Ghost Squad Wii Review
If there was one genre that initially sprang to mind right after Nintendo revealed the Wii, it was the on-rails arcade shooter. In fact, due to me staying up till 5AM that night to follow the exciting announcement, on-rails shooting was just about all I could fathom due to been so sleep deprived. However, it seems most dreary-eyed developers did not follow my line of thought as it has taken well over a year for the games in said genre to arrive. But now they have arrived in droves, with three ‘light-gun’ style shooters hitting over the course of the last few weeks. Because of this, even in this early stage of the genre’s birth on the console, a title has to put forth a rather good effort to get noticed. Thankfully, even though Ghost Squad is a game showing the age of its arcade roots, it manages to impress.
As you are not given the option to duck behind cover (like Time Crisis), Ghost Squad plays more akin to an exercise in testing your reaction speed, rather than offering you any tactical choices. In fact, you almost don’t have to think about reloading (which is done by moving the Wiimote pointer off screen) at most points during the game, as most guns hold so much ammo. Nevertheless, the three main missions on show are still interesting, and although each of them could be considered short, they all have multiple routes to chose from, so you will have to play through numerous times to see everything. To help keep you motivated to play through them over and over again the different routes ask varied things of you. You could be tasked with disarming a bomb if you go one direction, defending yourself against a knife attack (done by tapping A as you point at the right place on the screen) if you go another, or even rescuing a few hostages (although it seems the game does not penalise you for mercilessly gunning them down).
Along with this you can also gain access to different items the more you play the game, with different features being unlocked as you play though the sixteen difficulty levels of each mission. Predominantly these unlockables are new guns, but also extra pop up along the way too. Also, each of the routes mentioned above offer a different ebb and flow than the last so there really is more to the game than it initially seems. But still, regardless of which route you take all of them will lead to a showdown with an end level boss when each mission reaches its conclusion. Each of these bosses has a slightly different feel to them compared to the rest of the game. You are either given a special weapon to take them, tasked with taking him down with one shot, or timed as you knock down their life bar.
For the most part Ghost Squad’s success hinges on the fact that it does not take itself too seriously. This is made evident right from the opening seconds of the very first mission where you told “leave no trace”, yet seconds afterwards you waltz into action with your semi automatic Wiimote aimed, unnecessarily loud firearm in hand and you begin to shoot seven shades out of anything that moves. If that’s not enough then you can make waste of inanimate things, blowing up poor defenceless fruit, crates, furniture, sofas and chairs just for the fun of it. Then as you march forward you can even make helicopters and jet skis your fodder. The reason that it’s so entertaining is because Ghost Squad has hit the nail right on the head, and ticked all the boxes of what make a fun light-gun shooter. Thus meaning there’s loads of excitement to be had even if you don’t make use of the Wii Zapper peripheral, although it is highly recommended (unlike Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles) to get the best out of the game.
However, in the end – regardless of its quality – it is hard to recommend Ghost Squad due to the fact you can finish the main campaign in about 30 minutes. However, SEGA have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at the game to increase the lifespan. So, if you are the perfectionist type then you will be playing Ghost Squad for weeks, unlocking all the weapons, items and weird bikini clad models the game offers. Even so, it would still be very hard to throw down the £30 asking price for the game without feeling some kind of buyer’s remorse.