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"Ghost: In traditional belief, a ghost is a manifestation of the dead.
They remain in the physical realm to avenge, help, or punish the living.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Prologue

Ghost Recon is a first-person shooter and tactical simulator series by Red Storm Entertainment and Ubisoft. Its first installment was released in 2001.

It is known by its full name "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon". Note that Clancy's involvement in this series, as well as its novelization, is remote but noticeable. Note also that it has much in common with the similarly titled "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six", though the two series are still very distinct in gameplay terms.

The original game follows a war brewing in post-Cold War Russia in 2008. An ultra-nationalist faction performs a coup d'etat and begin invading former members of the USSR, attempting to rebuild the broken Soviet Union. The game follows the exploits of a special forces team known as the Ghosts (originally a fictional Delta company of the real US Army's 5th Special Forces Group, 1st Battalion, split off in later games into the separate Group for Specialized Tactics, or GST), who are tasked with various missions to halt the coming Russian invasion into the Baltics and Caucasus.


Within the game, the player puts together and then controls a team of up to six soldiers split between up to three fireteams, each with his own specialty, stats, weapon and gear. The Ghosts fight as a group: it is possible to directly control any of the characters who are still alive, and switch between them at any time during a mission, but the point of the game is to learn how to control the entire team (using a surprisingly simple interface for the task).

Unlike "conventional" first-person shooters of the period, the game attempts to mimic real-world combat as faithfully as possible. Use of "smart" tactics and stealth is practically mandatory. That's because bullets kill, often with just one hit, and enemies are definitely not graduates of the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy. Covering fire, judicious use of explosives and coordinated assaults are pretty much required if you want to keep your squaddies alive more than a couple of seconds into a firefight.


This game is definitely not for players who just like running around and shooting things - combat here is something you want to avoid until you have both the element of surprise as well as a massive advantage over whomever you want to kill. That takes time, planning, observing enemies as they move around, you get the picture. Single missions can take hours to complete, even more if you don't use Save Scumming. Expect lots of Trial-and-Error Gameplay, although it's definitely worth it.

In addition to the combat realism, this was one of the first PC games to feature high-quality 3D sound, and was considered very advanced in terms of graphics at the time. The attention to details regarding weapon performance and other military hardware is quite worthy of the Tom Clancy prefix. There's Scenery Porn as well, especially in missions that take place in locations such as downtown Vilnius, Riga, and finally Moscow. The Red Square and the GUM shopping mall across from it are portrayed with stunning accuracy.

There are several installments in the greater Ghost Recon series to date, although some, particularly near the beginning of the series, are Expansion Packs in disguise.

List of Games

  • The original Ghost Recon trilogy was composed of the first game along with two expansions, Desert Siege and Island Thunder. The three take the player through, respectively, a Russian invasion of the South Ossetian Autonomous Region and other former Soviet satellites that quickly turns in on itself with civil war; a restart of the Eritrean/Ethiopean War thanks to warlords who helped fund the Russian coup by buying weapons from them; and then flareups of violence in Cuba surrounding the first democratic elections after the projected death of Fidel Castro. There was also a third expansion exclusive to the PlayStation 2, Jungle Storm, in which the player headed to Colombia to take care of guerrilla movements that backed the losing party in Island Thunder before they can regroup and try a more directly-aggressive approach.
  • Ghost Recon 2 was released for consoles only. The game interestingly came in two versions, "First Contact" for the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube, and "Final Assault" for the Xbox. Both involve war in Korea, the former version being set in the same incident from 2007 as in Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and the latter in a second war in 2011. Unlike the first game, the game is an over-the-shoulder third person shooter and did away with most of the tactical aspects and divided the fanbase as a result. After mixed reviews, Ubisoft decided to skip a PC release entirely.
  • Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 1 & 2, the first released in 2006 (Xbox, PS2, PC and Xbox 360) and the second released in 2007 (PS3, Xbox 360 and PC). It raises many speculations about the kinds of equipment and tactics that may one day be employed by special forces teams. While the PS2, Xbox, and PC versions of the first game retained the first-person perspective from earlier installments, the Xbox 360 version utilized a third-person perspective with the ability to switch to first-person when aiming, a feature retained in the 360 and PS3 versions of the second game. The console versions retained some of the original's tactical decisions, and used a cover system later popularized by Gears of War, while the PC version was a FPS and returned to the first games' tactical simulator gameplay. Set a few years after the second game, both games are set in Mexico during a brutal civil war between loyalists and an ultranationalist faction led by rogue generals who want avert the signing of a mutual defense pact between the US, Canada and Mexico. The Ghosts are sent to support the loyalists while trying to keep their involvement secret.
  • Ghost Recon: Predator, a 2010 Playstation Portable exclusive, was heavily influenced by the gameplay and user interface of the Xbox 360 version of Advanced Warfighter. It starred an all-new team of Ghosts being sent into Sri Lanka to investigate attacks on several U.S. fishing vessels, eventually being caught in the middle of a brewing civil war.
  • Ghost Recon Wii, a 2010 Nintendo Wii exclusive. Adapted for the Wii, it was a hybrid of third-person shooter and light-gun game, and followed the adventures of a two-man Ghost team fighting through the same Russian civil war as featured in Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 and Shadow Wars (and, by extension, Future Soldier as well).
  • Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars, released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2010, was a significant departure from the series' tactical shooter roots and was instead a turn-based tactical RPG game, with a game system and interface similar to Advance Wars and Fire Emblem.
  • Ghost Recon: Future Soldier was originally supposed to tie in with the 2010 games Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2, Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars, and Ghost Recon: Wii, but a two-year delay in development (finally being released in 2012) resulted in a noticeable drift in the game's story and setting. It picks up several years after the events of Advanced Warfighter (somewhere around 2024), and begins with a Ghost team that discovers - and then dies to - a dirty bomb in Nicaragua. A separate group of Ghosts, Team Hunter, are sent out to investigate the origin of the bomb, which leads to the discovery of another coup attempt in Russia revolving around a group called "Raven's Rock" and their special forces group "Bodark". The game uses many of the same gameplay mechanics from the third-person console version of Warfighter, while introducing new elements like the Gunsmith customizable weapon system allowing for extensive customization of the player's weapons (including paint schemes, barrel lengths, trigger types, and even the gas system to determine rate of fire), usage of various semi-autonomous drones and sensors for support, and more extensive use of co-op features like Sync Shots (an expanded version of Splinter Cell: Conviction's "Mark & Execute"). Watch the teaser trailer. See also the live action prequel Ghost Recon Alpha.
  • The free-to-play shooter, Ghost Recon Online, released in 2012, rebranded Ghost Recon: Phantoms in 2014, eventually taken down in late 2016. It was essentially a mostly plotless, multiplayer-only spinoff to Future Soldier.
  • Ghost Recon Wildlands, a Wide-Open Sandbox shooter which can be played either solo with AI teammates or cooperatively with up to 3 other players. An interquel between the Advanced Warfighter duology and Future Soldier, set in 2019, a Ghost team is sent into Bolivia to deal with the Santa Blanca drug cartel, who have turned the country into the world's largest cocaine producer. See the reveal trailer here.
  • Ghost Recon Breakpoint, released on October 4, 2019. Set about six years after the events in Bolivia, the Ghosts are sent into the fictional country of Auroa to investigate when Skell Technology, a company that specializes in AI drone technology, goes dark. Unlike Wildlands, the game is an always-online shooter with RPG elements and a loot system similar to Ubisoft's online loot shooter The Division. Reveal trailer here.
  • Ghost Recon: Frontlines: A Battle Royale Spin-Off game announced in September 2021.

