If you had your doubts on the next generation of gaming, be prepared to put your confidence back into the new. Ubisoft has returned with their next-generation adaptation of the popular Ghost Recon series. Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter makes a solid mark on the Xbox 360, as well as the Ghost Recon series.
Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (G.R.A.W) is another Tom Clancy game series from French based developer Ubisoft. Advanced Warfighter is the fifth Ghost Recon game in the series, and with the power of the 360, it's undisputedly the best. Although the use of modern squad combat in an urban setting makes GRAW feel an awful like Full Spectrum Warrior from THQ they have their differences. Both are similar in style, but each games stylings and balance of strategy make them different enough.
The story behind GRAW is moderately interesting and not surprising combines the Tom Clancy signature of international drama roused into an intense familiar structure of unfolding militant events. The year is 2013, and an internal revolution has uprooted in Mexico City. Guerrilla terrorist are trying to seize power of the city, and ambush a meeting between the North American powers. Of course our Canadian Prime Minister gets scratched "ouch, that's a quick run for Mr. Harper", and the American President, along with the Mexican leader come out unharmed. It's up to you as Scott Mitchell captain of the Ghost Recon squad to fix the nations problems by recovering government material, safeguarding important people, and eliminating the renegade forces. All in a days work for a Ghost. I hope they have good health insurance.
One of the most impressive factors about Ghost Recon is how they bring the story to the player. GRAW does a superb job innovativing from the standard mission/cut scene into a more real-time storyline. The story updates by using the pop up screens on your HUD, during the action and when you are being transported between locations. This fluid storytelling aspect keeps Ghost rolling and makes it easy for you to forget time once in the game. For the first time in Ghost Recon game we have a great sense of flowing continuity and importance.
The missions in the game has are fairly diverse and are spread out between each other. Most missions are fairly long and strung together by auto saving checkpoints. There is no save which is good, and the systems checkpoints are placed in spread out locations. Each mission also seems to have a snowball effect, starting out simple like examine an area to destroy tanks and take down an army single handed. Being pushed along is a good idea to keep the momentum going and you'll notice a return of the helicopter shooting mini-game from Rainbow Six: Lockdown. I did have a few comments to make about the escort missions because the AI is simply brain dead. They really should have made the escort into a separate control panel, so you could direct them more efficiently. Other then a few misplaced bullets the mission variety and consistent urgency keeps the gameplay fresh.
Controlling the Ghost squad might seem too complex at first, but after a few minutes you'll be in the full swing of things. The only time when the controls get a bit tricky is when you control multi units at once. Controlling your character and your team of three Ghosts is pretty straight forward covers the majority of the game. The controls couldn't be laid out better. You can commodiously put you squad into two modes from an aggressive (attack) to recon (stealth) modes for different situations. You also get to control tanks, spy cameras, and helicopters, but it's all simplified and easy to grasp. It seems like a fair amount of time was spent making this game as accessible as possible and it shows with the well placed button mapping. After an half-hour or so G.R.A.W will start to feel more natural.
The Ghost team has a few new tricks up there sleeve this time around and compared to your enemy you'll have a huge technological advantage. The main new gadget is the visor which is mounted into your helmet. This gadget shows you everything from enemy locations once located, friendly units, TV broadcasts, and even your team mates view. The whole system is placed over the screen as a HUD and it works considerably well. Although with this new system it makes the game a little too easy because enemies will be highlighted by a red block once they are spotted. This makes them easily visible through terrain and a target for some blind shooting. I guess that is the point with the whole "advanced warfighter soldier" compared to a normal soldier.
Along with the new high-tech HUD they have introduced a new 3D tactical map. This map generates a rough outline of your area for a better understanding of your surrounding terrain. The interface also acts as a way to move your squad if you don't prefer the normal on screen cursor. The 3D map is most useful when flanking the enemy, or setting up important look out spots. It is an interesting idea, and a cool asset to your battle plans, but I found myself rarely using this feature and sticking to a more traditional zigzag formation. You will also have the opportunity to scout around with the AUV Cypher (Floating Spy). The Cypher works using this 3D map and is good for targeting enemies and helping you get a closer look at certain areas. Again, a great idea, but something I really didn't end up using. I know no one will be calling me General.
