Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2
Platform: Xbox 360
Release Date: March 6, 2007
Originally Posted Mar 9, 2007 7:24 pm PT
NOTE: This review is only for the Xbox 360 version of GRAW2 however, the Playstation 3 version plays very similar.
Last year Ubisoft and Red Storm raised the bar to a new level for shooters with Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (GRAW). Ubisoft took the time and made GRAW one of the greatest action games in history. Also, GRAW won numerous of Game of The Year Awards. What made GRAW so different than other action games in 2006? Well the first thing everyone noticed was the graphics. Ubisoft also took the same amount of time and effort that they did on the graphics and made the gameplay nothing short of spectacular. However, for every great game, there must be a better sequel.... Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (GRAW2) proves that statement.
The very first thing you will notice about GRAW2 is the graphics. If you thought GRAW1's graphics was taking the Xbox 360 to the limit.... You gotta see this. The very first thing I noticed about the largely improved graphics is that you can actually see the stitching in your soldier's camo. That just blew me away. The second thing I noticed is that you can actually see the Velcro on his backpack. That is what I call mind blowing for a video game. The face animations to not only your soldier, but also to your teammates and the enemies are absolutely lifelike. The guns look very real and the vehicles are very detailed. The explosions to the game is difinitely worth saying something about. As a Game Programmer, I have no idea how Ubisoft made the explosions so real. For one of the earlier missions in the game (and one of the most memorable also), you and your team are running across this construction site while there is mortar fire at your location. I was running near a cement truck and then..... BOOM! Literally the truck turned into debris and it went up in flames. Then I noticed pieces of the truck was everywhere in the construction site.
Captain Scott Mitchell reporting to duty!
If you played the first GRAW you would notice the the Single Player and the Multiplayer graphics were completely different. In GRAW2 that still is the case. The multiplayer graphics difinitely got a HUGE overhaul from last years game though which is very nice. The textures are much smoother and the scenery is very pretty. A few graphical blemishes are noticeable on the clothing however.
In GRAW2's campaign, the US and Mexico are in a big war. The Mexican government is trying to make nuclear weapons and guess what..... The ghosts are called into action. GRAW2 is relatively a short game. Clocking in under six hours on the default difficulty setting. A longer single player would of been better, but oh well. The character that you play is named Captain Scott Mitchel. Mitchel is a guy that doesn't ask questions and uses his gun as all the answers.
GRAW2's Single Player gameplay is the best ever in any type of shooter. The covering system is back from last year, but it is mildly improved. Mitchel goes up to cover much faster this time around. There are TONS of memorable moments in the game. From being stripped down to almost nothing to getting all the firepower in the world. Your teammates AI is greatly improved also. For the most part they know what to do but occasionally you will see them get in the line of fire and not use cover. But, Redstorm did improve them a lot from last years game. For example in GRAW2, I was slowly walking down a very quiet street and then I hear one of my teammates scream "AMBUSH!" my whole team dropped what they were doing and ran to the nearest cover and started to lay down covering fire while I got settled in.
The "Cross-Com" got a big improvement in GRAW2. In the Single Player, you can hold the Right Bumper at any given time and you can see what your teammates are doing. You can also give commands in the Cross-Com camera also. This feature also effects the drone and any type of support you have. If you select the drone and hold the Right Bumper you can control where your drone can go. Its an easier way for a tactical standpoint thats why Redstorm put it in this year.
Also, Ubisoft improved the "Cross-Com" in the multiplayer. Once you're in a game, hold the Right Bumper and it will go into a first person perspective for the player that you are on. You can scroll through the living players with the left and right directional buttons. The improved "Cross-Com" for the multiplayer was difinitely needed.
The sound to this game is remarkable. Tons of chit-chat on the radio from command and your teammates. If you have your teammates at "hold fire," you hear them whispering while at "fire at will," you hear them shouting. The music to the game is really spot on. The GRAW2 music is slightly different than last years. This time around it has a Mexican twist to it which sounds really cool. The gun sounds and explosions are spot and. The voice acting for everyone is awesome.
The multiplayer in GRAW1 was absolutely amazing and in GRAW2 it exceeds that. In GRAW2, you have much more outfits to customize your guy and there are a lot of new features. The biggest change which the fans asked for is clan support. Yes there is clan support in GRAW2. To be honest, GRAW2 has one of the best clan features that I have seen in any type of online game to date on the Xbox 360. You have the basic leader and then the leader can assign roles for the clan members. The higher rankings in the clan is allowed to search for clan matches and invite people in the clan. "Did you just say clan matches?" Yes I did. GRAW2 has a clan match options right in the game so you don't need to go to any third party site or anything like that.
The multiplayer in GRAW2 goes up to 16 players either on Xbox Live or System Link and up to 4 players split screen. Now the 16 player matches is where the game really hurts. In the 16 player matches, there are a lot of frame rate problems, lag issues, and being booted. The frame rate to the 16 player matches drops almost to nothing at times. Especially if players are using grenade launchers and rocket launchers. The lag is horrendous and being booted is a must. At least two players get booted almost every game. You can prevent these issues if the host makes the game for under 16 players. 14 players still has these same issues but its less frequent. 12 players and under is the way to go. I haven't seen any type of slowdown or lag or anything for that matter with 12 player rooms.
Now the multiplayer options haven't really changed much. You still have 20+ game modes to choose from. Here are the more popular gametypes: Team Sharpshooter, Takedown, Siege, Team Territory, and Last Man Standing. GRAW2 does have a Co Op campaign which is completely different from the Single Player.
So does GRAW2 live up to the hype? Yes it difinitely does. If you are still skeptical about buying GRAW2, at least go on the Xbox Live Marketplace and download the Single Player and the Multiplayer demos to check them out for yourself.
Gameplay- 9.5.... Calling the gameplay astonishing is a HUGE understatement.
Sound- 9.5.... Absolutely amazing. The chit-chat from your teammates feels like you are really in the war.
Graphics- 9.... The Single Player graphics are unbelievable. The Multiplayer still needs a little work but its still very nice.
Replay- 9.... The amazing multiplayer is back in GRAW2 with some new tweaks. Single Player is very short which hurts.
Overall (Not Average)- 9.2/10