The games are also notable for crossing over with some other Tom Clancy's properties, being the first to explicitly identify any of them as taking place in the same universe. As mentioned above, the "First Contact" version of Ghost Recon 2 took place in the same second Korean War from Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, and both Wildlands and Breakpoint had DLC missions that had you assisting a post-Blacklist Sam Fisher, as well as another mission that features Rainbow operatives from Rainbow Six Siege. H.A.W.X. is a particularly frequent crossover target, with Ghost units being the subject of a few Escort Missions in that series and HAWX flight lending aerial support in a few missions of later Ghost Recon games; H.A.W.X. 2 and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier more or less depict the same conflict.

Tropes found in the series:

  • Action Girl: Some of the Ghosts, particularly specialists in the first game (namely Captain Susan Grey, Lindy Cohen, Lithuanian resistance fighter Astra Galinsky, and machine gunner Jodit Haile in the Desert Siege expansion pack). Ghost Recon 2 has Jennifer Burke and sniper Alicia Diaz, who is also a team member in the console versions of Advanced Warfighter and its sequel.
  • Actionized Sequel: Future Soldier takes several cues from Splinter Cell: Conviction in retooling the series, such as the sync-shot that resembles Mark & Execute, and the addition of Regenerating Health.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: In the Future Soldier mission "Firefly Rain", the team travels through a room with multiple industrial fans to get to a Russian airport hangar. Granted, they don't actually have to crawl since the fans are pretty huge (being meant to pipe hot air along the airstrip to keep ice off the runway, as Kozak notes), but the point still stands.
  • All There in the Manual: In Future Soldier, Mitchell is never referred to by name throughout the entire game. If you play the game blind without having seen any supplementary materials, you would have no idea that your commander is the player character from the previous games in the series. It's especially jarring in the jump between Advanced Warfighter and Future Soldier, since he's voiced by two completely different voice actors (from David Cooley in AW to Steve Blum in FS), though taking crossovers into account makes it less so, since Blum has been consistently voicing him ever since EndWar.
  • The All-Seeing A.I.:
    • Sniper-type units in Advanced Warfighter are better at detecting your team, while regular foot soldiers may sometimes wait a few seconds first.
    • If an enemy discovers the body of one of their own, they'll not only become aware of your presence but your exact location.
  • Alternate History:
    • The earlier games now qualify as this. From the original game and its expansions alone: there was no attempt to reunify the Soviet Union in 2008 (although there was a war in South Ossetia in 2008, but it never went any further than fighting between Russia and Georgia), Eritrea and Ethiopia didn't go for Round 2 of their 1998-2000 war, and Fidel Castro died a full decade after the game projected (and Cuba didn't erupt in violence following this, and still doesn't have "democratic" elections).
    • Also, a lot of the gear never ended up entering service, like the OICW, and the BDU was replaced with the ACU shortly before the game takes place.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: More like "Japanese Commando is Not Hardcore": the Japanese and American boxart for Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm portrays two very, very different games. It's inverted, both in that it's not originally a Japanese game, and that the American "hardcore" version is the accurate version.
  • America Saves the Day:
    • Somewhat subverted in the first game, as there are plenty of international "specialists" from various countries to help you, and Russian loyalists do plenty of the work themselves offscreen, with you at best tipping the odds in their favor.
    • In the Advanced Warfighter series, "Captain Mitchell Saves The Day".
    • Downplayed in Future Soldier, where once again Russian loyalists do a lot of the work themselves, with the Ghosts at best tipping the odds in their favor by rescuing the rightful president and a general who can effectively lead the resistance.
  • Anyone Can Die:
    • Much like the original Rainbow Six games. If one of your soldiers dies in the first game, they won't come back. You'll have to recruit a newbie soldier and train him. Specialists with their powerful weapon are gone. Non-fatal wounds, which are rare without high Endurance versus a weak weapon, require time off of the field to heal before the soldier in question is back to full effectiveness.
    • In Advanced Warfighter, soldiers are simply wounded until the end of either the current or following mission.
    • Averted in Shadow Wars where a Ghost killed is an automatic defeat condition.
    • In Advanced Warfighter, quite a few of the Ghosts you came to know in Ghost Recon 2 appear to die; Jennifer Burke's team is overrun and she is presumed KIA, and Nick Salvatore is critically wounded by Aguila 7 and last seen being tagged for medevac, though he's shown to be alive in EndWar.
    • In the Future Soldier prequel film Alpha, a Ghost (Chuck) is suddenly shot in the face while trying to disarm a warhead.
    • Future Soldier starts off by showing us the first-person death of Joe Ramirez, who's been with the franchise as long as main lead Captain Mitchell and was considered something of The Lancer (also killed is Richard Allen, another long-running Ghost). Gameplay otherwise averts this like in Shadow Wars, where AI-controlled Ghosts are all but invincible, with very little punishment the enemy can possibly throw at you that will one-shot anyone on your side, and it's a game over if anyone dies.
  • Armor Is Useless:
    • Inverted with infantry in the first game. Enemies who wear heavy body armor will pretty much be invulnerable in their torso area when hit with 9mm rounds (such as from an MP5 or M9 pistol). It's sometimes possible to empty an entire 9mm magazine into an armor-wearing baddie's torso and still have him be unharmed.
    • Zig-zagged in the Advanced Warfighter series. Elite Mooks wearing body armor have somewhat better odds of surviving 1 bullet hit compared to unarmored regular infantry, but nothing is certain.
    • Zig-zagged depending on the mode in Future Soldier. In singleplayer, a Raven's Rock combat trooper in full riot gear and a cartel goon in a t-shirt both take the same amount of bullets to bring down, but in multiplayer armor is an unlockable for the Rifleman class that actually lets them survive more bullets, so long as they actually hit the armor.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Throw an incendiary grenade into the path of a Shield-Bearing Mook in Future Soldier and they'll make no attempt to avoid it, instead marching straight into the thermate cloud and dying a horrible burning death.
  • Badass Crew: The Ghosts are considered the elite of the elite in the U.S. Army. Considering all the insane odds they go through in battle (even in the first game, three to six of them were already stopping entire armored columns with heavy infantry support), it's justified.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: At the end of the PC version of Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2, there's actually just enough time to escape the missile complex before it explodes, if you memorize the escape route and run it perfectly. The ending still has Mitchell failing to get out in time and being caught in the explosion.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Played straight in the Future Soldier prequel film Alpha, where Chuck, the one black Ghost shown, is the one to die - the film even makes it more apparent by featuring Pepper and 30K from the game, but using an entirely different, unnamed white Ghost Lead instead of the Bald Black Leader Guy who leads the squad in the actual game. The game itself, however, has a notable aversion with Ghost Lead, who throws out literally every death card related to this trope in the intro to the penultimate mission - sent off on a dangerous, obviously-final mission, calls his son beforehand, talks to him about his birthday and promises to be back soon, he even jokes about retiring soon in the cutscene to the mission before that - but still survives to the end, even with one more mission coming after that where they have to take care of the last remnants of the coup.
  • Boisterous Bruiser:
    • Richter in Shadow Wars. The manual states he likes to poke fun at younger Ghosts.
    • 30K in Future Soldier, to a lesser extent, given the biggest gun among the group and shown to be the most joking (often pokes fun at both Kozak and to a lesser extent Pepper) and the most confrontational (has an intense dislike for the Navy, which comes up a lot considering his team are operating from a carrier over the course of the game, and is often the first to complain when things go wrong or the squad is given an order he identifies as idiotic).
  • Bookends: One of the first levels in Advanced Warfighter has you defending the bombed-out remains of the American Embassy from an enemy assault while protecting the Mexican President. The final level of the game has you assaulting the same embassy building, where Big Bad Carlos Ontiveros and his cadre of Elite Mooks are making their last stand attempting to use the building to access the American nuclear missile system.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: One level of Future Soldier requires the player to pass a retinal scanner. Downplayed in that Kozak doesn't actually kill an enemy soldier to get the bypass, hes just manhandles them into using it, then knocks them out.
