Review by SamboSimpson

"From the Perspective of Someone Who Didn't Play the First..."

With online multiplayer becoming almost a necessity in every game, you have to go back and look at the SOCOM series to figure out where this all began. Sure MMORPG's may get credit for the whole concept of playing online, but for consoles SOCOM was their beginning. There was nothing like logging on to see thousands of people online on a bad day, not to mention being able to play on a team of 8 (later increased to 16) and being forced to work together.

Unfortunately for SOCOM, it's a Sony brand, and despite the PS3's technological advantages, no one wants to pay $600 for a system. So if the genre was to survive, it needed to do so on the 360. Enter Ghost Recon. As a new 360 owner, I never got around to playing the first one, and as the second one was already out, it seemed a logical choice to give it a try, albeit as a rental. Well, for the first time ever, I'm glad I rented before considering buying, because GRAW 2 is not the most enjoyable experience.

Let's get it out of the way fast: multiplayer is the only real reason to buy this game. No one bought SOCOM to play its single player mode, and really, its the same scenario here. That's not saying single player is bad. In fact, it is quite enjoyable. But from all accounts, there were no major changes to the gameplay that would necessitate you paying $60 for a game when you can find the same experience (single player wise) for $30 in the first game. The graphics are beautiful and the sound is great. Stealth actually works well for once in a game, and the controls are simple enough to get used to.

But like I said: you're buying this for online multiplayer. And if you want to play the campaign online, then you'll be set. But chances are you're going to want to test yourself against other players. And boy, do I have some bad news: that isn't happening. Unfortunately, this is one time when a game developer can do everything right: graphics, sound, gameplay, etc, and still get a low score for something that isn't necessarily their fault, but rather they become the victim of circumstance. In this case, since they're on the 360, the only way to play online is to have a Live Gold membership. And since a lot of people feel they shouldn't have to pay to play online, they don't. Unfortunately, that means most of what is on X-Box Live is the most grizzled and hardcore form of gamer, and in a genre like the tactical shooter, you will get the hardest of the hardcore gamer playing. And unfortunately, GRAW 2 gives ranks to players online, and when you start, you will undoubtedly be ranked very low. Starting to see where I'm going? If you don't, just know this: you will see the message "ejected by server" any time you even attempt to join someone's game, because you will be booted. No, I am not exaggerating.

So, if you really want to play a GRAW game, I would suggest buying the first or renting this. I have no clue whether you can still play the first online, but from what I've heard, it was a more friendly environment. GRAW 2 is no more than a rental, and that is basically a period of time where you can attempt to join games and be thankful you did not spend $60.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 05/21/07

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