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Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Predator


Another Ho-hum PSP Shooter...Sigh.
While the PSP is no stranger to a decent flow of first or third person shooters over the years, the control scheme has constantly plagued the device as the largest hurdle to overcome. The last of a second thumbstick has been the bane of the PSPís existence, especially in regards to attracting the core audience of the PS3. Ubisoft has made another attempt at releasing a shooter, this time from the Ghost Recon franchise. Tom Clancyís Ghost Recon Predator is light on the narrative compared to the production value of its console counterparts, but the mission briefings before entering each level and the general design of the presentation definitively translates well into the handheld version. The basic setup to the game is that you are part of an elite squad deployed to a tropical island in the Indian Ocean to investigate the murders of a group of Americans.

ghost recon predator shooting third person

This is partly a squad based shooter and a third person shooter. You have direct control over the direction of the squad during the game and can outfit them with different armor & weaponry before each mission starts. You can send them to different positions in the level as well as direct them to fire on specific enemies. Compared to a console release, itís pretty basic in design, but itís certainly effective based on the limited number of control options. Unfortunately, shooting doesnít have the same level of refinement, mostly due to the strange control scheme.

Once again, the lack of a second analog stick severely limits shooter controls. The developer uses the single stick to control both aiming and movement by swapping out the two with the X button. This means you canít move around fluidly while shooting, with the exception of strafing left or right with the triggers. Itís a dumb design that causes more problems than it solves. Add in the cover system and you have to start remembering button sequences to move in and out of cover / shooting mode over and over again. Itís also far too easy to accidentally push the X button and suddenly be thrust into the non-movement mode as well as staring at the ground / sky depending on your Y-axis settings. As much as I want to blame the developers, itís partly Sonyís fault for terrible PSP design.

ghost recon predator remote car explosive

However, I can blame the developers for the moronic A.I. that populates the game. They occasionally run for cover, but their typical brain dead reaction to the presence of an enemy force is to stand wide out in the open and shoot wildly. Hilariously, it takes so long to move in between shooting modes that this actually helps balance out the control problems ever so slightly. Still, thereís very little challenge to completing the single player campaign. You can bring a couple of your real life friends into the mix to play co-op with you during the entire campaign though. This allows you to solely focus on your own character rather than worry about the squad. However, there are no other multiplayer modes included in the game, online or local; severely limiting the replay value of the game.

Graphics

The visual engine in Ghost Recon Predator is definitely lacking in polish, specifically the lack of detail in the in-game environments and the pixilated character models. There are also collision detection issues when it comes to shooting enemies in cover, likely due to poorly created invisible walls. Character animations are also ridiculously outdated and lacking in modern animation. They also couldnít handle navigation around objects in the game giving the whole running in place impression a constant workout. Frankly, there were better looking games on the PSP two or three years ago compared to Predator.

ghost recon predator shooting bunker

Audio

The developer was able to nail the production value of the audio from the console releases complete with a great soundtrack and solid sound effects (assuming that you are using a set of excellent headphones). Otherwise, the sound effects like gunfire sound small and tinny through the PSP internal speaker. The voice acting is definitely passable, but nothing to get excited about. I wish they would have recruited a better group of voice actors for the handheld version, but thatís likely a budgeting issue.

Conclusion

One of the glaring problems with Tom Clancyís Ghost Recon Predator is that it becomes more taxing to play the longer that you are on the device; specifically due to the cramped, confusing feeling of the control scheme. Add in the idiotic artificial intelligence, collision detection issues and missing adversarial multiplayer modes to get a below average PSP shooter release that probably could have used another 3 to 6 months in development rather than being released just to hit the shopping season. Thereís little entertainment value to be found in this PSP release and you are much better served with picking up God of War: Ghost of Sparta as a holiday gift for your favorite PSP owner.



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