  • Brick Joke: Halfway through the fifth mission of Future Soldier, the group has to ride an elevator up from their first objective to move on to the second. 30K complains, to which Pepper notes "at least it's not stairs". Come the eleventh mission, where the first objective is to sneak past a group of enemies guarding the entrance to a building... and then they have to get to the roof. By way of a lot of stairs. 30K complains again, to which Pepper agrees.
  • Camera Perspective Switch: Advanced Warfighter on 360/PS3 and all the games from Future Soldier onward allow you to switch between third and first-person POV when aiming.
  • Canon Immigrant:
    • The non-lethal flash bulb sidearms utilized in multiplayer in Future Soldier were first used by John Clark and Ding Chavez in the Jack Ryan novel Debt of Honor.
    • President Volodin from Future Soldier later appears as a major antagonist in the Jack Ryan novels written after Clancy's passing.
  • Car Fu: In Alpha the enemy Spider Tank is defeated when Ghost Leader rams it into the water using an Awesome Personnel Carrier.
  • The Cavalry: Used many times throughout the franchise.
  • Check-Point Starvation: Advanced Warfighter and Future Soldier can often make players lose quite a bit of progress if they die at certain points, due to a lack of checkpoints. In particular, the devs deliberately designed the final level of Future Soldier with as few checkpoints as possible, partially so that unlocking one of the best attachments in the game (which requires, among other things, playing through nearly the entire mission on the highest difficulty without being detected) is one of the hardest things to do in the game.
  • Composite Character: In the console version of Advanced Warfighter, General Ontiveros (the actual leader of the Mexican coup) and Colonel Carlos Ontiveros (the Big Bad) were two separate characters. The PC version removes the original General Ontiveros entirely and promotes Carlos to General Carlos Ontiveros, who has about 95% of the same dialogue as in the console version, but is referred to as the sole leader of the coup by the game.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • While still a problem, especially in Advanced Warfighter, the original game and its expansions were better at subverting it. To elaborate, the AI in the first game obeys a rather impressive (for the time) AI, including use of real tactics like flanking or suppressing fire. It is also relatively decent about emulating stealth. Downsides include the AI enemies having the bog standard magic laser vision once the player is detected, a bad tendency to suicidally charge into entrenched positions after a set amount of time, and response times / reflexes for both your squadmates and the enemy that switch at random between "superhuman" and "mailing the bullets would be faster". Enemy accuracy also seems to be effected mostly by your stance, so you can be prone in the middle of an open field where you should get hit instantly and have several shots just miss you... or stand up, just barely putting your head in view, and get sniped by a regular rifle in the head instantly from a decent distance.
    • This trope ends up working in the player's favor in Future Soldier. The player is the only one that can be detected - so long as you yourself remain hidden from the enemy, AI squadmates (including temporary escortees) will never be detected by patrolling enemies, even when running full-tilt right past them (also keeping active camo up in this case, which the player can't do). They will also rarely (if ever) get downed by enemy fire (even if this is partly because the enemy simply never targets them), have ridiculously good aim, will never lose track of marked targets once locked on, will shoot them the instant you give the order or shoot your marked target, and in some cases can shoot through walls no matter how thick they are to get at said marked targets if they pass behind buildings. When playing through the main campaign, having flesh-and-blood teammates is a liability rather than an asset, and at least one challenge in the game relies on simply marking targets through a drone for the AI to take care of while you stay behind cover; the only concrete advantages a human player gets is that it's easier to deliberately pull off a One-Hit Polykill with a sync-shot or take advantage of the Bullet Time that occurs after a full sync shot, and human players will make more of an effort to get a good angle to shoot marked targets.
  • The Computer Is a Lying Bastard: Some of the weapon specifications shown in Advanced Warfighter are incorrect - stating that default assault rifle has a capacity of 60 bullets, when it really has 30. This came up in the first game as well: for whatever reason, the ammo count in the squad-selection screen is given by way of total ammo available plus the number of mags that ammo fits into, requiring you to divide the former by the latter to tell how much you get per magazine, rather than a more sensible approach such as simply telling you how many bullets one magazine holds then the number of mags you get.
  • Concealment Equals Cover:
    • The CGI opening movie to Advanced Warfighter shows Mitchell using the Cross-Com to mark an enemy through the wall and then using his .50 BMG sniper rifle to shoot him through the wall. You can't actually do this in-game, not even with the .50 BMG sniper rifle. It's not until Future Soldier that this actually becomes a viable tactic. That said, some very specific pieces of cover (namely wooden fences and cardboard box piles) are actually physics objects and can be destroyed by gunfire, though bullets won't actually penetrate them.
    • Zigzagged in Future Soldier. While most cover provides total protection from gunfire, thinner cover can be penetrated by gunfire, shotguns and submachine guns providing the least penetration while sniper rifles and machine guns allow further. Both parts of the trope can also be averted, as you can shoot through even thicker surfaces by loading armor piercing rounds into your gun, and you can also use a backscatter optic or magnetic vision to see through it.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: More common as the series went on, as the original only really had a conversation at the start of a level between the soldiers you sent in and then left you to your own devices with no particular time limit, unless an objective involved the movement of tanks, such as enemy tanks coming up to a checkpoint or friendly tanks rolling through insecure territory.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Most notably in the Advanced Warfighter series, where places and events in Tom Clancy's other franchises (Rainbow Six Vegas, HAWX) are referenced.
    • The PS2 version of Ghost Recon 2 takes place in the same setting as Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory; in Chaos Theory, an American PMC secretly hijacks a North Korean missile and uses it to sink an American warship, framing North Korea and triggering a war between America and North Korea. Ghost Recon 2 focuses on fighting that actual war, while Chaos Theory is all about the real truth behind it.
      • In the Xbox version, which is set in a second war in 2011, the stories of the Ghosts during the North Korean conflict are narrated by retired Major Will Jacobs, one of the unlockable specialists from the original game.
    • Joe Ramirez and Richard Allen both appear in the first mission of Future Soldier where they're killed, while now-Major Scott Mitchell acts as your commanding officer.
      • After a nuclear missile is shot down over London, Mitchell states that the nuke was likely a rogue spear, which is the Tom Clancy equivalent to the real life term Empty Quiver.
      • In a later mission, the HAWX squadron shows up to provide air support when your team is protecting the leader of a resistance movement.
      • One of your missions in the game is to rescue the survivors of a Georgian special forces team. The sole survivor, Sgt. Osadze, mentions that his older brother once served with the Ghosts; this is a reference to Guram Osadze, one of the unlockable support specialists from the first game.
  • Cosmetic Award: In the original game and its expansions, your soldiers can receive campaign ribbons and Purple Hearts for taking part in missions, getting kills or getting injured.
  • Critical Existence Failure:
    • Averted in the original: if there was a bullet in a guy he will limp, move slower, breath heavier, have worse aim, be unable to carry his gun without it drooping, and hunch over.
    • Also averted in the Advanced Warfighter games; if Cpt. Mitchell is shot, he'll move slower and noticeably limp for a few moments before returning to normal condition.
    • Played straight by Future Soldier. Kozak and the other Ghosts can fight unimpeded until they take enough bullets to be incapacitated. Once they're down, if nobody comes to revive them quickly enough or the rest of the team also gets incapacitated, they will immediately drop dead. That said, it's also possible for enemies to put incapped teammates down instead of waiting for them to bleed out.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • Not only is an entire Ghost team killed off via a dirty bomb explosion in Future Soldier's opening mission, but you get to see the flesh on Ramirez's arms burning off just before he falls off a cliff, in first-person!
