Ghost Squad Wii
Published by: SEGA
Developed by: SEGA AM2
Release Date: Out Now
It’s quite possible that someone who was browsing their game store shelves in the search for a Wii game would come across Ghost Squad and from the cover assume that it’s some kind of Ghost Recon game. Whilst you could argue that there are some similarities, in truth the games are very different. Ghost Squad is a pure arcade-style, light gun shooter. The storyline is paper-thin and simply used to set the scene; there are only a few missions and it’s possible to play through them all in a very short amount of time (although you won’t see all that the game has to offer by simply playing through the missions once). In fact if you were hoping for a Ghost Recon type game you’re probably going to be disappointed. However, if you’re looking for a classic arcade-style shooter you’re going to enjoy what Ghost Squad has to offer.
The Global Humanitarian Operation & Special Tactics (GHOST) Squad was assembled by the United Nations. The primary function of the GHOST Squad is to deal with sensitive missions (such as hostage situations etc.). In Ghost Squad you’ll have to deal with a group of terrorists known as the Indigo Wolves. The game’s missions have you rescuing the President and the head of military enterprise whom the Indigo Wolves have captured. You’ll play as one of the two soldiers that make up the Alpha Unit which spearheads the GHOST Squad missions.
Ghost Squad has three modes: Arcade, Party and Training. Arcade is the heart of the game and can be played as either a single-player or multiplayer experience. Surprisingly the Arcade mode only contains three missions and it’s possible to complete all of these missions in less than an hour (dependent on the difficulty level you’re playing on of course). When you first play the Arcade mode you’ll have to create a profile and this is used to keep track of your performance in the mode. Initially you’ll only be able to choose between two costumes for your character and whether to use an aim reticle (by default the reticle is turned off). As you play through Arcade mode your character will gain experience. As your character levels-up you’ll gain access to other weapons and costumes.
At first it’s rather disappointing that the Arcade mode only has three missions to play through but there is some depth and replay value here. Each of the game’s missions has branching pathways and you’ll have to play through each mission several times before you’ve seen all of the action from every angle. At certain points in a mission you’re given a choice to make. You get to choose whether to rescue the hostages or whether to defuse a bomb, for instance. Sometimes you get to choose whether to be part of the main attack or whether to take a less direct route. Sometimes the choice you take can have an effect on the length of the mission. It’s possible to complete the second mission really quickly if you take a certain route. In addition to your character levelling-up, the missions will also increase in level when you manage to complete them and defeat the final boss. When a mission level increases its conditions are altered to make things a little more challenging.
Arcade mode can be played as a two-player multiplayer game (which also adds to its replay value) but if you want up to four players to take part you’ll be pleased to learn that the Party and Training modes support four-player gaming. Party mode allows up to four players to play through the missions co-operatively. There are some surprises here with two hidden modes to unlock. One of these modes is Paradise mode. In Paradise mode the terrorists have been replaced with women in swimsuits and instead of the usual weapons you find both the GHOST Squad and your enemies have dolphin shaped water pistols. Training mode offers a couple of different shooting gallery games (which support up to four players) and a combat exercise (for single-player only). The Training mode is a mode that essentially allows you to practice shooting without the aim reticle. In fact you can’t enable it at all in Training mode. The game doesn’t support online play although you can upload your ranking to regional and worldwide leaderboards, if you wish.
Ghost Squad supports the use of the Wii Zapper but you can play the game just as well by simply using the Wii remote. I played the game using just the Wii remote and found the controls both intuitive and accurate. Aiming is simply a case of pointing the remote at the enemy of your choice. As this is a light gun shooter that’s an on-rails experience, you have no control over your character’s movement. Your character will move when all enemies in a certain location have been removed (or you’ve failed or succeeded at a particular objective). You also have no control over the camera which means that you don’t have to contend with any awkward camera angles. By default you’ll use the B button to fire and the A button to perform actions (you’ll have to do things such as restrain hostage victims and defuse bombs etc.). The directional pad is used to change your firing rate. To reload you simply perform an upward flick of the Wii remote.
Ghost Squad’s presentation is pretty much what you’d expect from a light gun game and thankfully it won’t give deaf gamers any problems. Graphically the game looks quite good but it’s hardly a game that pushes the Wii and it’s fair to say the game could have easily looked just as good on the last generation of consoles. Thankfully there are no performance issues with the frame rate and load times are impressive throughout. Ghost Squad does offer subtitles and as such is fine for deaf gamers. All of the comments from your commander are shown in text. All of the objectives are displayed in text. Any information that you need (such as the order in which the wires need to be cut on a bomb) is shown in text. All time limits are shown visually. All objectives are shown in text and you’ll never be unaware of what needs to be done. There are a few non-essential comments that aren’t subtitled but deaf gamers will be able to fully enjoy what Ghost Squad has to offer.
As long as you’re looking for an arcade, light gun style shooter, you’ll appreciate Ghost Squad for what it is. Some are going to point at the three missions on offer and argue that it’s simply not enough. In truth I would have liked to have seen more, but you have to consider that the missions are not completely linear affairs and it will take a while before you’ve seen everything each mission has to offer. As a single-player game it’s enjoyable but the lack of missions is really noticeable when you’re playing solo. It’s easier to forgive the lack of missions paying multiplayer and if you can find a few friends to join you in your fight against the Indigo Wolves, you’ll be in for a good time.