Review by DarknessOfMyth
"GRAW 2 will burn your eyes, enlighten your ears and ruin all your sleep"
The Tom Clancy games are all hot as hell, providing excellent realistic shooting & stealth games through the last generation of gaming. Games like Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory were being played by millions worldwide. Ghost Recon also made successful releases on the PC and the Xbox, and the most recent one released on the Xbox 360- Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, got the game of the year award and became a must-buy game for everyone that owned the 360. It included a never-before-seen cross-com uplink feature which tracks your squad via a video playback 24/7, creating even smoother and precise team commands. Amazing graphics, sound, and quality gameplay made up the rest of the game, which explains why the game was so successful. Now after a year, Ubisoft managed to release Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 out before the 1-year anniversary of its prequel. And as you may believe, it's even better, maybe shorter, but definitely better. So read on, because you are about to learn about the pros and cons of one of the best games on the worlds best console.
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 is the sequel to GRAW obviously, and you would find everything about it just as good as its prequel if not better. The multiplayer for example, is now improved and filled with action and modes. You can open up a full command view now by holding the right bumper by default, which basically shows your cross-com view full screen. You can give orders there on-the-go, which is great since you needn't be there to issue these commands. These are just a few examples of the improvements, but you will notice more here and there as you progress through the game.
The gameplay is just as exciting and tactical as the first game, and thankfully you don't need to have played the first game to understand this one but it helps if you do. The story progresses like a typical modern warfare situation, where there are several problems within a country- like terrorism and illegal shipments. The story is basically rebels in Mexico, creating problems where the Ghosts (the military squad) enter to solve the problem. At the start the Ghosts are sent to Sierra Juarez to investigate claims that the Rebels are in possession of a dirty bomb, later revealed to be old Ukrainian Red Star III nuclear warheads. The story goes pretty deep, and is decent enough if you understand which is good. But the best part is that you get to experience the firefights and missions that the Ghosts try to accomplish, all in this exciting modern warfare fictional tale.
Throughout the single player portion of the game you will engage with a decent amount of different enemies, as well as vehicles. You will come across many different situations, such as a hillside overlooking a camp where you can snipe the rebel soldiers, or a vehicle protected by some terrorists which you have to eliminate to gain access to destroy that military vehicle. It's more complex than that of course, because you will be using your team and various skills to accomplish the missions. Cover for instance, is what you will be using for nearly the entire game with a great cover system. You can pin yourself against nearly everything, from walls to trucks, and move across the wall to either corners, pop out to fire, then return to safety under your cover real smoothly. You will quickly find out that this is how you can deal with many situations while maintaining the most health as possible. Aiming system in GRAW 2 is great, you aim like you would in a FPS, you can zoom in with the right thumbstick button, and enter precise aiming mode by holding the left trigger. When you target an enemy with your reticule the reticule turns red and provides a number of different information, such as the enemy's health and troop type.
Another important, well known and fun-to-use feature in GRAW 2 is the squad commanding. You will be able to order a squad of a few men at once, and this like you would guess is tremendously enjoyable. It's just so easy to send your men in attacking guns blazing, to tell them to heal you or another team mate, or just order them to regroup. Hearing them shout all the commands such as "Fall back on me!!" and then followed by a "Fire!!" while you whip around to hose down hostiles with them is just downright awesome. The important thing about commanding your squad though is how it's effective to the outcome of the game- the AI is superb, so you can count on them to help you gain a big advantage on the missions. It's also true that you can complete missions pretty much without help, but since it easens the challenging well-created levels while it is entertaining, it doesn't hurt to use them. There are loads of different members of the Ghosts for you to choose from too, each with a unique class and characteristics.
The campaign is shorter this time round, which is disappointing, but like the first game the game barely has a dull moment. You will enjoy watching the vast landscape as you ride a chopper, or gaze at the breath-taking environments as you travel through them between firefights. The firefights themselves are full of activity, loud and satisfying; you will have many moments where you will find yourself caught in the top-notch action the game has provided. And after all the game isn't all that short anyways, it includes 13 levels, 1 long training mission and 12 core missions. It should take you around 8 hours to finish the game first time through if you're good, but it will take longer for people who are new to these games. Three difficulty levels are available on the get-go, plus achievements to unlock so you will find yourself some decent replay value in the single player package. There are many weapons to choose from, from the MR-C to the Hawk pistol- each consisting their own pros and cons. You'll soon find you're favorite weapons, but also find you will be enjoying the great array of weapons available, testing each of them for fun. You will be in for a few surprises too, like a few ambushes and such, plus the big environments just makes the game seem so free for you to just explore and complete the mission at your own pace. Speaking of which, it's true and nice to have multiple paths and wide ones too, so you will have different strategies you can use to handle a situation. Overall the single player portion of the game is superb, packing tactical, fun action with a load of variety and replay value. This section of the game is worth buying the game for, though there is another great side of GRAW 2- it's deep multiplayer.