    • Later in the same game, we see random London citizens getting sliced and stabbed by falling glass shards.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: In a sense; Mitchell's comment that "our unit's never been hit this hard before" after the prologue of Future Soldier, where they lose a team of four people, carries the implication that the "canon" for the original game and its expansions involved the player never losing more than one or two soldiers.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Scott Mitchell in Future Soldier. While launching an airstrike into Russian territory to bail the Ghosts out:
    "Your international incident's on its way."
  • Decapitated Army: In the first game, the Ultranationalists place their own president, Dmitri Arbatov, under arrest as the situation turns against them, and later have him executed. You still have to fight several more missions before they're ousted from power altogether though.
  • Determinator/Made of Iron: Cpt. Mitchell from the Advanced Warfighter series. It becomes increasingly clear throughout both games that he (and you, by proxy) is pretty much a one-man wrecking crew. He shrugs off bullets, goes on several solo missions that involve traversing long distances and fighting squads of soldiers by himself, downs several enemy helicopters, protects the President of the United States from overwhelming enemy forces, etc. At the end of the second game, he authorizes an EMP airstrike on himself to stop a nuclear missile in his immediate area from being launched. And he survives!
  • Diegetic Interface: The augmented reality HUD in Advanced Warfighter and Future Soldier. If it's knocked out, you can't access things like the objectives screen. The Ember Hunt mission in the latter game sees it needing a reboot, during which you can't access it. This part gets a little odd in what it counts as diegetic, however - stuff like your ammo count is obviously removed, but so are things that don't appear to be part of the AR HUD, like damage-direction indicators or even the bloody screen when you're injured, yet at the same time things that clearly are part of the augmented reality like grenade/RPG indicators are kept. The first mission of the "Raven Strike" DLC advertises itself as a callback to the original game by way of running the AR in "safe mode" (since it's set immediately after Ember Hunt), which means next to none of the goodies that are unique to the game like active camo.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Carlos Ontiveros, the mastermind behind the rebellion. You defeat his personal special forces unit and kill him at the end of the first Advanced Warfighter, but another guy takes his place in the second game. To make matters worse, the rebels hire Panamanian mercenaries to aid them. Juan de la Barrera, the rebel leader in the second game, gets shot down in a gunship duel about 3/4ths of the way through the game, but that does nothing to stop the mercs he hired to continue carrying out his plan to nuke the U.S.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • Ghost Recon 2 has North Korean Special Forces, who use high tech Chinese weapons, fire more accurately and utilize better tactics than the rank and file DPRK grunt.
    • Advanced Warfighter has the Aguila 7, the Mexican special forces leading the coup d'etat. They're equipped with body armor (increasing their odds of surviving an assault rifle hit) and superior weapons (notably using silenced SMGs that help hide their firing position, heavy-hitting SCAR-H battle rifles, and One-Hit Kill M99 .50 BMG sniper rifles).
    • Advanced Warfighter 2 has Panamanian mercenaries hired by the rebels that show up in the latter half of the game; being members of a PMC they have access to better arms and equipment than the rebels, using many of the same weapons as those available to the Ghosts, rather than the standard G36K's and HK21E's used by the basic rebel soldiers. They also seem to use more advanced tactics, such as faking a reload to try to bait you out of cover. They're easily distinguished from the regular rebel troops from their more informal appearance, including Cool Shades, rolled-up sleeves, and serious case of Helmets Are Hardly Heroic.
    • Ghost Recon Wii has Gas Mask Mook Heavily Armored Mook Spetznaz enemies that are faster and more maneuverable than normal Mooks, resist headshots, and can survive 7-9 bullet hits, compared to just 2-3 for regular enemies. There are also Shield-Bearing Mook enemies armed with anti-materiel rifles.
    • Future Soldier has the Bodarks ("Werewolves"), Russian elite special forces who are a match for the Ghosts themselves, including having access to the same advanced combat tech such as active camo (which also makes them invisible to your high-tech sensors) and EMP grenades. They show up semi-frequently in the final levels of the game, make up the enemies for the final ten waves of a map in Guerrilla mode, and are the faction opposing the Ghosts in competitive multiplayer.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: The Ghosts were formerly known as Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, before the company was dissolved and reformed as a Tier 1 special mission unit, the Group for Specialized Tactics (GST). The Ghosts specialize in direct action, special reconnaissance, and unconventional warfare. They are often deployed to denied or politically-sensitive areas with little to no support.
  • Empty Quiver:
    • The Advanced Warfighter duology partly revolves around the President's nuclear football being stolen in the first game, and two actual nukes being stolen in the second.
    • The introduction to one level in Future Soldier involves a nuclear missile launched from Russia towards London, without the Russian government's authorization. The actual warhead was destroyed by an anti-nuke missile shield, but the delivery system still impacts a skyscraper and ultimately kills a bunch of people.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: The original game plus expansions had the threat indicator at the bottom of the screen, made up of one circle which lit up red when an enemy was within 40 meters of your position, one segmented ring around that that glowed yellow to point out the general direction of any enemies beyond 40 meters, and another segmented ring around that one that flashes red in the general direction of any enemy gunfire. The map also displayed enemies on it if one of your soldiers could see that enemy and was within a set distance of them.
  • Escort Mission
    • The original game had your team escort tanks on at least two instances. Granted that this is through urban terrain, where they're far more vulnerable to baddies carrying rocket launchers hiding behind walls. Thankfully, as long as you deal with the anti-armor troops and the occasional enemy vehicle (with your own anti-armor specialist), the tanks can take care of themselves fairly well. There were also a few missions with more traditional hostage rescue and the like, such as the optional objective in the first mission (capture the leader of the enemy guerrillas), and the entire point of the second (the crew of a downed F/A-18), fourth (UN peacekeeping troopers caught behind the enemy's advance) and eleventh (prisoners of war and an optional dissident among the enemy) missions.
    • In Advanced Warfighter, the Quarterback mission will challenge the intelligence of US President Ballantine. The Ready For Bear mission has you escort the pilots of a liberated Abrams brigade, who are better at taking care of themselves.
    • One mission in Future Soldier has you "escort" the AI-controlled quadruped Warhound. Only, it's invincible against everything the enemy tries to throw at it, and comes with its own mortar and missile system. Guess what does most of the killing in that mission? Later missions have more traditional escort missions to protect and extract the sole survivor of a Georgian spec-ops team and then the incarcerated President of Russia; for the purposes of the game they're essentially treated as an extra member of your squad, with all the benefits your AI teammates get, including invulnerability outside of cutscenes (though both take a hit during a cutscene) and being undetectable until you yourself get spotted.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Cars explode with alarmingly little prompting in Future Soldier. All it takes is a few .45 ACP rounds from your pistol to turn any random car on the street into a giant bomb.
    • Averted in the first game, where they are indestrucible, being able to take rockets and machinegun fire.
  • Exact Words: At the end of Future Soldier, the Ghosts shoot the final leader of Raven's Rock, and are about to kill him to get vengeance for the Ghosts killed in the opening mission, but are suddenly stopped by orders from "the highest level" not to kill him (the implication being that Command wants the guy to survive due to his political clout). Instead, the Ghosts leave the wounded guy on a train track to be run over by an incoming train; as he demands they save him and take him into custody, Ghost Lead quips "our orders were not to touch you" as the guy is run over. It's all very Batman Begins.
  • Expy: In Future Soldier we have President Volodin, who in his youngest days tamed wild bears, comes from a military background, and even after being tortured can handle himself in a shootout - sounds like a real life Russian president.
  • Faceless Mooks: The Raven's Rock infantry in Future Soldier all wear balaclavas. Russian regulars don't wear masks, though.
