Review by dannyman02

"From Great to Good for Ghost Recon"

The Ghost Recon series has always been about ultra-realistic, ground-hugging gameplay that involved highly tense and risky situations that often ended up with you dying in one shot. GRAW intended to continue that tradition, an intent at which it succeeds.

Graphics 9/10:
Definitely, some of the best graphics I have ever seen, similar in style to those found in Need for Speed: Most Wanted, in my opinion. The game's textures are quite detailed, as are the player and tango models. The animations work perfectly and seamlessly blend into the game, further enriching the experience. The HDR is quite gorgeous, and the vast cityscape is rendered gorgeously. Ubi never fails to deliver. However, I have a high-end rig (2.5ghz A64 X2, Radeon X1900XTX, 2 GB PC4000 RAM), and many of the lower-end computers out there may not have what it takes to let GRAW 'live it out'.

Sound 9/10:
Excellent, EXCELLENT sound work. The great sound helps with the atmosphere, as you hear bullets whizzing past your shoulder and pinging off the old car behind you, the rumble of a tank approaching your position, or the whine of a jet as it flies over you after fullfilling an airstrike request. The voice work is well-done, and although it sounds a bit-too 'read off the script'-ish at times, it makes you feel like you're in a real war surrounded by real people. The music is also quite atmospheric and reacts to the situation faced by you and your squadmates. Tom Salta has created a sweeping cinematic score for this deserving game. No wonder it got nominated to be the Best Video Game Soundtrack for the MTV VMA awards. Tango voiceovers are highly convincing as well, shouting Spanish as they close in to be killed by your SCAR-L.

AI (6/10):
Quite honestly, lesser of the AIs I've seen during my gaming career. In the following command, the rest of your squad trails 15 yards behind you, the squad members will never go EXACTLY where you want them. The worst case scenario is when you order them to go to a corner, and they round it FACING you and with their backs toward possible hostiles, generally getting shot, killed, and with you FURIOUSLY reloading a previous checkpoint. However, they know when to take cover, and seem to take advantage of vantage points/high-rises quite well. The hostile AI reacts accordingly to your actions and uses cover just as well as your squadmates do. However, the AI still feels rather lackluster and incomplete.

Physics (8/10):
Quite good, even without a PhysX card. Example: You shoot a grenade using the GL attached to your SCAR. The grenade crashes into a hostile vehicle, the grenade explodes, the vehicle explodes because of the grenade, nearby cars' alarms go off because of the sound, eventually die because they also explode to the immense amount of shrapnel generated, nearby lights fall down. In other words, one explosion leads to another. It's an excellent domino effect portrayal of real life.

Gameplay (7/10):
Sure, it might not be Grand Theft Recon, but the gameplay is highly open ended, giving you a Brothers in Arms-ish tactical feel. There are always multiple routes to an objective, giving you plenty of possibilities, and this is quite accessible thanks to the Cross-Com Tactical Map system, giving you an overhead view of the field and allowing you to command your squadmates a bit like an RTS. However, it lacks fluidity and cohesiveness unlike the Xbox 360 version, and it feels like gameplay is delivered in 'blocks', which is a tradeoff, since the X360 version isn't as open ended but instead quite a bit more linear. A lot of fun comes in when you are able to call in airstrikes and gunship-support, and it is sheer joy to unleash such havoc on the rebels. The Cross-Com, sadly, isn't

Replayability (8.5/10):
The open-endedness gives it a nice feel, and is near-endlessly replayable. The multiplayer, albeit being highly buggy, is excellent once you start.

Overall:
8/10
Good game, but something that could've, should've, deserved to be, and probably would've been better had Red Storm worked on it.
The series is now merely good, instead of great, IMO, but still quite an exceptional franchise.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/09/06


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