9.3

Advanced Warfighting indeed. The Tom Clancy series has landed on the Xbox 360 with an impressive first showing.

I’m running through the sweltering streets of Mexico City armed with the best equipment US tax dollars can pay for. My squad mates follow closely behind, checking the surrounding area for new threats. I situate myself behind a building and take a quick peek around the corner. A couple of red target indicators pop up on my HUD. No biggie. I pop around the corner and take them out with a few bursts of automatic fire. As they go down, more and more red indicators show up. Obviously, these guys had company. I send my team over to a better vantage point. They’re situated and ready to fire, now I need a better view. I spot a nice big building across the street. Not good. I need to get there quickly. I break into a run from cover. Bullets whiz past as I dive behind the building. I made it without a scratch. I order my teammates to open fire. The insurgents drop like flies. I let loose and mop up the rest of them. That battle’s over, but I know it’s just going to get tougher from here.

Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter is the Xbox 360’s first tactical military shooter bearing the Tom Clancy name and some might argue, the first truly “next-gen” title on the 360. This title was originally slated to launch with the Xbox 360 but was delayed. It seems, that this delay was for the best, as the developers have delivered an amazing tactical shooter, both online and off.

This game really shows how realistic games can look on the Xbox 360. Everything is incredibly detailed and lifelike. The buildings, trees, cars, and even the streets are detailed to an amazing degree. During the helicopter fly over scenes, you’ll notice the incredible draw distance. You can literally see for miles. The HDR imaging used in game looks great. It accurately simulates the way the human eye adjusts to changing intensities of sunlight on the streets of Mexico City. If there is a sudden flash of light, your “visor” will be completely washed out for a moment. Very realistic looking stuff. The soldiers themselves are well detailed too. Their animations look smooth and realistic. When you dive for cover, it really appears that your character is doing it like their life depends on it.
The game also implements a new form of communication for you and your teammates dubbed the “cross com”. It shows up in the form of a small screen in the upper left or (in the case of story progression scenes) right corner of the screen. The cross com feeds from your teammates, Bradley tanks and an Apache helicopter and so on all occur in real time so you are constantly updated on what’s going on in the battlefield. The cross com also finds its way into the multiplayer games as well. This can prove to be invaluable. As it can reveal the location of enemy players and allow you to get the drop on them, so long as they haven’t been seen.

The single player campaign is amazingly fun to play through. It starts you off with a quick training session. You can skip it if you wish but it is recommended that you give it a quick play through because it gives you time to wrap your head around the rather complex control scheme without having to worry about being killed in the process. Once you learn the control scheme, it becomes natural. Although, it is difficult to manipulate sometimes in the heat of battle, especially while cycling through the cross com feeds.

Before a few missions, you are tasked with manning the helicopter’s minigun and clearing the landing zone. It’s a bit disturbing how fun these brief sections are. The minigun itself is very visceral and is a bit difficult to aim properly as the chopper circles your targets. As you fire, the gun will even overheat and fire erratically requiring you to stop and give the gun a second or two to cool down.

Most of the time you’ll be running through each of the battlefields with three squadmates under your command. The squad A.I. is often hit or miss. These guys are supposed to be the best of the best. Based on the things I’ve seen, you wouldn’t know it. They occasionally runaround outside of cover and end up getting picked off. Then they won’t follow the orders they’ve been given such as when you order one of your squadmates to heal the man (or woman in some cases) who just got themselves shot. After waiting for them to carry out the order, I figured I was going to have to do it myself. Oftentimes, to keep my squadmates from getting killed, I had to order them to some out of the way place and clear the zone myself. The solo missions are a very welcome (and needed) break from the constant babysitting of your teammates.

The multiplayer is almost a completely different game than the single player game and I mean that in the best possible way. It’s amazing. The multiplayer offers support for up to 16 players in a large number of multiplayer modes. There are also plenty of customization options in there as well. There are co-operative and adversarial modes to keep you busy for a long time. The co-op modes are plain awesome. These modes pit you against the (rather aggressive) A.I. in one of the many modes. With the right options, these modes are incredibly fun and challenging, requiring cooperation, as you will often be thoroughly outnumbered and out gunned.

As with all games, there are some flaws. Some of the maneuvers from the single player game are omitted from the multiplayer for some reason. You cannot press your back up against a wall and peer around a corner the same way you would in the single player missions. The method of doing so in multiplayer leaves more of your character exposed to gunfire than would be desired. Some graphical effects are removed from the game to ensure it runs smoothly with little to no hiccups in the action. These are minor gripes and really won’t take away from your enjoyment of the game.
All in all the multiplayer experience is the main reasons to buy this Xbox 360 game, and fans of the tactical shooter genre will not be disappointed.

To wrap things up this is an excellent installment in the tactical shooter genre and the Ghost Recon series in general. The online multiplayer is the main reason to buy this game but the single player game is exactly what you’d expect from a tactical shooter and shouldn’t be overlooked. Anyone who owns an Xbox 360 should add this game to their collection immediately.

Discussion