  • First-Person Ghost: The original games don't even show you your own weapon in first-person view, though later games do avert this, with Future Soldier being near-entirely third-person.
  • Friendly Enemy:
    • The Ghosts have ended up cooperating with countries such as Georgia (who were the Big Bad of the first Splinter Cell), moderate factions in Russia, and Pakistan. In fact it's entirely possible that some of the Georgian special forces you're sent to help in one mission of Future Soldier were among the Elite Mooks shooting at Sam Fisher in the final mission of Splinter Cell.
    • Speaking of Pakistan, one of the missions in Future Soldier takes place there, where the Pakistani ISI try to double-cross the Ghosts and capture their target for themselves. They are still considered allies, so the Ghosts can't shoot them, but they won't extend you the same courtesy - fortunately, the issue is sidestepped by having your team moved in ahead of the target, letting the ISI push that target towards the Ghosts.
  • Game Mod: The first game has many of them, available here.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The old bios for the various specialists in the original game seem to have been written before their kits were set in stone. In particular, Scott Ibrahim (sniper) and Dieter Munz (support) are both noted as having qualified with the M136, the former noted as, well, a marksman with the weapon and the latter claimed to keep meticulous track of each and every vehicle he disables with it - but since the M136 is equipment exclusive to the Demo kits, neither of them can use it. Then there's also the Desert Siege specialist Jodit Haile, who's listed as a Rifleman but gets Support kits.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The Bodarks in Future Soldier all wear gas masks.
  • Genre Shift: While the first Ghost Recon game was indeed a hardcore tactical simulator, the series shifted to third-person action shooter as early as Ghost Recon 2 and continuing with the console version of Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. Out of the entire series, only the PC versions of Advanced Warfighter 1 and 2 really stuck to the first-person tactical simulator gameplay of the first game.
  • Ghost Town: In Advanced Warfighter, Mexico City is totally deserted except for a few platoons of troops. Mexico City is one of those gigantic mega cities where you see at least 1000 people literally anywhere you look around.
  • Glass Cannon: In the first game, M1A2 Abrams tanks can take out any vehicle on the battlefield in one shot, but one hit from a measly RPG-7 will catastrophic-kill it.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: The shades the Ghosts wear in Future Soldier enable the augmented reality Diegetic Interface.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Because the missions taken by the Ghosts are beyond top secret (and many of their missions would outright constitute an act of war), the government can never acknowledge that they ever took place.
    • In both Advanced Warfighter and Future Soldier, all the actions taken by the Ghosts are officially credited to American-backed factions inside the Enemy Nation of the Week.
    • This was averted in the Xbox version of Ghost Recon 2, where the Ghost's missions in the 2011 Korean War have been declassified and the story is presented through a Show Within a Show interviewing the Ghosts and some of their foreign comrades.
  • Gun Accessories: Present to some extent in earlier games, particularly with the "M4 SOPMOD" from Island Thunder that included a long-distance optic and suppressor to make it essentially the best gun in the game, so long as you didn't need someone with a Demo kit. The Gunsmith system in Future Soldier goes all-out with this and offers a ridiculous amount of options, from silencers and Grenade Launchers, to changing your gun's gas system so it fires faster or slower than normal and its trigger so it fires with less pull.
  • Gunship Rescue
    • The Plaza del Angel mission in Advanced Warfighter, where, after several minutes of increasingly hostile engagement, your squad and the dignitaries under your care (as well as the "nuclear football") are saved at the last second from a tank brigade by the arrival of U.S. gunships.
    • Similarly, the mission to extract a reporter from a bullfighting arena in GRAW 2 has the Ghosts fighting off waves of attacking soldiers. When two tanks show up, the Ghosts call for air support and are saved by Apache gunships.
    • This happens quite few times in Future Soldier, where your team gets dug out of various scrapes by minigun-armed choppers or by fixed wing fighter-bombers.
  • Harder Than Hard: Patches for the PC version of Future Soldier introduced "Hardcore Mode", which changes up the mechanics to make the game more difficult - enemy weapons are even deadlier than before, cross-com goodies like sensor grenades only last a couple of seconds, and adaptive camo is changed to work like in multiplayer, where any movement deactivates it.
  • Hold the Line: In addition to the occasional defense objective, Future Soldier includes "Guerrilla Mode", which is essentially this game's answer to Horde mode. The player is tasked to infiltrate an enemy HQ and then hold it against increasing waves of bad guys. Every tenth wave is a "boss" wave with even more enemies who bring along a few new toys, like minigun turrets and Hind gunships; beat that wave, the HQ is relocated to a different spot on the map and the whole cycle repeats with slightly stronger enemies.
  • Hollywood Silencer:
    • Subverted. Silenced weapons have realistic sounds but are inaudible from more than a few feet away.
    • Future Soldier changes the rules for sound detection around, where nobody will notice a silenced gunshot no matter how close, so long as you kill in one shot and your target's buddies aren't able to see his body drop or come across it before it fades on their patrol. If you don't make that one-shot kill, though, you're generally going to get detected - if you missed, he'll notice the bullet whizzing past him or hitting a nearby wall and try to alert his comrades. Take more than one bullet to kill him and his buddies will usually hear him screaming in pain and investigate, at which point they're likely going to notice the body, unless you can kill them before that without anyone else seeing.
  • 100% Completion: Future Soldier includes four Challenges per mission, one Weapon and three Tactical. Completing the mission's Weapon Challenge unlocks a new weapon of the type you used for the challenge (e.g. unlocking a new shotgun by completing a challenge to make three kills in three seconds with three shots from a shotgun), while completing all three Tactical Challenges unlocks a new attachment to put on your weapons. There are also separate campaign-wide challenges, one that unlocks a new weapon or camo pattern per mission if you completed the mission with a Ghost score of at least 60, and another that unlocks a special grenade launcher for completing the entire campaign on Elite difficulty.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Rookie, Veteran, and Elite in Shadow Wars. The higher the difficulty of the mission, the more stars you get afterwards, which you can use to level up your squad members.
    • Future Soldier keeps these, other than swapping Rookie out for Recruit. The higher the difficulty, the less damage the player can take before being incapacitated or killed, the fewer times they'll be incapped rather than outright killed in this case (from about five times on Recruit, to three on Veteran, to only once in very lucky circumstances on Elite), and the higher bonus they get to their Ghost score at the end of the mission.
  • Interface Screw:
    • A slight blur, done several times during the Advanced Warfighter series. However, you won't be able to use the compass or have enemies marked on your HUD.
    • During the Dagestan mission in Future Soldier, there's periodic interference to the HUD and AR system the Ghosts use, ranging from blurring and static, to false readings of enemies. Eventually, Mitchell has the system taken offline for debugging, forcing the player to go with nothing but the magnetic goggles for the rest of the level. The first of the Raven Strike DLC levels is set immediately afterwards, and forces you to go through the entire level without any of the cross-com gadgets while they work on figuring out why it was screwing up.
  • In the End, You Are on Your Own: At the very end of the PC version of Advanced Warfighter 2, Mitchell's squad is left behind to cover the entrance while Mitchell descends by himself into the network of tunnels below the rebel base in order to locate the nuke and stop it from launching. What follows is a short Unexpected Gameplay Change segment in which you're traveling down tight indoor corridors fighting rebel soldiers, in what had previously been a squad-based tactical shooter taking place in large urban and outdoor environments.
  • Invisible Wall: Classic kind in Ghost Recon, Game Over kind in Advanced Warfighter and Future Soldier.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Future Soldier's second mission introduces the adaptive camo. It only works when stationary, crouched or prone - no sprinting unless using the cover-shift when not in combat - and suffers from Invisibility Flicker. Multiplayer only gives it to Scouts and changes it so they can't move at all without deactivating it; the Hardcore mode in the PC version with the last patch also makes it only work while completely stationary.
