Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars

Game review by
Erin Bell, Common Sense Media
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars Game Poster Image
Compelling tactical strategy game with mild violence.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Players control an elite American squad sent to stop a megalomaniac Russian politician from building a Russian dictatorship and re-igniting the Cold War, frequently saving civilians in the process. There is, however, a persistent theme of war, and all of the action revolves around fighting.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The soldiers that the player controls use violence to solve problems, but they are clearly portrayed as the "good guys," and team work is emphasized through the squad members working together. 

Ease of Play

Before each mission, players can select one of three difficulty levels. Thorough tutorials walk the player through all aspects of gameplay.


The goal is to eliminate human enemies from the play-field using a wide variety of guns and explosive devices. Enemies yell out when hit, and disappear when defeated. There's no blood or gore.


Occasional use of "hell" in character dialog.


Part of the Tom Clancy franchise of games and other media.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars contains plenty of combat using guns and explosives, but the fighting is tactical rather than visceral, with an emphasis on removing enemies from the play-field rather than racking up kills. There is no blood or gore, and only very occasional colorful language like "hell."

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What's it about?

In TOM CLANCY'S GHOST RECON: SHADOW WARS, Ghost team -- an elite and secretive U.S. squad of special forces soldiers -- is sent in to respond to increasing military tensions in Eastern Europe as a megalomaniac Russian politician tries to manipulate his way into power and usher in a new Cold War. The player leads the six-member squad, who each have different specializations such as sniper, medic, and engineer, through a variety of missions to suppress bandits and henchmen and restore stability to the area. Play is turn-based and strategic. Players have a wide variety of weapons and special attacks, such as air strike, at their disposal. The action takes place on a grid with varying terrain that can be used to a player's advantage.

Is it any good?

Shadow Wars is an engaging turn-based strategy game whose thorough tutorial and three levels of difficulty make it accessible to newcomers as well as veterans. A meaty campaign mode offers a diverse set of well-designed scenarios, from building infiltrations to all-out assaults. There's also a multiplayer mode where two friends can play opposing sides by passing the 3DS back and forth. Graphics are only so-so, and the 3D effects are not impressive, but if you're looking for a solid portable strategy game rather than something to show off the 3DS's graphical effects, then Shadow Wars is an outstanding choice for teens and older.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the importance of teamwork. What are some real-life examples of how people can use teamwork to solve a problem?

  • Families can also talk about tactical board games like chess, where each playing pieces has different attributes that can be used to win.

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
  • Price: $24.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: UbiSoft
  • Release date: March 27, 2011
  • Genre: Strategy
  • ESRB rating: T for Mild Violence
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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