STAFF REVIEW of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 (Xbox 360)

Thursday, March 15, 2007.
by Adam Rivard

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 Box art It only feels like a few months ago that we were peaking our heads round corners and shooting up some Mexican rebels but yet the inevitable sequel is already upon us? The question is, can a sequel really be pumped out that fast and live up to its title. Read on to get the lowdown on GRAW 2, the new features and everything else that goes a long with this realistic shooter.

Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 takes place almost directly after the final events of the first game. There?s still a bit of a commotion in Mexico, but now the fight is getting closer to American shores. You?ll be tasked with leading your team of Ghosts, completing missions to try and stop the rebels from winning the day. Straight away the impression you?ll get from GRAW 2 is that this game is pushing many boundaries.

If you were a fan of Graw 1 you will definitely recognize Graw 2 as being very similar. Not much has changed in terms of the menus, loby, music. It seems to me that Graw 2 is really just an expansion of the first one. The area that has probably received the most attention has been the AI of your team mates. Think back to GRAW 1, at how many times your supposedly highly trained squad mates would do something stupid. Tell them to run to an area and a lot of the time they would simply make a mad dash for it, regardless of what popped up along the way, and generally giving you the feeling that you were actually babysitting.

That isn?t the case any more. Now your squad mates will actively seek cover. It may sound like a basic achievement but it couldn?t be underlined enough how important it is to the new GRAW 2 experience. The more complex friendly AI is also helped along by another rather large change to the way gameplay works.

As commander; you now face two options, two modes if you will, for how you wish to tackle a mission. The first mode, recon, is a stealthy option, whilst the second, assault, is for those who fancy all out gun-slinging. The mode that you set your team to (you can set individual team mates different modes too) completely alters their behavior. All is very well explained in the training ?mission?.

This whole recon mode would be far less useful if it weren?t for another new feature. As commander your now able to hook straight into a controllable camera of your squad mates? helmets. Not only that but you can issue commands directly from the camera. Want your guy to move in the direction you're looking? Easy, simply right click, select the option and he?ll start heading there. You could actually play the game like an RTS and not even have to go around shooting people yourself, if you wanted.

The alternative to recon is assault. This is pretty much what you think it is, your soldiers will engage enemies when they see them, everything is hyper aggressive with the intention to kill and maim being primary. The choice between the two makes for some very interesting gameplay dynamics in both single and multiplayer.

All this is no good if the maps aren?t up to scratch par. Well I?m glad to tell you that the developer has done its utmost to come up with some new and interesting environments for you to fight it out in. Now the battle will take place in all kinds of areas, rural and urban, at both at day and night. Graw 2 also has new weapons, new multiplayer maps, better clan support on Xbox Live; an explosive expansion that will bring joy to most Ghost Recon Fans. The single player campaign has 3 levels of difficulties that you can experience first hand in 11 exciting new missions.

The game also features a great mix of sound work from the whining of the mortars and rolling of the Mule to the orchestral laden score that really drive home the level of excitement available during any given moment of combat. The game has also remained a beauty with character models being modeled really well, beautiful particles of dust kicking into the sky, lovely explosions of flame and smoke, and once again, as always from Ubisoft, some of the best lighting in the business.

If you were a fan of GRAW then you'll have a lot to love for GRAW 2. If you never gave the original a shot or even did and found faults with it, GRAW 2 spiced up enough things (both new and old) to convince you to give it a first or second shot.

Overall: 9.4 / 10
Gameplay: 9.4 / 10
Visuals: 9.6 / 10
Sound: 9.4 / 10


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