Xbox Live has a new top dog with Ghost Recon being released. It shouldn't be long before Ubisoft GRAW is taking on leading online favorites like Perfect Dark Zero and Halo 2. The multiplayer portion is well rounded with something for everyone including a killer co-op mode. The co-op mode supports up to fifteen players over four modes, if I only had fifteen friends. Even with a few it's great to run through with your friends as you blast through the opposition. Normal adversarial play is also amped up as well. With multiple spawn points and a number of modes, and maps there is plenty to keep you busy. I really dug the size and variation of spots on the map, although the four characters you can choose from didn't seem to affect the game considerably. All and all if you're fan of Xbox Live and online games then you will need Ghost Recon in your collection.
Advanced Warfighter collectively is pretty awesome, but I still found some faults in the shoddy enemy artificial intelligence. These renegade mercenaries must have been dipping in the cheap tequila because their aim can be horrible, and they like to stand around and get shot. At times the A.I. can be tricky, but for the majority of the game you can pick them off easily. Once you have cover, they are done. That said Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter packs in a solid effort and should keep any gamer content until the next Tom Clancy affair is released.
Graphics & Sound
The presentation factor in GRAW is off the hook! The graphic and sound quality is at the top of its game and performs beautifully through the 360. Both the visuals and the sound are crisp, clean, and technically masterful. The next generation architecture really puts gaming up a new level and it's now totally apparent after playing GRAW. I'd be here all day if I went in-depth about all the nice graphical touches and effects, along with the sound so I'll just touch on a few points.
First the visual effects on the visor, explosions, and extras like dust are outstanding. From bullets whizzing by your character to your visor signal being scrambled it all ads up for an amazing look. The animation, setting, and level design are also excellent and the lighting tops it off showing an impressive range of colour bringing this world alive. The urban setting also boasts some authentic sounding ambiance, and the explosions. they couldn't sound better. Now that developers had more time with the 360 it's starting to really show and Advanced Warfighter is leading the pack.
Advanced Warfighter really surprised and is the best "Ghost" game to date. Honestly out of all the Tom Clancy games, Ghost Recon has always been the one that's lagged behind, but now that has changed. G.R.A.W is the one game that will make your 360 reluctant friends go "wow". The ghosts have the mojo and I'm looking forward to more installments of the new Ghost Recon.
Ubisoft lands on tops the current 360 collection of games and has produced the first glimpse into the next generation of Tom Clancy games. From every standpoint Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter excels and becomes the first must have shooter of the system. Visually outstanding, a varied and satisfying single player campaign, seamless action, and sweet online features make Ghost Recon the total package. Ubisoft's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter is must buy!
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 03.15.06
Next-generation gaming technology: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 3 is built from the ground up for next-generation consoles, maximizing increased power to deliver phenomenal graphics and a host of innovative features. Current-generation versions will be custom-tailored for each platform.
Become the soldier of the future: Gain access to the future of military technology. Using a fully integrated combat system with cutting-edge weapons and communication systems, gamers will embody the soldier of the future. Based on actual military research, the Ghosts give gamers a realistic view of how war will be fought in the next decade.
Revolutionary feature: Use the revolutionary Cross-Com, a communication device powered by satellite technology. Attached to the soldier's monocle, the Cross-Com provides full situational awareness and command of the battlefield. Command the Ghost squad and remote allied forces and drones, and direct artillery and air strikes. See what the squad sees and receive visual and auditory intelligence from allied forces and unmanned drones.
Stunning urban environment: One capital, multiple locations. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 3 takes place entirely in Mexico City , one of the world's largest cities. A stunning, meticulously detailed universe will provide complete immersion in the urban war of the future.
Top-notch multiplayer experience: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 3 returns to deliver industry-leading multiplayer and cooperative gameplay for one of the hottest online franchises.