Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
Review by Scr33mingL3mur
"More like Ghost Recon AWESOME WHOOP-ASSERY"
I've been a fairly large fan of the Ghost Recon games, especially the Xbox ones (duh, I'm such a Microsoft fan boy). I've beaten the original more times than I've been to church in the last 10 years. But I digress.
Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter (henceforth known as GRAW) is a slightly futuristic first-person-shooter. Set amidst the urban and political chaos that is Mexico City in 2013, you play the role of elite Ghost soldier Captain Scott Mitchell. Under your command, you and your squad will run through the skirmish-filled Central American cityscape, utilizing a unique cover system that allows you to peek out and fire at enemies while minimizing the chance of you getting your dome taken off. You also gain control over the very cool Cross-Com system. This sexy feature is enabled by a robotic drone issued to your squad. With its camera system, this drone can stream video feeds to your HUD (which is very sleek and stylish). It even allows you to see the battlefield through the eyes of your squad members and any support vehicles you've been issued that mission, which can range from AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to the beastly Bradley tank (<3 30mm death).
The campaign is broken up into several missions, ranging from full-blown "DEFEND DAH PACKAGE FROM OVER NINE THOUSAND TROOPS" style levels, to the odd "Here's a pistol, go kill as many people as possible, and try to get this objective done", or even (my favorite), the "Quick, man this unlimited-ammunition chain gun that kills in 1 hit! Shoot ****!". Obviously, they're a little more complicated than that, but that's pretty much what it comes down to in the end. The campaign in general is stereotypical of a Ghost Recon game's campaign: a political crisis in some US-friendly country is happening, and the Ghost squad is needed to intervene. Missions vary from ridiculously easy, to "God ****ing damn it *reloads last checkpoint for 11th time" difficulties. The developers give you a sentiment to replay missions by giving you a letter grade on your mission's performance, but getting better grades doesn't do anything (no unlockables, no achievements, etc). If you were planning to buy this game just to play the single-player storyline, I'd advise otherwise.
Where this game earns its elite 9 out of 10 score is in the multiplayer. Several game modes, ranging from the classic FFA death match and Team Battles, to the insanely fun Co-Op Territory mode (2+ members hold out against a horde of Mexican rebels as they try to gain control of a certain chunk of the map). Shipped with the game, there are approximately 10 maps for you to strut your battlefield stuff, and more are available through the Xbox Live Marketplace as well as the April 2007 edition of Official Xbox Magazine.
The split-screen action by itself is amazingly fun. You and a friend can team your wits together to kill a certain amount of baddies, or take control of your own squad and out-command eachother to your hearts' contents. Personally, my favorite gametype is the Co-Op Territory, mainly because my brother and I would set the Enemy Density setting to "Infinite" and turned the time limit off, to see how long we could last before finally getting overrun, usually due to a lack of M60 ammunition and/or improperly banked fragmentation grenades.
Of course, if you have Xbox Live, you'll definitely want to play this gem. The online matches are ridiculously addicting. Match environments range from hectic firefights in cramped, dark quarters, to massive sniper battles on lush jungle maps. Trust me, the feeling of running through a wall of smoke with extremely low health, emptying the magazine of your MP5 and watching your killcount fly up is probably one of the most adrenaline-pumping feats you can accomplish on Xbox Live. Plus, the amazing amount of weaponry available makes it easy for you to pick a favorite weapon, and then start dominating online matches in an attempt to get very pro achievements, including reaching the top of leader boards and getting a career total of 10,000 kills.
The achievements in this game are nothing noteworthy; some of them would be considered impossible by most people (reaching the top of leader boards? Yeah right, not for me :/ ). You get achievements for beating every campaign level, and you can get more for doing it on the "Hard" difficulty setting.
The graphics look downright awesome, I remember taking cover behind a sandbag barrier and commenting how you could actually see the individual threads in the burlap sack, shortly before getting shot in the back several times. The characters look superbly real; the movements and animations look and feel very fluid. The sounds in this game are meh; half of the guns really sound the same, but the ambient sound is excellent and gives you the real feeling of being "there", whether it be cars honking in the urban maps or the birds chirping in the jungle environments. Not really huge concepts, but the touches make it highly appealing.
If you're looking for a great FPS for your 360, I'd go with GRAW. Good campaign, awesome split-screen and online multiplayer. Probably one of the best $60 I've spent on a 360 game so far.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/26/07
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