Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars

Reviewed by Kyle Bell, Posted on 2011-04-13


Developer: Ubisoft Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: March 27, 2011 Available On: 3DS

What do you expect when you play a Ghost Recon game? Probably high-flying action, an over-the-top storyline, first-person shooting and... wait, this isn’t a first-person shooter? “Give me a refund!” you would probably say. Not so fast. Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars is a quality turn-based strategy game that focuses more on planning than it does on shooting.

The single-player story takes place in volatile former Soviet countries. Russia’s political system is in upheaval as its president is challenged by an ultranationalist member of Parliament. As a Ghost, it is your job to simmer the conflicts that are taking place in the region, aiding rebels when possible and thwarting attacks.

Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars is played on a grid with each square representing a move. Various unit types populate the levels, each having different weapons, abilities and movements per turn. Restrictions apply as well, such as walls and buildings, which consume double the number of spaces as regular terrain.

The game has six main classes to command, although some levels will have you select between a certain number of the characters. Gamers can control a commando, sniper, heavy gunner, medic, recon and engineer. The commando is a basic unit with decent range. Snipers obviously can fire long distances. The heavy gunner packs heat, but has limited maneuverability. The medic is literally a life saver but weak against enemies. Recon is used for stealth situations and the engineer can deploy a turret.

The combat in Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars is entertaining, but slow and methodical. If you do not have a lot of patience then this is not the type of game for you. A decent amount of planning is required to counter enemy movement and maximize your assets while minimizing weaknesses. The game does a good job of letting you know how many spaces you can go (light blue squares) and where you can attack enemies (green squares). Furthermore, you can click any enemy to see his weapon’s range.

Part of tactics is using the environment to your advantage. Elevation and cover play a significant role in this game. Bushes and trees, as well as walls and buildings act as cover in the game. The game gives an advantage to higher elevation and will deduct a percentage of damage if you are shooting at someone on a ridge. While these elements create a sense of realism, it can also be frustrating to face an opponent deeply entrenched.

As far as graphics go, Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars is hardly an exemplary product on the Nintendo 3DS. It features fairly basic cel-shading with 3D character models, although the level often appears flat due to the camera angle (which can be adjusted with the analog stick). The 3D effects are noticeable, although hardly worth actually turning on and wasting battery life. I find it easier to concentrate with the 3D turned off anyway.

While hardcore fans of the series will undoubtedly be confused or even dismayed to find out that Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars is not a shooter at all, I am pleased to say that it is one of the best games on the Nintendo 3DS to date. Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars is a solid turn-based strategy game that will keep you occupied for many hours. It’s definitely well worth the price of admission.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 6.5
Gameplay: 8.5
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 8.5
Final: 8 out of 10
Written by Kyle Bell Write a User Review

Reviewed by Kyle Bell