Although some people may not own Xbox live, the multiplayer in GRAW 2 is still made to suit you. This time round you get to play against well-programmed AI enemies, and with a decent amount of Co-op levels which you can play with your friends. There are many modes to choose from- including Terrorist Hunts, Territory and Co-op Campaign. In each of these modes you can place settings as you like, which will allow you to create the ultimate multiplayer experience.
Aside from decent modes, you also have a handful of decorated and excellently designed maps you can play in. They range from realistic sprawling cities, big colourful lagoons, to entire luxury estates and adventurous forests. Some of them you will find easy to find cover, others you will find open and wide. The opportunities are limitless though, as you will find time to snipe your enemies without them knowing, head in guns blazing, use stealth tactics and also gang up against someone else with your mates. It's all designed well so that there is enough variety that can satisfy everyone.
Playing with your buddies or with the AI computer is always fun, but if you want even more look no further because there is still Xbox Live. If you purchased and own Xbox live, get ready for one of the deepest and most competetive multiplayer ever. Every day you will find over a thousand gamers online, with skills ranging from a beginner to a pro. You can, like always, choose to play (and talk with your communicator) with the people who are in your friends list and the ones with your skill level. This is great for a fair game, and you will find yourself getting addicted into the action no matter your skill level.
A good game requires at least a decent single player mode, a great game includes an additional great multiplayer mode- this game has both. But do you know what makes an awesome game? It's those plus phenomenal graphics and quality sound. And yet again, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 includes them.
The graphics of GRAW 2 are unbelievable, just like its predecessor. All animations are slick and realistic, from whipping out your rifle to going into prone position. The environment all animate well too, trees blow naturally, bushes rustle, rocks form dust when shot and explosions have realistic impact. The amount of detail is amazing too, every bit you see will include some kind of design, whether it's your weapons pack or just a can bottle thrown on the ground. A designer must have spent weeks upon weeks designing every single detail, and then the programming team must have finalized it in the remaining months like hell to create such a good-looking game. Nothing acts unnatural, all movements are done well and include character and without hesitation. Although multiplayer looks a bit worse than the single player, you would still find the graphics wonderful and filled with colour. Deserts, forests, jungles, urban areas all designed with top-notch quality will have catch you gazing with your mouth hanging open. From top to bottom, GRAW 2's graphics are downright phenomenal.
As soon as the game starts, you should be able to see why it has such good sound. The theme song blasts into your ears, and rocking sound effects fills up your room. Throughout the course of the game, whether you play multiplayer or single player, the character dialogue is damn clear, and you are guaranteed a hesitation-free voice acting here. When traveling through the detailed missions you will come across various situations where the sound gets over-the-top; explosions everywhere, enemies shouting at you in their native languages, your teammates shouting, you ordering them in a cool sergeant voice, and weapons firing in all directions. Every weapon sounds realistic and alike their real life counterparts which proves GRAW 2's depth and reality.
After playing the single player portion of the game, which is enough to satisfy even the most hardcore gamers with it's 3 different difficulties, you will still have a complete and action-packed multiplayer for you to spend hours upon. There are videos to watch, soundtracks to listen to, training information and statistics to read, so the game includes enough value and replay value for any gamer. You'll find a lot of variety here and there, so don't hesitate if you are determined about the value of GRAW 2.
In the end, GRAW 2 seems to overcome its game of the year prequel, with improved gameplay, multiplayer, graphics, sound and value. If the addicting and exciting single player won't pull you in, the multiplayer will grip you and take you down. The graphics will burn your eyes, and the sound will make your ears sing love songs for the game's impressive quality. Game's like Forza Motorspot and Gears of War are great, yes, but this is different, since you won't find any real flaws anywhere. The single player is a bit shorter than you would expect, but can be forgiven easily with the addictive play modes and superb sound and graphics. In addition, the multiplayer itself also makes up for the shortened campaign. So this should be your next choice of purchase if you're looking for a game to buy, or if you just received some precious pocket money. Either way, adding Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 into your collection will be well worth your money- every Xbox 360 owner would never go wrong to own this game, which is shaped up to almost what I like to call- "perfect".
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 05/27/08
Game Release: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (US, 03/06/07)
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