Review by davey2crazy

"Pretty face, but completely overrated."

The Ghost Recon (or any Tom Clancy) series is a love it or hate it type game.

For me...I hated GRAW. But, I can respect it enough to give it credit where credit is due.

After reading SO many good reviews (from fanboys on message boards to seasoned magazine reviewers) I figured this was one of those 'breaking the mold' titles. I thought it was going to take gaming to the next level. Wrong.

Graphics: 9

This is the one area where Ghost Recon DOES shine, no matter if you love it or hate it. Even if you're a high-end PC gamer...you'd be hard pressed to find a better looking game. However, some pop-in in the distance and some shoddy face textures keep this from getting a 10. The lighting is awesome, and there are times where explosions literally force you to raise your eyebrows.

Sound: 8

The music is fabulous. I'm a composer myself, and I really like what I heard from Tom Salta. The gunshots also sound good (but not great), but the pistols sound absolutely fantastic. The chatter/crosscom sounds kill this area though. I couldn't stand listening to the general barking out orders. It was so scripted that it completely took me out of the experience. Nice try, though.

Gameplay: 6.5

Now, before anyone gets mad, I must tell you that I AM a tactical shooter fan. However, I'm more of a R6 (old school, none of this new crap) guy. The cover feature is nice, and there's plenty of orders for you to give out. However, your squadmates are about as smart as a pound of wet mice. They don't defend themselves unless they're standing still or you tell them to. There's so many times that I'd call for backup, and they were on the OTHER SIDE OF THE MAP. Not because I told them to stay there...just because they didn't follow. When they did show up, they got plucked off one by one because they didn't even go for cover. Also, I'm not a big fan of games that require so much thought that you have to restart missions 20 times before completion. Yes, I am up for a challenge as much as anyone else. However, "cheap" AI and a "challenge" are two different things. There's a fine line between realistic and fun. This game is a chore to play, plain and simple. Some people like that. I don't.

I'm not a fan of babysitting, either. In my opinion, the whole squad-order procedure needs a facelift...badly. Whether its trying to tell my partners to attack my target (which, if you aren't looking RIGHT ON THEM, they'll take off running towards where you pointed, thinking that I meant to "go to this position")
or telling trained helicopter pilots EXACTLY where to fire, it feels like the only person with ANY training is myself. Nobody thinks. They aren't aware of their situation. They have eyes just like I do, yet they're too stupid to realize there's an enemy 10 feet away shooting at them?

There's nothing wrong with commanding squadmates. However, when they're basically braindead until you tell them exactly what to do, it defeats the purpose of having them to begin with. "Rogue Spear" had excellent team mechanics. Maybe I'm jaded because I grew up with more oldschool games, but jeez, how do people find fun in constantly telling morons how to do their job?

Multiplayer gave a significant amount of options to exploit, but no one likes to communicate online. Also, MP loses the cover feature and several other touches that made SP tolerable for the most part. Splitscreen loses the ability to go into 3rd person, which is weak, because 3rd person is easily the best view in the game (IMO).

16 player co-op is lackluster, to say the least. Yes, it is nice to be able to team up with your friends for some objective-based fun. But...the missions are weak and have no story. "Go here. Kill. Repeat." Umm...okay? If they fleshed it out a bit, and made it make sense as to why you were there in the first place, rather than saying "Okay, you're in a fishing village for no reason and you have to kill these guys to win"...it would have been a lot more fun.

Also, there was nothing innovative about anything in the game. Yes, there were several things done well, but umm, I don't exactly see where people think that GRAW reinvents the genre. Much like PD:Z, there's some solid ideas there, but nothing that separates the GAMEPLAY from games that were released several years ago.

Other: 6

There's a weak customize character function that I wish they would have just done without. Yes, I like to have my own personal guy in the game. But, there's hardly any options to tweak...which leaves me wondering why it's there in the first place. (Sort of like FC:I)

In summary:

In this game, graphics took first priority, and gameplay was shot in the foot. This was my first Ghost Recon, but not my first Tactical shooter. Maybe it was the setting, or just the lack of interest, but this game does nothing for me. My advice: Before falling into the hype like I did, rent this game first and see if you like it. I wish I would have.

7/10.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 03/20/06


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