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Review: Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter

The year is 2013, the United States has developed a new technology for their army. It’s called the Integrated Warfighter System, also known as IWS. This has been developed for their elite troops called the Ghosts. There is a lot of advantage for the Ghosts with this new technology. Some features from IWS are a projected heads up display in their helmets, where they get updated information about the current situation, supported by satellite and video direct feed.

During a summit between the Mexican and US presidents, there was a military coup. Both presidents have been kidnapped in that action. You and your ghosts are ordered to go to Mexico City and restore the situation. You are Captain Scott Mitchell and you lead your team of 3 other Ghosts. In total there are 12 missions to fight through before you save the presidents.

So, Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter it is… The game had a huge hype on the internets but I’m not the tactical shooter guy. Saw some screenshots, really liked what I saw but I thought it was not for me. But then this week another crew member found out that some shops were already selling GR:AW. I couldn’t resist any longer and went to buy it. Now, a couple of days later I can say it was one of the best decisions I’ve made this year.

The game kicks off with a really cool CGI sequence of some Ghosts (the soldiers you play Ghost Recon with) walking through Mexico City at dawn. It really sets the mood from the get-go. You see the same HUD you get in-game and some of the gameplay features are shown as well but I’ll get into those in a moment. Then the menu pops up, you get to chose between Campaign (Singleplayer), Multiplayer and Instant Action (1 - 4 players offline multiplayer).

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Singleplayer:
At first the game walks you through the mandatory training, which is really needed. It explains some features like wall hugging and shooting. Later on it describes how you give orders to 3 fellow squad members. This works surprisingly well. Up on the digital pad tells your team to go to the spot you’re looking at, down makes them regroup at the place you’re standing and left and right allows you to switch between your squad and other stuff you can control. The other things you can control are backup units like helicopters and tanks and your drone. This drone is a really cool new feature. It’s a small flying blob you can send around the battlefield and it tells you were the enemies are hiding. But use it with caution ’cause the enemy can shoot it out of the air and it’s something you don’t want to live without. The singleplayer campaign has a good story and is a really immersing experience. There are no pre-rendered cut-scenes, no menu’s between missions. When you’re done with a mission you’re picked up by transport (usually a helicopter) and taken to the next area. Sometimes this involves some minigun shooting which can be pretty hard.

GRAW-1-Thumb

Multiplayer:
In these days good multiplayer shooters are scarce on the Xbox 360 (duh, the console hasn’t been out for more than 4 months). Sure there’s Perfect Dark and Call of Duty but this is just a whole ‘nother level of multiplayer sweetness. You can tweak any aspect of the gametype, from weapons restrictions to enemy (AI) density. There’s a 16 player co-op objective mode, team vs team modes, solo modes… The works. There are 10 maps you can choose from and all of them have their own little storyline for objective mode. The maps take you from rainy docks to a little desert town and all feature great level design. The game has kept me up for nights exploring all of the modes and levels with a couple of friends. Look no further, this is the best Live experience so far. The only thing that I really wanted to do but couldn’t was playing the Singleplayer in co-op. But we’ll have Gears of War for that later this year.

Graphics:
The character models and animations are amazing. And so are the weather effects. I was playing the desert multiplayer map one night and in that map sometimes a cloud obscured the sun. Since my TV was the only source of light in my room at that time I really had the idea that a real cloud was in front of the real sun in the scary world outside. Really impressive. As far as I know this is the first game to take place in Mexico City and it’s worked out pretty good. The light blooming, the skyscrapers, they all contribute to the really unique and realistic atmosphere. And then there’s the HUD. Since the game takes place in 2013 the Ghosts have some neat futuristic gadgets that really come to live using the power of the Xbox 360. You have a little picture-in-picture window in the top-left corner of your view at all times. It shows the current position of the unit you’re giving orders to (usually your squad) and gives you a good idea of what’s going on around their position. If you’re receiving orders from your superiors or get a little update on the current situation a second window pops up in the top-right corner. This works pretty darn good, it never gets in the way of the action and the game runs really steady. However there is one thing that could’ve been better. Some textures are not as high-res as they could be. This is my only point of criticism as far as the graphics goes, all in all Ubisoft made a really good effort.

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Closing comments:
Even-though I’m not a fan of the series this is the most impressive Xbox 360 game I’ve played so far. The multiplayer mode has kept me up for nights and the singleplayer campaign is equally awesome. I really suggest you pick this up ASAP, private! (I was talking to the non-fans like me out there, if you’re fan of the series you’re not even reading this, you’re in Mexico City telling your Ghosts what to do.)

Final Score: 9 out of 10 - Very Good (how do we rank games?)

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30 comments on 'Review: Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter'

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Comment by Rossko UK on 2006-03-09 16:06:12 | Reply

Good job mine is being delivered today then!! Sounds awesome, thanks for the review!

I’m glad I’m done with this, can’t wait to pick up GR:AW again :). Thanks to Messiah for writing the intro!

Edit: Thanks Rossko!

My GRAW arrived in the mail this morning :cool:

Unfortunately my Xbox is away for repair and not due back til Saturday :(

Nice work Nino and Messiah. I’m playing the right now and it’s lots of fun. I like all the destruction, blowing up cars \o/.