  • It's Up to You: In Advanced Warfighter, getting killed causes the general to order retreat to all units.
  • Just Plane Wrong: The cargo planes seen in the Russian airbase during Future Soldier's sixth mission have cabin windows, which only appear on passenger plane in real life.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • In the second mission of Future Soldier, the enemy soldiers will frequently harass random civilians; your first kill in the level is someone who had just tried to sexually assault a woman then grabbed his gun to shoot her when she pushed him away and ran. The third mission likewise starts with the PMC mooks killing civilians; it's mentioned in the cutscene at the start of the next mission that that sight particularly got to Kozak.
    • In the final mission of Future Soldier, the first two Raven's Rock leaders can be found performing various dirty deeds (assaulting their wife or secretary, executing a P.O.W.) before you assassinate them.
  • Landmarking the Hidden Base: In Advanced Warfighter 2, a massive computer system linked to the United States' anti-ballistic missile mainframe is hidden under a dam in El Paso, Texas.
  • Large Ham: General Keating.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Scott Mitchell's appearance in Future Soldier spoils the uncertainty after his Heroic Sacrifice at the end of Advanced Warfighter 2.
  • Limited Loadout: From the very beginning, the series has only ever allowed you two weapons. The first game is the most restrictive, giving you only a primary weapon and one secondary piece of equipment, such as giving up a pistol to attach a grenade launcher to your rifle, or carry a few extra magazines.
  • Limit Break: In Shadow Wars the soldiers (even the Mooks under your command) can use a special attack if their meter reaches 100%.
  • Made of Explodium:
    • In Future Soldier's first two levels, you encounter some technicals with machine guns. When you kill their gunners - not even touching the vehicle proper, thus disqualifying this from Every Car Is a Pinto - the vehicle promptly explodes for no reason.
    • As for Every Car Is a Pinto, non-armored vehicles in this game and Advanced Warfighter will explode if they get shot up enough. Sometimes for what appears to be no reason, several minutes after the most likely cause happened.
  • Make the Bear Angry Again: A frequent plot point; both the original game and Future Soldier feature coups taking over Moscow, the former then going on to antagonize various other former Soviet satellite states in an attempt to drag them back into a new Union.
  • Military Coup: The Advanced Warfighter games involve Mexican soldiers staging a coup d'etat against the Mexican government in opposition to the North American Joint Security Agreement.
  • Monumental Battle:
    • The first game's final mission takes place on the Red Square in war-torn Moscow, with the Ghosts fighting inside the gallery of the GUM department store and right outside the Kremlin's walls. There's also St. Basil's Cathedral and Vladimir Lenin's mausoleum, of course.
    • Advanced Warfighter, mission Coup d'état has a minor battle in Zócalo Plaza with infantry. The mission Fierce Resistance doesn't, as approaching the plaza causes you to be ordered to do something else, but you do get two tanks used to clean up the mess at the end of the mission.
    • Advanced Warfighter, mission VIP 2 is Down (the Plaza del Angel/Mexican Presidential Palace), in which you must protect the President of the United States, several dignitaries and the U.S. "nuclear football" from an onslaught of enemy soldiers and armor. Redux in mission NORAD on the line.
  • More Dakka: The OICW's grenade launcher is semi-automatic, with 6 grenades per magazine. A Ghost Recon expansion has a 12-round grenade launcher, but you need a secondary weapon if you run out of grenades.
  • Murder by Inaction: In Future Soldier, the Ghost team deployed in Russia was about to take out the leader of the coup in Moscow when they were ordered by the U.S. government to take him in alive. Ghost Leader is pissed off at this, but doesn't do anything to help the coup leader escape from being killed by an incoming train since he said "our orders were not to touch you."
  • Next Sunday A.D.:
    • The setting for most of the games. The first Ghost Recon was released in 2001 and is set in 2008, Desert Siege and Island Thunder were released in 2002 and are set in 2009 and 2010 respectively, Jungle Storm was released in 2004 and is set in 2010, the first GRAW was released in 2006 and is set in 2013, GRAW 2 was released in 2007 and is set in 2014, and Future Soldier was released in 2012 and set in 2024.
    • Wildlands is the closest thing the series has to an exception, releasing in 2017 and taking place in 2019.
  • Nintendo Hard: Especially early in the series. You generally want to play in such a way that your side is the only one doing any shooting, because you will lose people if the enemy shoots back.
  • No-Gear Level: In Future Soldier, the first time you encounter the Bodark Elite Mooks, they'll hack your cross-coms, forcing you to play through most of the level without your HUD or gadgets (somehow losing the cross-coms also takes away your ability to throw grenades for some reason). This goes so far as to even take away the red haze that normally tells you you've taken damage and are about to be downed.
  • No One Gets Left Behind:
    • Averted in the first game. Teammates who get killed will be left where they died.
    • In the two Advanced Warfighter games, if one of your teammates is downed, your Mission Control will mention that support teams will come by to retrieve them later when the fighting has died down; said downed teammates will be back in full fighting shape in the next mission.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: The main antagonists of each game often are politicians or general officers who tend to not actually engage in combat with the Ghosts. Only Colonel Wolde from the Desert Strike expansion pack, Asad Rahil from the Summit Strike expansion pack, Carlos Ontiveros from Advanced Warfighter, and General Burkharov from Future Soldier actually engage the Ghosts directly in combat, and in each case they're realistically no tougher than a regular infantry unit. Also, of all the villains in the series, only Carlos Ontiveros regularly opposes the Ghosts throughout the game; all other villains often don't interact with the Ghosts at all until their respective final level.
  • Non-Uniform Uniform: The Ghosts in Future Soldier wear all sorts of clothing, with hardly a piece of American uniform seen... which makes sense when it's recalled that they're on black ops, and the US will disavow them if they're captured or killed.
  • No Scope: GRAW and Future Soldier allow you to aim a sniper rifle without going into scope view. However, unless you have a laser sight and/or a bipod, it's only slightly more accurate than hip-fire.
  • Notice This:
    • A staple of GRAW; the game will often alert you when it is possible to place C4 explosives.
    • In Shadow Wars, doors you can open have a big floating key next to them, and areas you should notice are highlighted with a green circle. Pickups also glow.
  • Occupiers Out of Our Country: Some native specialists such as Guram Osadze (Georgian) and Astra Galinsky (Lithuanian) join the Ghosts in the first game. They don't speak, but it's easy to tell they fight to boot the Russian ultranationalists out of their countries.
  • One Bullet Clips: Largely averted until Future Soldier, which plays it straight.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: In Advanced Warfighter 1's Hard mode, any shot connecting with you will kill you instantly.
  • One Steve Limit: Only averted with the last name "Ramirez" (a relatively common last name), as there have been a total of 3 unrelated Ghost team members with that name. Otherwise played straight.
  • Optional Stealth: Future Soldier offers higher scores for sync-shots, neck-snaps, and stealth kills, but they're not necessary except for a few short no-alarm segments. And even then, unsuppressed weapons can be used stealthily by ensuring no one is left alive to sound the alarm. There's also the fact that total stealth docks points - you have to kill everyone if you want a high Ghost score to unlock new things.
  • Painting the Medium: Much like Splinter Cell: Conviction, the names of locations and quest objectives are overlaid onto walls and the sky; here it's justified in-universe by way of the augmented-reality system the Ghosts are all using.
  • Permadeath: Downed squad members, particularly in the original trilogy, are out of the game forever, as well as in later games if not healed by a medic in time.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: In Advanced Warfighter 2, you fight the rebel leader in a helicopter gunship duel towards the end of the game. After killing him and recovering the nuke he stole, you learn that despite the rebel leader's death, the PMC he hired is still planning to launch missiles into the United States from the Mexican border. You then deploy to stop the PMC from launching their missiles for the game's final mission.
  • President Evil: Dmitri Arbatov (from the original game), General Jung (Ghost Recon 2), and Sergey Makhmudov (Future Soldier).
  • Private Military Contractors: The eventual big bad of GRAW 2, and also the Mooks in the Nigeria mission of Future Soldier. A Russian PMC called Raven's Rock launches a coup against the Russian government in Future Soldier.
