Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2
Platform: X-Box and PS2
Taiwan release: mid December
The annoying nuances that made Ghost Recon 1 one of the slowest and most boring tactical first-person shooters ever in the Tom Clancy line of console/PC games have thankfully been stamped out and the second game in the Ghost Recon series is, instead, a very playable and straightforward run-and-gun action game.
Like its predecessor, the story line remains heavily political. The Ghost Recon squad of elite commandos is tasked with operating in North Korea and must face off against the forces aligned with a North Korean general who has diverted humanitarian aid to the army and is hell bent on turning the entire Korean peninsular into a war zone.
The most immediate, and certainly noticeable change to the original format is that of perspective. While the original Ghost Recon was a strictly first-person affair, Ghost Recon 2 gives gamers the chance to play in third-person mode.
The pulled-back perspective offers players a greater line of sight and, needless to say, makes it a lot easy to control both their individual character and the squad. The manner in which orders are relayed has been stripped down to a bear minimum. Instead of fighting with the paddle to relay simple commands, general orders can be given at the touch of a single button.
The game's AI has also been improved. Enemy forces rarely, if ever, appear in the same place twice, squad member's spot and take out enemy troops as soon as they see them and, more importantly, they never obstruct the player's character.
Thanks to these basic, yet important improvements, Ghost Recon 2 is a genuinely enjoyable shooter that will appeal to any gamer with a passion for graphically pleasing fast paced, squad based true-to-life armchair gunplay.
Golden Eye: Rogue Agent
Publisher: EA Games
Platform: X-Box, PS2
Taiwan release: already available
The latest in a long line of EA produced 007 themed console games, Golden Eye: Rogue Agent is a dud from the off. It not only lacks the clout and entertainment value of its forerunners, but to make matters worse the storyline will leave fans of "Bond, James Bond" gagging.
As is to be expected from any EA game the graphics are faultless, but the game itself has a dreary plot and game play is laborious at best. To cap it all, the secret agent hero no longer works for her Majesty's Secret Service, but has instead become a rogue agent and is now in the pay of the bad guys.
Golden Eye's campaign mode spans eight missions and puts players in the role of the former good guy who, after being shot in the eye by Dr No now works for one-time arch enemy, Goldfinger. If not for the inclusion of a host of well-known Bond villains, who make cameo appearances throughout the game and add amusing twists to the weak plot, this is a game that would seriously not be worth playing.
Sid Meier's Pirates!
Platform: PC and X-Box
Taiwan release: late December
Sid Meier's has been responsible for some of the greatest and most absorbing computer games. Civilization was notable but the most groundbreaking of all his games was 1997's Pirates.
Now, seven years and several generations of computer graphic know-how later, Meier's has unleashed his second installment of Pirates and it is, without doubt, one of the most fascinating and absorbing strategy games to be released in a long time.