Qucik to get back into the game, Ubisoft fires off another "Advanced Warfighter" game in under a years time. Once again the Ghosts have been called into action, and like before its their job to stop another escalating threat of war between Mexico and the United States. Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 continues on the bright new path of the Ghost Recon series for the next generation of gaming, and we couldn't be more pleased. Suit up ghosts, here is Extreme Gamer's review of GRAW2.
Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (GRAW2) is hot, and rightfully Ubisoft has wasted no time firing out another round of Ghost Recon. The first Ghost Recon next-generation game was more than a success and helped push the series forward, and moved the franchise up on par with Ubisofts other hit Tom Clancy games like Rainbow Six, and Splinter Cell. It could be argued that Ghost Recon is now Ubisofts #1. I guess that depends on the sales because from a gaming standpoint, GRAW2 is an improvement on an already awesome foundation of a game.
The plot line revisits Mexico and its continued rebellious state against the United States. As Ghost solders the American government has placed you in behind enemy lines to siphon the madness. There is no time for a shot of tequila, as caption Scott Mitchell you suit up and become an invisible killing machine, a ghost. Along with your teammates and any additional support you gain during your mission, you traversing the hostile enemy territory you search out enemy camps, hidden missiles, and rescue downed solders, amongst other impossible feats. The ghost team faces a number of grave settings in this war torn theme that post more of a challenge then before. From urban streets, to the close quarters of building debris, to desolated desert locations, the ghost have no option for failure and you have to be relentless against the hostile forces. The theme is similar to the first edition of a hostile nation fighting within and against its borders. Advanced Warfighter 2 becomes another dark and gritty setting that keeps the death count rising, with blood on your hands and job to do.
GRAW2 improvements come in the way of slightly improved improved A.I., more tricky situations, better enemy placement along with more choices for the player to perfect your tactical offense. Even with GRAW2 amped up, it strange that I never felt a challenge while playing the game on normal. After defeating the first level in normal, I decided to go back and start the game over in hard which made the experience more balanced. The enemy is basically the same assorted rebels that you had in the first Ghost Recon except this time their numbers are more, their eyes are a little sharper and they have access to more heavy armor. For gamers who have played through the first Advanced Warfighter game, I suggest you give the hard mode a try right off the get go, and then move down if it’s too challenging.
Like the original Advanced Warfighter you will have solo and team missions set along with a few vehicle based sequences that are actively spaced between each other. Each aspect of the action is appealing, although controlling a team seems to be more explosive and endearing. I felt the vehicle missions where approved upon, but they still feel a little out of place along side the urban based squad combat. I wouldn’t take them out because they are oddly satisfying, but it is a little much for the series. I don’t want to see GRAW turn into a modern version of Call of Duty.
Controlling extra vehicles and your teammates is still a hassle that turns into a small bit of micro management frustration. This really can’t be avoided and Ubisoft made on necessary adjustment that improves this situation greatly. By pressing the [rb] right bumper you can now get a full screen video feed of any asset on that battlefield. This means you can send a team of Ghosts to another section of the map and control them in first person. It doesn’t grant you full control, but it gives more options along with a better sit rep on your team. This follows through will all the vehicles in the game including friendly tanks. Until they can somehow lessen the burden of control on the gamer, this is a huge step forward for the Ghost Recon series.
What the new perspective and control also does is make the Cypher actually useable, and fun to navigate in a top down view. GRAW2 also hosts the new inclusion of a remote controlled scout vehicle called a Mule. The mule is mainly used to re-supply ground troops along with providing medical services. The Mule looks like a compact lunar rover with armor. The Mule controls the same as a solder in the game, so it’s easy to point the drone around and keep track of this little guy. Even though the Mule is useful, it seems like an unnecessary addition to the player’s bag of tricks. I hardly used the Mule, only for its required use of grabbing a specific weapon. This could be directly related to the difficulty level as well, it’s not the Mules fault I have a full gun of ammo and a spotless health bar.
