Review by Enders Shadow86
"Some may be complaining but I am not- this is a better game than the first installment."
There has never been a game that has changed the course of a series in such a drastic way as Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter did for the Ghost Recon series. For years, the Ghost Recon series stood in the shadow of the much better Socom games, which offered a much larger community, better gameplay, and the best online service for free. GRAW completely changed that and became a favorite for Xbox Live players with its stunning visuals and improved gameplay. Now, about one year after the release of its predecessor, Ubisoft has given us GRAW 2.
The story of GRAW 2 takes place a few days after the original GRAW and again deals with U.S. and Mexican relations sometime in the near fictional future. The basic premises is that there are leftist anti-American rebels in Mexico that find their hands on some nukes and of course, the ever war-hardened Ghosts are called upon to do the job and recover the nukes. The story is not all that riveting and ends up being highly dramatic and unnecessarily emotional. What is with the dramatic music as I'm trying to shoot down little red diamonds that are used to identify the enemies? Furthermore, the Mexico theme seems to have run its course and after GRAW, this just feels like too much.
In the single player missions you will see some small changes in gameplay right off the bat. For one, you can now use command full view, a feature that allows you to see through the eyes of one of your teammates. Now, will you ever use this new feature. No. Other than small and insignificant changes, the gameplay is exactly the same as the first. You can command your Ghost team, a UVA drone to locate enemies, some tanks, and some helicopters throughout the campaign mode. If you played GRAW then you will have no problem getting used to the controls.
Two major issues I had from the single player was the shortness and the lack of difficulty. When I mean the game is short, I mean that you can beat it in 5 or 6 hours. When I mean lack of difficulty I mean that you can beat it on the hardest difficulty in 5 or 6 hours, without any headaches. For those gamers who love a challenge in games, like myself, you will find this to be extremely disappointing.
The graphics and the visuals, like the first, are inspiring. Environments are detailed, backgrounds are highly textured and player models look very realistic. The lighting effects are great also, more so in the single player than online. Still, multiplayer graphics do not disappoint. The sound and music, although it can get dramatic in the single player, add to the realism of the game and make for a more atmospheric experience.
Where this game does shine is in its multiplayer. Again, it is more of the same from GRAW, but if you enjoyed GRAW then you can expect more of the same. There are some upgrades like clan support where you can set up and manage clan details from your roster to your webpage to your insignia. Although I was excited at some of the new features, I was still disappointed to find problems with microphones, entering rooms, and finding the games you want quickly and without a hassle. A few gametypes have been added that offer some variety and others have been tweaked to make the game more thrilling. Co-op players will have enough to drool over as will the more competitive deathmatch style players. Maps are very detailed with varied and unique designs, as opposed to some recent shooters like Rainbow Six: Vegas.
If you haven't played GRAW then you might pick up this game and run easily through the single player. There isn't much replay value through the single player unless you want to try to get the achievements for harder difficulties. Then again, a new player can probably beat the single player on the hardest difficulty. The Xbox Live play is solid on the other hand and will offer hundreds of gameplay hours for Live fans everywhere. Though GRAW 2 does have its flaws in both single player and multiplayer modes, it stands out as a bit better and more immersive than the first title. No, not a lot has changed, but developers did take the time to tweak a few things and correct some of their erroneous ways from GRAW.
Between the releases of such blockbusters as Gears of War, Halo 3, and Grand Theft Auto IV, GRAW 2 may be the sleeper that everyone is just playing for the meantime. Even still, it stands its ground and definitely can compete with these other titles because of its great visuals, atmospheric gameplay, and outstanding online play. If you are a military shooter fan, or someone who likes to use strategy and stealth when playing shooters, this game should be a purchase. If not, then trying out the multiplayer demo first will be a good idea. I for one, applaud Ubisoft for fixing some of the problems from GRAW and working off of its success to deliver another solid performace. I just wish they would have put more meat in the single player and fixed a few bugs from the online play. Some may be complaining but I am not- this is a better game than the first installment.
Gameplay - 8/10
Story - 5/10
Play Time/Replayability - 9/10
Final Recommendation - 8/10
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/19/07
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