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Tom Clancy | The House Next Door | Slant Magazine
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Tom Clancy (#110 of 6)

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands Gets a “New Assignment” from Ubisoft

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Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands Gets a “New Assignment” from Ubisoft

Ubisoft

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands Gets a “New Assignment” from Ubisoft

We sometimes like to think that studios listen to our pain. From our review of last year’s Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands: “The game is at its best when it’s focused on the minutia and gameplay of a scenario within the larger world it depicts: a showdown atop the middle of a dam; a bloody ascent through the winding scaffolding that surrounds a mausoleum that’s in the process of being completed; the tricky infiltration of a well-guarded cathedral. They say that freedom isn’t free, and the price of this open-world game is all the unmemorable filler that players must experience in order to enjoy such truly unforgettable encounters.”

Perhaps, then, the new major update for the game, which will be available on next-gen platforms and Windows PC tomorrow, will offer us not only more freedom than there is in dominos, but more impeccable sights to be hold.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands New DLC, Fallen Ghosts, Gets a Trailer

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Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands New DLC, Fallen Ghosts, Gets a Trailer

Ubisoft

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands New DLC, Fallen Ghosts, Gets a Trailer

We weren’t crazy about Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands. From Aaron Riccio’s review of the game:

In actuality, there are clear limitations on what players are allowed to do. The game’s regions are all accessible from the start, which makes it easy to jump into a co-op session if you dislike working with AI partners. Everything else is gated, which means that you can’t just track down El Sueno or the 16 buchons who’ve carved out Bolivia into a series of discrete territories. Instead, players must follow a scripted gameplay loop in order to identify and locate each target, tediously working their way up the cartel chain.

Today, Ubisoft announced that Fallen Ghosts, the game’s second expansion, is now available for season pass owners across all platforms. And given Ubisoft’s official description of the DLC (see below), perhaps some of our qualms with the game will be addressed.

A Game of Chicken in Uncanny Valley H.A.W.X. 2

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A Game of Chicken in Uncanny Valley: H.A.W.X. 2
A Game of Chicken in Uncanny Valley: H.A.W.X. 2

With either a terrorist plot of assassinating the president or the threat of global nuclear war being a daily occurrence, the Tom Clancy universe is ripe with military conflict. For that reason, I’ve always felt that the Tom Clancy franchise of video games always looked to attract those that never quite outgrew their “G.I. Joe phase.” Games under the Tom Clancy banner like the Splinter Cell or Ghost Recon series have always teetered on the line between banal insanity and credible plausibility when it comes to creating a war-torn virtual battlefield. That is, after all, their “thing.” They create experiences where a player feels like an army of one, effortlessly mowing down countless terrorists, in its somewhat plausible reality. This idea encompasses every aspect of the Tom Clancy games and H.A.W.X. 2 is no exception.

For those who aren’t familiar with the H.A.W.X. series, it’s the Tom Clancy universe’s take on the video game flight sim. Much like the other Tom Clancy games, the series’s last iteration was known for its arcade-like feel in a real-world setting. H.A.W.X. 2 follows very much the same formula: You choose from a plethora of fighter planes to accomplish certain tasks, which run the gambit from escort missions to bombing runs. While the game’s various backdrops and dog-fighting sequences look spectacular, playing these missions becomes quite monotonous. Some of the later, intelligence-gathering operations add a little variety to the mission selection, but there are far too many times in which the objective is to shoot down anything that makes the reticule on the screen turn red. And while the mission objectives might be lacking in variety, luckily the act of flying in H.A.W.X. 2 is quite exhilarating.

5 on 24

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The May 24 finale of the political-action series 24 marks the end of one of the most stylistically fresh and politically controversial programs in broadcast TV history. The video essay series “5 on 24” examines various aspects of the show, including its real-time structure, its depiction of torture, and the psychology of its hero, counterterrorist agent Jack Bauer.

 

 

 

 

 

For Matt and Aaron’s written musings on the show over at Moving Image Source, start here.

Ambitious Shadow Play Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction

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Ambitious Shadow Play: Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction
Ambitious Shadow Play: Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction

Admittedly, Ubisoft Montreal’s series of Splinter Cell games has never enticed me enough to be involved with them more than as a casual curiosity. There is a level of intimidation that is hard for a “gamey” gamer such as myself to get around; that is, the temptation to mess about and not take myself seriously during a game’s mimesis outweighs the gravity that my sometimes foolhardy actions will have on the structure of the mechanics themselves. And the Splinter Cell titles are made for the invested, not the curious. The success of main protagonist Sam Fisher, the gruff talking battle-wearied agent of the “Third Echelon,” a fictional black-ops branch of the U.S. National Security Agency, rests solely on your ability to engage with the games’ earnest shadow play, hiding from direct human contact and utilizing improbable spy tech with the utmost sincerity. Which isn’t to say that video games aren’t capable of being heavy or dramatic, but giving the player any semblance of freedom while simultaneously dictating a specific attitude they must possess carries with it some obvious challenges in design.

What interested me in Conviction and led me to play through the single-player story mode of this chiaroscuro sneak thriller was the marked stylistic shift from the slick black-suited trifocaled Fisher that dominated the earlier Splinter Cell titles to a more haggard and beaten-up character, preoccupied with the death of his daughter (a continuation of the story arc from the previous game, Double Agent) and forced to improvise more on location—in other words, a tad more flawed and human. Double Agent introduced a darker, grittier tone to Splinter Cell, but Conviction has solidified it, also bringing impressive production values that reinforce higher storytelling over spy-op gameplay catered solely to the hardcore.