Review by Enders Shadow86

"Not as Adavnced as You Think, But Still Good"

I've never felt such a contradiction when reviewing a game. At times I felt that Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter was an amazing game, having fixed many of the problems of the old Ghost Recons. At other times, I felt like taking my disk out and smashing it against the wall out of frustration. It was extremely difficult to give one rating to this game for two reasons. The first reason I already mentioned. At times the game really impressed me, but at others it felt like the same old game with nicer graphics. The second reason it was tough to give one rating to the G.R.A.W. was because the single player mode gave me a completely different experience than the Xbox Live mode. Although G.R.A.W. was at times a frustrating experience that didn't feel “advanced” at all, it still is a fun game that Xbox 360 owners should have a run at.

The Ghost Recon series has always been known for its terrible teammate AI. Let's just say they don't like to follow orders and are basically useless in any mission. G..R.A.W. developers looked to improve in this section and some notable differences are apparent. Teammates follow orders most of the time, but some mistakes are made on occasion. The problem I had with the teammate AI was that they were still much too computerized and much too useless. I'll give you an example. Here is what happened to me several times:

In the middle of a gunfight I order my team to stay behind a wall while I go to the road and try to take out some tangos. Well, while I am zoomed in, one of my teammates automatically decides to run into the road and lay down some fire. While I am in zoomed in I don't see my buddy Ramirez run into the road and I shoot him in the back of the head (a couple of times because it unrealistically takes more than one shot). He goes down and grabs his stomach, not his head. I had no idea his brains where coming out of his stomach, but whatever. Anyway, this guy is wounded so I go up to him and heal him with my health kit, which is nowhere displayed when you pick a team (it just comes automatically with you because you are a Ghost). So you heal Ramirez and then he gets up and says “Thanks for saving me captain.” So let's get this straight. I shoot a guy in the head a couple of times, he falls down and grabs his stomach, and then when I heal him, he says thank you and calls me his hero.

Teammates are also pretty useless. You can shoot them all in the beginning of a mission and run the whole thing yourself- easily. Sometimes, I even had teammates die between objectives without enemies firing on them! It was just a glitch! The command system for them is horribly simplistic, using a point system to move your team. It's easy, but for the more competitive gamer, it will be much too skimpy. You can order your team to go somewhere by pressing up on the d-pad, or by going to the off-screen intel map and placing them in the map. You can also switch the team between recon (silent) or assault mode. This is also uselss. I think your teammates just want to get shot. They never use the recon mode correctly and instead just run into open area and open fire anyway when they see an enemy.

There is a cross-cam on the upper left corner of your screen that shows you what your teammates can see. It is a nice touch although it too was not needed. Actually, it helped me during online play, but I rarely used it in the single player mode. You can also command a UAV drone, a Bradley M1 tank, and an attack helicopter through the cross cam. This is one area where I think G.R.A.W excelled. By giving you command of a wide variety of tools, you were able to command your own little army.

Enemy AI is also improved but still not as advanced as I would expect for a next-gen game. Enemies do seem a little more human when they try to find cover, but they still do many things wrong. They come out in the open too much, just stand there when you begin shooting them, and don't use teamwork and strategy when they know your location.

The level designs are not open as other reviewers have pointed out. The missions are still very linear and have you getting to a location usually only through one route (maybe 2). What makes up for the linear missions is the original map designs and overall vastness of the each mission. There is a lot of room to cover and a lot of places to go.

With all the negatives of the single player mode, I still believe it is a very atmospheric game. With that I mean, many things blend together to create some realism. First, is of course the amazing graphics. Mexico City has never looked so good! The colors are vibrant and the textures are smooth and just jaw dropping. Player models are equally as impressive and each character and enemy looks unique.

The music and the sound effects add to the atmospheric nature of the game. Bullets whip by in a frenzy and make holes in walls, dramatic music kicks in just in time to make the game more tense, and your enemies scream out curse words in Spanish. The graphics and the sound combine to make the action in the game feel more real. The action is intense and never dull or boring.

The controls were a bit sticky though. The aiming controls could have been faster and smoother. I also thought that the Ghosts ran a little too slow for being such advanced soldiers.

The online play is fun, but in the end disappointing. There are many different modes to play but most of them are insignificant and useless. The meat of the action is in team elimination, although I found co-op campaign to be quite delightful. In team elimination you basically have to wipe out the other team.

The biggest problem I had with Xbox Live was the horrible set up. There are absolutely no clans, no servers separating players into different world regions, no all time stat tracking to see how many kills/deaths you have, and no way to play with a friend in a ranked match. This may not sound like much for the casual gamer, but for the competitive gamer (like me) these things are absolute necessities. Overall, the online mode can be fun if you are playing with the right people, but this is still a step back from other current-gen online titles like Halo 2 for the Xbox and any of the Socoms for Ps2.

Overall, I feel that G.R.A.W. is a good game that could have been great if it weren't for all its flaws. I still feel that it has a long way to go before it becomes the best tactical shooter on the market. I hope that one day, I'll be able to use real strategy when playing through the single player mode and that one day, I will be able to get with my clan for a ranked match. This game is definitely worth a rent if you want to try it out. If you are one of the few Ghost Recon fans out there, this is still the best game of the series and a worthy purchase for you. But for those of you who are more into competitive gaming, you should look elsewhere before you spend your money.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 05/30/06

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