Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon franchise contains some of the best games the developer has rolled out. Aside from their successful Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry series, Ghost Recon is up there with those two. The series incorporates elements from other genres such as RTS, RPG, Arcade, and recently, open-world into their otherwise tactical shooters to create experimental wonders.
The franchise’s games are known to be grueling methodical shooters that still accommodate gamers’ desire for fast-paced action. However, the constantly changing formula of the franchise results in hit-or-miss success on Metacritic with every installment.
Updated January 13th, 2021, by Jack Pursey: When the PlayStation 2 was released in the year 2000, the improved hardware saw the gaming industry ditch the platforming mascots that had been dominating the genre for many years in favor of realistic action-games. One thing that Ubisoft can’t be criticized for is its shrewd adaptability, which was on full display as they left their limbless hero Rayman behind in favor of Ghost Recon, Splinter Cell, and the already established Rainbow Six series’. The Ghost Recon franchise has gone on to be a cornerstone of the action genre, so we have decided to open this list up to include every main series release in recognition of this.
15 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon (2010) – 46
Just because Tom Clancy‘s Ghost Recon has been a cornerstone of the action genre, doesn’t mean that the franchise hasn’t thrown up a few disasters along the way.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon (2010) was released on the Nintendo Wii and attempted to utilize the Wii’s motion controls to provide the most immersive Ghost Recon game yet. To be fair to Next Level Games, the motion controls were solid; but the game was let down by its repetitive gameplay and unintelligent A.I.
14 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Predator – 54
Released the same year as the aforementioned Nintendo Wii game, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Predator hit stores in October exclusively on the PSP. The game’s key selling point was that it allowed players to switch between any of the squad’s three soldiers.
Similar to the Wii game, Ghost Recon: Predator suffers from being too one-dimensional, with little emphasis on what makes the series so unique; its tactical and methodical gameplay. Another similarity is the lackluster A.I. which is more than enough of a reason for even the most die-hard Ghost Recon fan to skip this entry.
13 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint – 58
Ghost Recon Breakpoint is the latest game in the Ghost Recon franchise. Following the events of Wildlands, the story focuses on callsign Nomad. Together with what’s left of his team, he aims to take out opportunist Cole D. Walker– a former ghost who overrode Auroa’s advanced technology for his own abuses.
Aside from the open-world tactical shooter elements, the game also has RPG mechanics with different classes to choose from. Also, it has an Immersive Mode option that removes the hud and increases realism, bringing this game back to its tactical roots. Though it is fun, the direction the game wants to go to seems unclear. This earns it a low Metascore and a user score of only 2.5.
12 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands – 69
Ghost Recon Wildlands is the first open-world game in the franchise. This allows for various non-linear approaches to the story, and side content such as taking out convoys and enemy compounds. The game follows Nomad and his team of ghosts as they are deployed into Bolivia to dismantle the global-scale cocaine production, and to liberate the people.
The vast world, together with the tactical nature of the game, gives players heightened freedom that adds to the ghost experience. Given its Metascore with a user score of 6.3, it’s a huge leap from the previous entry on this list.
11 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm – 70
Released in 2004 on the PlayStation 2, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm is an expansion of the original Ghost Recon. The game is best remembered for offering online multiplayer for the first time in the series.
Jungle Storm‘s lackluster score predominantly comes from the fact that it was the final of three expansions to the game, and players were growing tired of waiting for Ghost Recon 2. Despite making only minimal changes from the other expansions, the game provided an enjoyable experience that will have greatly appealed to die-hard fans of the series.
10 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Phantoms – 70
Ghost Recon Phantoms is a fast-paced multiplayer game with some tactical elements. Similar to today’s Rainbow Six: Siege, the game features tons of variability with high-tech equipment and abilities in the game. From shields to intel grenades, to optic camo, this game has enough tools to create different sorts of strategies and plays.
There are three classes to choose from: assault, recon, and support, each with its own tools and usability. As fun and promising as the game is, Ubisoft, unfortunately, shut down game servers due to a steady decline in users. The user score for this game is 6.4.
9 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier – 71
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier takes place in 2024 where military gear has shown significant improvements. The plot follows the squad under the callsign ‘Hunter’ through a series of international missions to dismantle the system from within. Future Soldier features a third-person cover-to-cover mechanic for a tactical approach to engagements.