  • Production Foreshadowing: While fighting off a large force of Russian military in Future Soldier, Pepper compares the team's situation to the two outlaws who died fighting the entire Mexican army. Kozak promptly corrects him by pointing out it was the Bolivian army. Guess where the Ghosts are sent in the next game?
  • Product Placement: In Future Soldier, while in a Nigerian village, there is a wall with nothing on it but a large UnderArmor poster right behind an ammo cache, directly in the player's line of sight in normal gameplay. There is no explanation as to why there is an ad for an American sports clothing brand in the middle of a sparsely inhabited area of the Nigerian countryside.
  • Rare Guns
    • While the original trilogy generally employed weaponry that were used by present-day armed forces (such as M16A2s and M249 SAWs), it also let players use at-the-time experimental weapons like the OICW. Later installments allowed players to use weapons such as the XM8, MR-C (only exists as a mock-up in real life), and FN SCAR. In addition, the series' version of the Rx-4 Storm has selective fire, which doesn't exist on the real gun.
    • Future Soldier takes the cake for this, where both sides use weapons that are either currently experimental or have only recently entered large-scale production. Some are even early versions of weapons that actually entered production afterwards, such as the starting AK-200 (prototype for what became the AK-12) for Bodark Riflemen in multiplayer.
  • Real Is Brown: Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter suffers from a pretty severe case of the "coffee filter" effect that was popular during the Gears of War era from which it originated. The sequel, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2, is somewhat more clear, crisp, and colorful while still maintaining a realistic and down-to-earth look.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic:
    • Many complaints exist about Advanced Warfighter and Future Soldier having the technology and being able to call in drones/artillery/airstrikes to attack targets are unrealistic and merely props to aid newbie players. Little do they know that all the technology seen in the Ghost Recon games either exists, are in prototype stage or on the drawing board. Not to mention that the original Ghost Recon had a fair bit of its share too... OICW, anyone?
    • Special Forces have and always will be assisted with whatever the forces can currently muster up for support. Airstrikes with jets, bombers or drones are among standard procedure if something needs to be taken out that the ground team is incapable of. The AN-PEQ IR-Laser/Flashlight found in many "modern wargame" scenarios can indeed paint targets for laser-guided ammunition, and is not just a fancy aim assistance in real life.
  • Regenerating Health: Added in Future Soldier. Like Rainbow Six: Vegas, you can survive less hits than, say, Halo, especially on higher difficulties, and health regenerates slower than in most other shooters, but it's still reasonably quick.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Future Soldier has the SRR, which is a revolving-action, silenced sniper rifle. You can even detach the stock and turn it into a true (if somewhat large) revolver. There's also the MTs-255 revolver-shotgun, with multiplayer including the Defender, Wild Boar, and MP-412.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: President Ballatine in GRAW and President Volodin in Future Soldier actually turn out to be surprisingly competent combatants. Ghost Command even informs Kozak (who's concerned about extracting a VIP without any backup) that Volodin is ex-military and will be able to hold his own once rescued. Although it's not quite Authority Equals Asskicking as the older Volodin, while competent, is clearly no longer in full fighting trim, especially after being held captive in poor conditions for many days. Ballatine, meanwhile, sometimes turns into a Leeroy Jenkins despite being unarmored and armed only with a pistol.
  • Same Plot Sequel: The first Ghost Recon begins with a coup taking place in Russia and the Ghosts are sent in secret to handle it. Future Soldier also has the Ghosts dealing with a coup in Russia.
  • Save Point: In later games, whenever you complete an objective. It's sometimes with a ~1 minute walk from the action. If you resupply from a chopper, it saves the game after you resupply, when it is taking off (so tough luck to you if it turns out you picked the wrong loadout for the next area, because you're stuck with it).
  • Scenery Porn: Advanced Warfare, in the "Plaza del Angel" mission, features an exquisitely rendered and 100% accurate-for-the-moment Angel of Independence area together with a geographically perfect Reform Drive. Almost literally the one single difference is that the Banorte building in the game says "Bankorte".
  • Second Hour Superpower: The adaptive camo in Future Soldier is introduced in the second mission.
  • Series Continuity Error: H.A.W.X. 2 and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier depict the same conflict, but there's a noticeable discrepancy in the details of the coup d'état. HAWX 2 shows that the Loyalist Russian president is a frail-looking guy called "Anton Karskazev" and his replacement is a guy named "Aleksandr Treskayev", while in Future Soldier, the former president is a grizzled Army veteran named "Volodin" while the usurper is "Sergey Makhmudov". However, this could be explained by HAWX 2's plot being based on the aborted 2010 build of Future Soldier rather than the final version.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook:
    • A special enemy type in Future Soldier; a Raven's Rock soldier in full riot gear and wielding a bulletproof ballistic shield as well as a submachine gun. Like the Bodark Elite Mooks, they're a lot more dangerous than regular troops due to their shield.
    • A similar enemy type appears in Ghost Recon Wii, which is based on an early version of Future Soldier. The most notably difference is that they're more heavily armored and instead of submachine guns, they're equipped with anti-materiel rifles.
  • Short-Range Shotgun:
    • Bizarrely, the PC version of Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 gives you the option of selecting a M1014 shotgun as your primary weapon, even though its effectiveness is wildly inconsistent past point-blank range and almost completely ineffective past about 5-10 meters, and almost all engagements in the game take place at considerable long range. Even your backup pistol is generally more effective in combat; in fact your best use for the shotgun is likely to kill a rebel soldier and take his weapon instead.
    • In Future Soldier, shotguns are only consistently instantly-lethal up to about ten meters. Given that almost all of the combat in the game takes place at long range, they're not terribly effective, even in missions where Mission Control recommends you bring one (ignore him). It gets even worse when you take into account the ability to put a short barrel on a shotgun and then load it with Dragon's Breath rounds to lower the range even further. A Let's Play of the game, in which viewers were allowed to suggest what weapons the players used, ended up having nearly fifteen minutes' worth of footage for a failure reel in one specific part of the 10th mission because they took the above suggestion and combined it with the MTs-255's unique (spread-increasing) flash hider, turning it into something they dubbednote  the "tactical blunderbuss".
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work:
    • One of the reasons GRAW is so popular in Mexico, especially among Mexico City gamers, is its attention to detail to the city's famous landmarks and locales. Even if you blow the crap out of them in some way or another.
    • In the first game, when you enter the Russian-occupied Lithuanian capital city of Vilnius, you can see that the Russian soldiers have taken down the Lithuanian flags from the Presidential Palace's flagpole and replaced it with the old Lithuanian SSR flag from the Cold War days. It makes sense, as the storyline states that the Russians are trying to reestablish the Soviet Union by invading and annexing former Soviet members. If you look closely nearby, you can see a real Lithuanian flag crumpled up on the ground. In the PS2 version of the game, if you beat that level, there is a mini-cutscene at the end showing an Allied soldier taking down the old Lithuanian SSR flag and replacing it with the real Lithuanian flag. Speaking of which, the actual city itself is accurately modeled on the real thing, featuring actual buildings rendered realistically and faithfully.
    • In the first game, the enemies' appearance also change as the campaign progresses. In the first mission, you're fighting South Ossetian separtist guerrillas, and thus, they wear a mix-match of uniforms with no patches. When you fight in the Baltics against the regular Russian army as they invade, the enemies wear Russian flora uniforms with Russian Ground Forces patches. When you sneak into a Russian Navy base to sabotage submarines, the enemies are wearing Russian Navy patches on their uniforms. The enemies' appearance also differs by where in the level they are. If they're outside, they'll be armed with rifles and wearing thick jackets to keep warm, and if they're inside, they'll be wearing regular uniforms with sidearms only.
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: Female members of the Ghosts obviously tend towards the small side, but also usually tend for bigger weapons. A particular standout is the Eritrean Defense Force specialist Jodit Haile from Desert Siege, a lanky woman with little visible muscle mass who nevertheless manages to lug around a PKM like it's an assault rifle with a slightly larger magazine.