If I had to make a complaint about GRAW2 it would be that the game feels like it’s over once you get the ball rolling. The single player campaign is packed full of action over a number of settings, but its over all too fast. I would have liked them to expand some of the areas over a few more minutes of action to get more life out of the game, and some areas the cemetery in level 2 was so eerie and impressive that I didn’t want it to end, and two minutes later, it was over. What saves GRAW2 from its short average six hour single player section is the bountiful multiplayer game that is still jacked up, along with some co-op action that can keep you busy.
It’s understandable once you boot up live and share in the multiplayer experience why Ghost Recon is still one of the most played games on Xbox Live. GRAW is simply well put together and fun. Like Sony’s Socom series, Ghost Recon has everything from clan based team games, to single player frag fests with up to 16 players in a room. The co-op game is equally a lot of fun and challenging. Getting a group to work as a team can be a drawn out experience on Xbox Live, but once you get a good team going the joy starts. You really can’t dispute the quality of the multiplayer and now the visuals have even leaked over online, GRAW2 should be unstoppable for the majority of 2007.
Graphically, GRAW2 is like candy to the eye. Ubisoft has really optimized their gaming engine and added more atmospheric effects to make GRAW2 one of the best looking games for the Xbox 360. The lighting and atmospheric effects like dust and smoke are amazing really help build up the visual ambiance. This goes past the effects off a pretty sunset and some smoke because Ubisoft has also spent some time redefining the character models, explosion physics and textures. Everything is ultra crisp and clear.
The audio is still amazing, and can be classified on par as the original Advanced Warfighter. I noticed a few extra little touches in the way of more dialog, accents and descriptions from your teammates during combat situations. The other effects are well done with an impressive array of explosions on one level thanks to air support from above. Notable is a lack of ambient noise that had more of an effect in the similar franchise of Full Spectrum Warrior. I’m sure as the game develops; Ubisoft Paris can look at more in game situations that would call for some real spectacular sounds.
Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 expands and improves on the original game with more multiplayer options, a refined single player game, and even more impressive visuals. GRAW2 should be a definite game that all Xbox 360 owners need to check out. The question to buy, or rent, should weigh on the time you spend online. Multiplayer fans Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 is an easy “Buy”, but single player gamers without Xbox Live should pick GRAW2 up for a weekend first. If you ever had reservations about Xbox Live, GRAW2 could be the game that makes the upgrade from Silver to Gold worth your while. Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 is a worthy sequel to one of last years best games.
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 03.16.07
Groundbreaking Visual Experience: The war zone in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 comes to life as you navigate through trash-strewn streets and pick off enemies from behind bomb-scarred structures. The cutting-edge physics and particle systems will show you some of the most intense and realistic explosions, smoke, and environment destruction ever seen in a video game. Dynamic lighting and shadows will morph as real-time day/night cycles and a constantly changing weather system require you to adjust to the changing conditions on the fly.
All-New Battlegrounds: For the first time ever, the Ghosts will defend U.S. soil from a cross-border attack, taking the fight to all-new locations. The Ghosts will battle enemies in mountain terrains, barren deserts and even on their home turf in El Paso, Texas. Each environment presents its own benefits and challenges and will call for fresh tactical approaches.
Vastly Improved Artificial Intelligence (AI): Watch your back as rebels send their own team members to flank your position or gain vantage points by utilizing vertical gameplay to pick you off from the rooftops above. Improved squad-mate AI will now feed you more of the information you need with descriptive commands like “enemy spotted behind red truck ahead.”
Improved Cross-Com: The revolutionary new Cross-Com 2.0 will give the player more information than ever before. You will be able to see what your friendly forces see in the top left display and the click of a button will expand that to full-screen view for a clearer and more precise picture. This will give you a more comprehensive view of the entire battlefield. The new Full Command View will allow unprecedented precision in developing and issuing tactical plans on the battlefield.
Expanded Support: Command lethal air strikes with jet fighters, gain mobile cover for otherwise impassable situations and replenish armaments on the battlefield using an unmanned artillery MULE. Players can now heal their team on the battlefield, including squad leader Scott Mitchell, with an all-new Medic class of soldier.