Review by DouglasFett

"Ghost Recon: Deadvanced Warfighter"

Where to begin? Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter for the Xbox is not as “advanced” as it could be.

I bought the game last year, having played it a few years prior with a friend of mine. It looked pretty darn fun. It had all the things that makes a lot of Clancy games fun – squad tactics, urban warfare, and plain ol' terrorist huntin'.

Turns out a lot of the options that made the 360 version great, and even previous Ghost Recon games, were notoriously absent from the Xbox version. More on this below.

1.Graphics 2/10: Plain like two slices of white bread. I honestly don't know how Ubisoft managed to make the next version of the Ghost Recon series so…plain. Let me reiterate. They are not terrible. But they're not crisp. Even the first Ghost Recon game looked better. Seriously.

2.Sound: Nothing ever really struck me music wise. On the other hand, the voices were generally ok. Of course, it doesn't help that the character's mouths didn't match with what they were saying. See, in the pre-mission briefing, they have the loading screen, while talking heads in the upper right corner of the screen blab about the situation. The scripts are a little ridiculous (like some direct-to-video action flick, see), which doesn't help the story building.

3.Story: Again, the usual Ubisoft sponsoring of American Neo-Imperialism, this time set in Mexico. There's some Mexican rebels led by a pissed off Mexican colonel, who of course was trained by us. On the other hand, unlike other Clancy games, the story is a little more memorable because it's discussed by the characters out in the open, rather than the player character only receiving tidbits of information here and there

4.Gameplay 1/10: Ok, let me explain that lonely number 1 there. The game runs fine, but…yah.

-Controls: When you have so many options in a game, there are a lot of controls to know. It doesn't help that the pause menu doesn't have a tab for controls so players can remind themselves of how to do this and that. So when you are supposed to give major commands (IE sniper teams, air-to-ground bombardment), you have to fiddle for a few moments before finally getting the commands to work. For some reason, when I played a few days ago, the R-trigger wasn't working, which means I couldn't fire my rifle. I then put in a Call of Duty game and it worked just fine.

-Squads: Last time I checked, two men didn't make up a squad. That's right. For all the years that Clancy games have had the player leading four-six man squads, now all you have in this version is you and ONE AI TEAMMATE. I honestly don't know what Ubisoft was thinking. It's not like the Xbox couldn't handle three-five other AI squadmates…even Rainbow Six, released in 1998 back on the N64, had the player commanding three AI squadmates. See my point? De-advancement, plain and simple. Oh, my theory gets better.

-Weapons: You can't unlock extra weapons through achievements or rank, or even choose weapons before a mission like in previous games. A bit disappointing. There's something very fun about unlocking weapons, outfits, and other goodies in Clancy games, and this feature is completely absent from the Xbox port.

-Extra Features: None to speak of. There is no terrorist hunt like in previous Ghost Recon games (and even Rainbow Six games for that matter), [as mentioned previously] no unlockable weapons or outfits, not even unlockable concept art. The only options besides the standard single player campaign are the cooperative mode and multiplayer versus. Which in my book doesn't count for a “bang for your buck.” Any generic first person shooter can have those, so what is it that makes GR:AW so special? Beats me. Ask Ubisoft what they wanted players to take away from this game.

My main gripes with the game are the complete lack of features (mainly the terrorist hunt and the extra squad mates) that make Clancy games fun. So really, all you have with the xbox version of GR:AW is a watered down, bare bones, fresh off the grill with no marinade, first person shooter. Because seriously. There are tons of first person shooters out there that are a lot more engaging than this one, and that also actually have extra features (Call of Duty weapon galleries…heck, even the first Splinter Cell game had video diaries.)

Because let's face it. FPSs were a novelty in the 90s, people played them because they were unique. Then they advanced a little (yup, classic Goldeneye) and matured in the 2000s, spawning hundreds and thousands of little FPSs. So in this day and age, game developers can't just slap a title on an FPS, sell it, and expect people to like it. They need to be engaging, unique, something that outshines the dozens of FPSs that are in competition with them. Far Cry, now that was a good FPS. That had a lot of fun features in the single player (hang gliders, jeeps, etc), not to mention a level builder. Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter for the Xbox, on the other hand, doesn't offer much of anything. So my advice, steer clear of this game, or at least this port. If you really want it, get it for the 360.

Reviewer's Rating:   0.5 - Unplayable

Originally Posted: 11/13/09

Game Release: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (US, 03/09/06)

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