Comment by GL on 2006-03-09 16:33:51 | Reply

This game is quite amazing. I played until 11 last night, then went to bed for 5 minutes and got back up and played some more. I can’t get enough of the game. This is a must buy, multiplayer is phenomenal! Buy it now!

Comment by Ponder416 on 2006-03-09 16:39:17 | Reply

great review…

What can I say but Game of the Year!!!!! this thing is so sweat. the game play is so smooth and the multiplayer is even better!!!

I give it a Woot,Woot. If you have a 360 and dont get this game I hope you die of ganaria.

What the hell is ganaria? :D

/me going home from work right now and expects GRAW to be in the mailbox :)

Comment by Ponder416 on 2006-03-09 16:47:34 | Reply

my bad…Gonorrhea

Comment by JusJus on 2006-03-09 16:57:31 | Reply

This game will silence everyone who bashed the 360 about its lack of great games.

I picked up a copy yesterday and everything about this game is “Next-Gen”. There is no way any current generation console could even come close to producing the experience that GRAW offers.

Sure it took a few months, but GRAW is just the start of the flood of great games slated for release on the 360 in the next few months, and a good sign that Microsoft has its sights pointed in the right direction.

I blame you for making me go out and buy the game now on the way home from work, was going to ignore it otherwise and save my money for oblivion :P

Poor wallet…

Great article! Sound like a keeper. I’m not a tactical gamer either but this one looks fun.

Comment by George Podge on 2006-03-09 17:55:40 | Reply

good review.

Comment by Chris on 2006-03-09 18:49:59 | Reply

Really good review. I love this game a lot. I think one of you guys should write an in-depth review of Oblivion when it releases. I’d love to read it to get your point of view.

Comment by Eirik on 2006-03-09 19:22:44 | Reply

This game is the best live game released!!! i love it i would give it a 10/10

Comment by ONI 23 on 2006-03-09 20:06:47 | Reply

Great review Nino! I Love This Game!!!

Can’t type more… must play GRAW!

:)

I think it was ONI, could be wrong, who referred to the big blue room with the yellow thing on the ceiling…

Scary world outside, heh…

Renting this as soon as I finish with Ridge Racer.

Doug; I think it was Curry discussing it with some other guy, thought of that when I was writing this ;)

Comment by einstein player on 2006-03-09 21:56:55 | Reply

Once I figured out that in team mode the red players wasn’t the enemy I had alot of fun. Sorry to all the guys I mistakenly team killed, I was wondering how come all the players both enemy and myself was spawning at the same place. But you know what it’s a cool game anyways

Comment by EZ on 2006-03-09 22:11:38 | Reply

I think its funny, how some of you are like wow what excellent multiplayer blah blah likes its new or something ghost have been around for awhile and it has always kick some seroius online a$$. my opinion the game is alright and bueatifull, but looks are not everything. Something about the controles on the game just doesnt fit with series. i know one thing, i will be keeping my copy of summit strike. good game none the less for people who have not played since the first recon.

EZ: I never said it’s was something new, I said it was something new to the Xbox 360. As far as fitting the series goes, I’m not that familiar with it, like I said, I’m not a fan.

“Really good review. I love this game a lot. I think one of you guys should write an in-depth review of Oblivion when it releases. I’d love to read it to get your point of view.”

We sure intend to do more reviews in the near future :)

Comment by mutigen on 2006-03-10 00:25:19 | Reply

yo nino,
did you or anybody else with a copy notice their is an online option for custom match on xbox live that says “match my package size.” there is a conspicuous lack of documentation on the subject considering the vagueness, and i was wondering if anybody knew wtf it was. i assume it is referring to ping, but it seems like a kinda vulgar way to put it… anybody got any info?

– mu

Comment by mutigen on 2006-03-10 00:27:40 | Reply

sorry, it says “match my packages.” i overly vulgarized it for some reason. but the question remains… wtf is it?

– mu

Comment by Neejoh on 2006-03-10 02:21:25 | Reply

Multiplayer is so sweet, that I haven’t played the singleplayer yet, after 3 days =D
This game is fuckin’ awesome!

Comment by Dave on 2006-03-10 05:24:24 | Reply

I like Call of Duty 2 more Ghost Recon is amazing and the graphics are way more impressive, but if CoD2 didn’t have the multiplayer online problem, it would be better.

Comment by mutigen on 2006-03-10 05:56:18 | Reply

you either like cod more as it is, or you don’t. stating you WOULD like it more if this or that seems silly.

Mutigen ; I really don’t know, I didn’t host any games this week so I didn’t even notice it.

Comment by mutigen on 2006-03-13 22:30:45 | Reply

nino, you don’t need to host. it is the bottom option on the custom match screen. i am still unclear as to what it refers to…

– mu

Comment by James Simpson on 2006-03-15 05:39:42 | Reply

I really enjoy GRAW, the graphics are the best I’ve seen yet. My only complaint is total lockups in the single player campaign mode. It has happened twice so far and then I have to completly reboot the 360. Anyone else having these problems?

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