  • South of the Border: Both Advanced Warfighter games mostly take place in Mexico.
  • Spider Tank:
    • One of these shows up in Alpha, armed with a Gatling.
    • One mission of Future Soldier has the Warhound, which carries a mortar and missile launcher.
  • Static Stun Gun: An optional sidearm (or underbarrel attachment) in Future Soldier multiplayer, which can be used for non-lethal takedowns in order to hack enemy players.
  • Stay Frosty: Said frequently in Advanced Warfighter.
  • Stealth-Based Mission:
    • One mission in the original game has you infiltrating a prison camp to rescue POW's who include the son of an important politician. The alarm is going to be raised at some point no matter what you do, but it's in your best interest to keep that from happening for as long as possible, since the alarm is tied to
    • A few missions in Future Soldier have segments where the player must avoid raising the alarms.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Long-time ghosts Ramirez and Allen in Future Soldier's opening mission.
  • Surprisingly Good Foreign Language: Both played straight and averted through the series.
    • The first game has Russians with perfect lines unaffected by any accent.
    • GRAW and an addon for the original game, Island Thunder, have some fairly well-spoken Spanish.
    • Future Soldier, however, zig zags this. Signs in Russian, of which there are a lot, are translated in such a negligently perverse manner that they create an impression of a deliberate parody. Kozak, though, being of Russian descent, speaks the language surprisingly adeptly, with authentic intonation and very thin accent (which can be explained by Gene Farber, Kozak's voice actor, descending from Belarus, where Russian is spoken ubiquitously, so the allusion creates additional realism on this part). Unfortunately, this is not true about most voice actors playing actual Russians: the actors are very sluggish about pronunciation and often get words wrong, leading to a ludicrous situation where the American-born Kozak speaks Russian much better than a Russian spec-ops operative, the general and even the Russian president. However, regular grunts are voiced by ethnic Russian actors and thus have none of the above problems, which confuses native speakers even more.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: One part of the second-to-last mission of Future Soldier has the player take on an APC. If the player doesn't have an assault rifle with an under-barrel grenade launcher, a weapons crate holding an AK-47 equipped with a grenade launcher will be marked on your HUD.
  • Tactical Shooter: The first games in the series played just like Rainbow Six, albeit more focused on wide-open areas.
  • Take Cover!:
    • Seen in the third-person Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of Advanced Warfighter.
    • Future Soldier, with its third-person based shooting system, utilizes a cover system. Players can vault over cover or sprint between cover as needed.
  • Team Mom: Saffron in Shadow Wars. The manual even outright states it. Richter even calls her "Mom" sometimes.
  • Technology Porn: There is an attention to detail on existing military hardware at its time, and the usage of high-technology military hardware that borders on Rule of Cool. The Ghosts, with all of the aforementioned tech on themselves, look like futuristic soldiers ahead of their time.
  • Token Enemy Minority: John Kozak, the Player Character of Future Soldier, is the son of Russian immigrants. This comes up on occasion, mostly as teasing from 30K, but also by way of having Kozak interrogate a captured member of Bodark, relay messages in Russian to a loyalist general they're secretly assisting, and going solo on a covert mission to rescue the Russian president.
  • Trick Bullet: Future Soldier features "Exacto Ammo" for sniper rifles, which can lock onto targets while scoped in and will redirect themselves mid-flight to nail an enemy in the head. To make up for the fact that it absolutely will hit once it's locked on, it takes a while to actually acquire lock (though this can be shortened if the enemy is marked on the cross-com, such as with a sensor) and the guidance system weakens the bullet, so unguided shots below the head deal less damage and it doesn't penetrate cover as well as regular bullets.
  • Turn-Based Tactics: Shadow Wars.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The setting for all of the games.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: The Steam version of Advanced Warfighter has the player fall through the terrain during a mandatory cutscene.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Prevalent up to Advanced Warfighter. In the 360 version you could pick up enemy guns and use machine gun nests, but the PC version only let you collect one magazine from the enemy's weapons, as long as yours was 9mm or 5.56mm, and couldn't even use their fixed emplacements. Advanced Warfighter 2 allowed you to claim an enemy machine gun nest and pick up enemy guns, while Future Soldier allows you to pick up enemy weapons and mount enemy emplacements as you please (in fact, one mission challenge requires you to kill enemies with 15 different weapons, which is only possible by using enemy guns).
    • You can use fixed emplacements in the original, but not pick up weapons/ammo.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: In the final level of Ghost Recon, civilians will be calmly wandering around the war-torn streets of Moscow as heavy fighting takes place mere blocks away from them. Given the history of the nation, it's likely their blasé attitude stems from having already personally seen similar crap at least three or four times in their lifetime.
  • Urban Warfare: Ghost Recon has a few urban missions, but GRAW and its sequel deal with this exclusively.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Future Soldier's second mission involves the Ghosts hunting down a warlord who has taken over a refugee camp. You get Challenges to avoid civilian casualties and kill every last one of the warlord's mooks terrorizing the people.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Incendiary ammo is an optional armament for machine guns and shotguns in Future Soldier; they do less damage than standard FMJ rounds in exchange for delivering damage over time, which is rather a moot point for shotguns, which often kill in one shot at close range. The only real reason to use it with a shotgun is to watch your victim fall to the ground screaming as the ammo burns him alive inside out. Sniper rifles get Raufoss ammo instead, which exchanges cover-penetration ability for outright exploding upon hitting someone.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Future Soldier fails your mission if you kill too many civilians. Ghost Recon had civilians as hostages and free-running during the final mission, which instantly fail the mission if they die. Other games avoided the issue by not having civilians in the combat zone.
  • Villainous Breakdown: In the penultimate level of Future Soldier, President Makhmudov appears on television in an attempt to shore up support. He starts out calm and collected, but becomes increasingly unhinged as the Ghosts dismantle his army.
  • Villainous Valor: In the last level of Desert Siege, Colonel Tesfaye Wolde, the Big Bad, will personally lead the dwindling Ethiopian army on a last-ditch tank charge against the Americans. Before the level, the briefing narrator remarks how it is a brave, but foolish attempt, as it will surely end in failure, which it does.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You!: Averted in the earlier entries, played straight in later installments. In the original game, you could get all of your named specialists killed (just like the original Rainbow Six), and you would be stuck playing with Red Shirt troops for the rest of the game. In the Advanced Warfighter and Future Soldier games, the mission will end if the player character or one of their squadmates dies.
  • Wolf Pack Boss: Most of the franchise's final bosses are ringleaders surrounded by a lot of bodyguards, comparable to the amount of enemies in major battles. Combat is similar elsewhere, although the enemies are concentrated in an area that you have to enter. In some cases, you might not notice the leader die because you were shelling the bodyguards with grenades.
  • Wretched Hive: If the events of the Advanced Warfighter series are anything to go by, Mexico is pretty much a hellhole of massive proportions (especially the city of Juarez, which sees more violence, plane crashes, gunbattles and deaths in two days than most other cities in the world see in a year).
  • Zee Rust: The first game was released in 2001 and is quickly coming up on its 20th anniversary. It's set in a then-future 2008, but most of your squadmates are outfitted like 1990s soldiers, wearing PASGT helmets, SPEAR BALCS vests, M81 cammies, etc.
  • 0% Approval Rating: Raven's Rock in Future Soldier seems to be wildly unpopular with the civilian populace, to the point that they end up being kicked out of office by a mob consisting of most of the civilian population of Moscow led by the deposed legitimate President. It's likely they remember what a screw-up the last hardline ultranationalist administration was 16 years ago from the original Ghost Recon.

Alternative Title(s): Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter


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