The game also gives the players futuristic tools such as intel grenades to tag enemies behind cover. The user score for Future Soldier however is just 5.1. Lower than some of the previous entries on this list.
8 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars – 77
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars released on the Nintendo 3DS in 2011 and compensated for the handheld console’s limited hardware by offering players a complete change of genre from the norm.
The change of genre was an ambitious but welcome choice, as the turn-based tactics game provided a solid XCOM-like experience. Shadow Wars certainly didn’t reach the heights of the XCOM franchise’s most critically acclaimed entries, but it did provide an enjoyable campaign with decent tactical gameplay that will appeal to fans of both the Ghost Recon series and turn-based tactics genre.
7 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon – 80
Developed in 2001, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon is the first Ghost Recon game ever made. This game is the most tactically unforgiving out of all the games in the franchise. A six-man squadron can be built from four available classes to choose from. Players have the ability to command their AI companions by tagging the path they should take.
They are also given the function to alternate between who to control; giving them the role of both an on-the-ground soldier and a commander. Ghost Recon incorporates RTS elements to a tactical shooter to create one solid formula that will soon be the heart of what the franchise is. That being said, the game has an admirable user score of 7.6.
6 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 2 – 80
Ghost Recon 2 is a console exclusive game that improves from the previous Ghost Recon. Having modified in some areas, it didn’t stray too far from its core mechanics. Releasing three years after the first game, this game upgraded its graphics, and also humanized the characters more through dialogue interactions and cutscenes.
There are also some gameplay changes such as the players’ control being limited only to squadron leader Scott Mitchell; as opposed to the previous game allowing the player to alternately take control of multiple units. The players, however, may still command their squadron as they please. These improvements resulted in a higher User Score of 8.7.
5 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Island Thunder – 82
The Island Thunder expansion of Ghost Recon features a single-player campaign taking place in Cuba after the death of Fidel Castro. When democracy is threatened by the communist parties with violence, it’s up to the special ops ghosts to dismantle their system and restore freedom to the people.
The expansion also features jungle maps that encourage players to approach the foliage-ridden environment with caution. Despite its decent Metascore, Island Thunder only has a User Score of 6.7. A bit higher than that of Wildlands.
4 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Desert Siege – 82
Another expansion of the original Ghost Recon, Red Strom Entertainment’s Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Desert Siege takes players to East Africa, and tasks a team of U.S. Army Green Berets with intervening in a war between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
In contrast to the aforementioned Jungle Storm, which was likely docked points for being an unwanted third expansion, Desert Siege‘s Metascore is helped by it being the first expansion, and consequently still feeling fresh.
3 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 2: Summit Strike – 84
Released in 2005, Summit Strike is a Ghost Recon 2 expansion that introduces new multiplayer modes, improved mechanics, and an additional story mode. The story revolves around Scott Mitchell and his team’s pursuits in capturing Pakistani terrorist and arms dealer Asad Rehil– a notorious threat to global welfare.
The expansion also made missions harder and more challenging. This deepens the tactical elements of the game. The expansion features snowy environments, plus the option to re-do the missions in solo mode. This game has a solid User Score of 7.
2 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 – 86
Developed in 2007, Advanced Warfighter 2 takes place in Mexico. A year after the events of Advanced Warfighter. Players take control of ghost leader Scott Mitchell as he leads his team through various missions. Players can see the bodycam feed of their squadmates, allowing for more effective reconnaissance.
They also have control of advanced military equipment such as a UAV that they can use to gather intel on enemy locations. On top of that, the command system is more fluently integrated with combat. Though this Xbox version of the game has an impressive Metascore with a User Rating of 7.7, the PC version is only rated 76. As for the PS3 version, 84.
1 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter – 90
Developed in 2006, the Xbox version of Advanced Warfighter is the highest Metascore a Ghost Recon game has achieved. The game takes place after the events of Ghost Recon 2: Summit Strike. Scott Mitchell and his band of ghosts engage in a series of missions to protect and preserve the alliance of the US and Mexico.
Players once again take control of Scott as they lead their team by giving out orders. The integrated RTS elements of Advanced Warfighter together with its tactical gameplay encourages players to be methodical with their approach. Despite being the highest Metacritic rated Ghost Recon game with an impressive 7.9 user rating, its PC version is only rated 80.