Review by Spinnah

"The graphics are advanced, but the warfighter part needs some work"

I never play GRAW. Well, that's a lie, because I played the demo, and I utterly hated it. I was a big Ghost Recon fan, where you manipulate your huge squads around, and GRAW just felt so small with only a 4 person team.

Then I tried the demo for GRAW 2, and I fell in love.

(Note-My reviews from now on will be different, you will see that right away.)

The graphics of GRAW 2 are certainly nice, but from what I have seen of GRAW, they don't look much better. The people and their weapons look real, and I would go so far as to say that the people look more realistic then they do in Gears of War. The multiple vehicles of the game also look great.

Explosions and gun shots look awesome. The tracer rounds fly through the air and kick up dirt and what not nicely. If a vehicle is hit with a rocket or grenade or something, you see the vehicle shake from the flames that just engulfed it. When you shoot someone in the head, it looks like they just got shot in the head. Their head and neck snap back, and a red puff of blood flies out.

The environment looks great too. One thing I love about this game is that is REALLY looks like you are in a war. As you walk through the streets, you see war torn buildings, fire, smoke, craters, ruined vehicles, everything you would expect from a war setting. War may be hell, but this version of it looks like heaven.

The sound of this game nicely compliments the graphics of the game. As you walk or run through the destroyed cities or mountains, the music is solemn and slow, depicting the harshness of the war. When you get into a battle, the music picks up and gives you that same rush you always feel when playing some form of a shooter.

The weapons all sound great, and really sound like weapons. Some game you play with guns, the music overshadows the guns, and you feel like making your soldier dance rather then shoot. Not in this game. You hear that assault rifle rattling in your hand. You hear the explosion of the grenade that landed right in front of you. If your standing next to a tank, you hear that enormous shell fly off as the behemoth of a machine next to you rocks backwards.

The story picks up from where the last one left off, but even if you've never play the first, you can easily figure out what happened, and learn what is happening now. You play the game through the eyes(or around them, this is a Third Person Shooter afterall) of one Captain Mitchell of the United States Army. Of course, you are not allowed to say you are part of that army, you are a GHOST. The GHOSTs are an elite, black-organization, who operate directly from the U.S government on top-secret missions.

The story picks up where the first one left off. Captain Mitchell is back from Mexico City, where he apparently saved the President(Mexican or American, I'm not sure, I never played the first really) from a group of terrorists. Now, he is back in America, and a new mission has just picked up. Apparently, a group of Mexican rebels do not one the U.S, Canada, and Mexico to form a coalition, so they have attacked the city of Juarez. You go to Juarez, to figure out what these Mexican rebels are doing, and why a shipment of nuclear warheads went missing.

GRAW 2 is not a story telling machine though, as the story is just a reason for all of the gameplay to take place.

The single player of GRAW 2 is definitely weaker then the multiplayer, but it is still very fun in my opinion. You travel from mission to mission, fighting the Mexican rebels. The beginning picks is much slower paced, through the training and mountain missions, and the fact that you only have Captain Mitchell and whatever 3 other squadmates you chose. As the game goes on though, you will receive support from tanks, planes, helicopters, and other soldiers.

In every mission of single player, you get to pick what weapons you will be using. In the beginning, you only have a few basic assault rifles. As the game goes on though, you gain machine guns, rocket launchers, sniper rifles, assault rifle/grenade launcher combos, and other things. You also pick your side-arm from a group of pistols and submachine guns, and you get to pick what grenades you will be using.

You also get to pick your squadmates. You can choose from assault soldiers, a sniper, a heavy machine gunner, a rocket launcher-er, a grenadier, and a medic. Unfortunately, the medic, assault soldiers, and heavy gunner are the only ones worth using, as you never need large explosions to kill your enemies.

Combat in this game is somewhat of a pain. If you are up against a small group of the insurgents, it isn't so bad. You can probably take them all out without using your squadmates at all. But in a large scale battle, your squadmates only get in the way. You have nearly full control over them. You can tell them who to attack, where to go, and when to and not to shoot. Unfortunately, your allies are about as smart as a potato. Even if you tell them to shoot someone, they might not do it. If you tell them to go somewhere, they may stand around instead of taking proper cover. And constantly managing whether they are waiting to attack or are attacking is a real pain.

Thankfully, the rest of your support are much better. When you tell a tank or APC to move, it does. When you tell it to stop, it does that too. When you tell a helicopter to shoot something, it does, and immediately, or at least ASAP. And you have an entire map of your battlefield, so even though your troops may be a pain to control, you can always plan for where you want to send them or your other support.

The futuristic stuff of this game is cool, though most of it is useless. You have something called a Cross-COM, which lets you see exactly what your troops and support see. While this may be useful to figure out where exactly your troops are when they've wondered off to who knows where, it doesn't do much else. It's much easier just to use your tactical map. The best futuristic stuff in this game acts as more of your support. You have a personal drone, which flies over the battlefield at your will, and can control it to hover over an enemy position so you know where your enemies are and what they are doing.

You also have a personal MULE, which is this mini APC thing that follows you around and gives you ammo and health as much as you want. The best futuristic thing you have though is your personal computer thing. Basically, it places red diamonds around all of your enemies, and shows you their health and range. It also does the same with any allies or support you may have, though they are represented as a blue diamond. And this invention is needed, as the enemy is smarter than your team could ever hope to be. Your opposition will take cover, shoot the nearest target, throw grenades, everything you would expect from GOOD A.I.

The controls are what really hinder the combat of this game though. Changing weapons is tedious at best, requiring you to use both a button and the Left Stick. Taking cover is also painfully difficult. You have to move up to the wall, stick to it, and then move side to side. Your guy doesn't even change his looking direction on his own, you are responsible for that too. Then to get off the wall, you have to hit a button. For some reason, Ubisoft feels the need to abandon the perfect cover system of Rainbow Six in favor of this horrible cover system.

Thankfully, Multiplayer handles much better. There is no cover system, so you don't have to worry about sticking to random walls. It is more like SOCOM, making you lean out of cover to make a shot. The game can have up to teams of 8 vs 8 facing each other, or all 16 people can work together against the A.I. You can even play through the campaign together.

Online, you can pick from four classes: The rifleman, the marksman, the heavy gunner, or the grenadier. The rifleman uses assault rifles, the marksman uses sniper rifles, the heavy gunner uses machine guns, and the grenadier uses assault rifles with grenade launchers on them. Each class has advantages and disadvantages.

The different kinds of modes you can play online is unlimited. You can play with or against other people. You can capture bases, kill commanders, defend bases, play a basic deathmatch, and so on. And the each of those modes can be configured in hundreds of ways. It goes on forever.

Unfortunately, if you buy this game to play ranked matches, put that thought out of your mind. As a new person, you will be level 1 on the ranked matches. As you kill people and win matches, you will level up. Unfortunately, due to the horrible ranked community this game posses, you will probably never get a shot off, as you will never play a ranked match. Higher level people kick low level people out of games, because if a low level person beats a high level person, that high level person loses experience.

Player matches are a different story. The hosts are usually friendlier, the games are bigger and better, and no one has a level. Everyone is equal. And it is much more fun for everyone involved.

This game is a definite buy. With a single player mode of decent length, anywhere from 7-15 hours, and a multiplayer mode of unlimited customization, you cannot go wrong. This game features beautiful graphics, sound, and if you can get over your braindead allies, you can a lot of fun offline. Go online, and you will have tons of fun playing matches that are never the same, using different tactics, and meeting different people. Constant fun no matter what mode you play.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 05/21/07

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