Of course, you want great tactical gameplay in a game like this and Shadow Wars delivers. While it may not be very deep it’s suspenseful and has various missions that will put you on edge some times. The enemies are just regular soldiers, but as the game moves along and you level up they get tougher, and eventually you get drones thrown at you which are pretty tough against anything but explosives. Each of the six Ghosts is completely different such as one who uses a mini-gun which is good for up close fire power, Haze is the sniper, Banshee uses a cloaking device so she is invisible to everything unless right next to an enemy. You will use each ghost and rely on their powers and abilities because each mission will require you to really choose wisely on how to move about the map.
Each Ghost can gain command points by killing enemies which then can be used for their special power. Duke and Banshee can use Rapid Strike which gives them one extra turn, or Haze can use Super Shot which pretty much is one hit kill sniper shot. Of course, their secondary weapons can be used this way too like grenades, or Duke’s portable missile launcher. Most maps have various command flags which you can capture to earn command points for the entire squad that can be used to give a Ghost another turn, give everyone a huge command point boost, or call in an airstrike on outdoor maps for devastating attacks. You can use cover like in the regular games that will reduce damage such as going in buildings or being next to obstacles. You also have attack range that will be reduced the farther the enemy is, but this isn’t anything new to TBS players and should fit right in.
While all this sounds deep it really isn’t. Sure on the field, you have to use your brain and decide how to move about the map wisely, because 99% of the time you’re greatly outnumbered and a dumb move can cost you the game. Each map is completely different, but most objectives tend to be the same. After a mission is complete you can distribute points to level up your Ghosts which gives them more health, further movement, and more damage. You can also equip weapons, but I was greatly disappointed in this because each Ghost only gets one other option for each category and I stuck with the first one through the whole game.
There are other problems with the game being a way to hard on anything but easy and even then you’ll fail missions a lot. Thankfully there’s a save feature, but towards the end, you’re greatly outnumbered by enemies that take forever to kill even if you’re at the highest level. I found this unfair and despite being intense by getting out with a hair of health left, it was exhausting because some levels dragged on forever. Despite these shortcomings, the campaign is varied and mixes things up a lot so this kind of help.
Don’t expect anything deep that you expect from most turn based strategy games, just come in expecting a lot of fun activities. The game is extremely tough and doesn’t offer a deep and really interesting story like most turn based strategy games do. The graphics are also nothing special even with decent 3D effects you’re not going to see anything that you haven’t seen in a portable TBS game. Shadow Wars is a great entry into the 3DS and will keep you busy for quite some time.