GRAW2 offers up a solid, though short, single-player campaign. But the bulk of its gameplay can be found in its impressive multiplayer offering.
- Intense, gritty modern infantry combat
- Impressive multiplayer suite with countless combinations of competitive and cooperative game modes
- Good looking graphics and excellent sound effects.
- The single-player campaign is over before you know it
- Since GRAW2 is the first GRAW game for PS3, you feel like you're missing part of the story.
2006's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter was rightly acclaimed to be one of the first truly next-generation games, thanks to its intense gameplay and luscious graphics. Of course, it shipped only for the Xbox 360, given that the PlayStation 3 was still in gestation at the time. Now that it's 2007, Ubisoft has delivered the first GRAW game for the PS3. However, instead of presenting the original GRAW, Ubisoft has instead provided Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2, the sequel that was delivered on the Xbox 360 earlier this year. That's sort of like starting a book in the middle, but to be fair, the GRAW games are less about story and more about shooting things up with next-generation weaponry.
GRAW2 puts you in the steel-toed combat boots of US Army Captain Scott Mitchell of the fictional 5th Special Forces Group (the Ghosts) for a grueling battle south of the border in Mexico. While you needn't have played the first game to enjoy the second, it certainly helps to understand the overarching plot. A Mexican civil war has erupted between mutinous army units. For various reasons, the elected civilian government and the US have been drawn into the conflict. In the new game, the fighting threatens to spill over onto US soil along with the threat of nuclear weapons, which gives your superiors even more reasons to scream at you over the radio to defeat the rebels.
What follows is more of the intense infantry combat that featured in the original GRAW. You will go on both solo and team missions to achieve a varied set of objectives, from rescuing a Mexican journalist who has clues about the insurgency, to neutralizing enemy encampments, and more. The action unfolds on both sides of the border this time, and the game ably captures the first-world and second-world settings. The Mexican side of the border faces even more turmoil than in the first game. The visuals in GRAW2 are also more stunning than in the original, thanks to sumptuous atmospheric lighting and effects. The incredible scale remains; once again you'll look out over vast cityscapes that consist of hundreds of buildings as you fly over in your Black Hawk helicopter. But now, you can also take in the stunning vista of a setting sun over the desert, or gaze at gigantic pillars of smoke rising from the fires of a war-torn Mexican city. Also, the PS3 suffers from a bit more aliasing than the Xbox 360, the colors are duller, and the frame rate struggles at times.
Similar to its predecessor, GRAW2 features a mix of on-foot and in-vehicle action sequences. Most of the time you'll be on foot, hugging every bit of cover available as you engage a mix of Mexican Army rebels and foreign mercenaries. The cover system remains solid, and you can "hug" most forms of cover simply by moving up to them. Once there, you can swing out or up to engage an enemy before dropping back to cover. It's this system that makes the GRAW games feel more authentic than other types of shooters in which you can only stand in the open. On top of that, the squad system lets you command a small infantry squad, so it's not just yourself that you have to worry about.
Control of your teammates, vehicles, or drones is a lot easier now thanks to the improved communications system. Now you can get a full-screen video feed from any friendly asset on the battlefield, which essentially lets you be in two places at once. You can find some cover, tell your men to move to another position, and then use their video cameras to locate and call out targets for them to engage. A cool new battlefield drone called the mule has many uses, which include battlefield resupply and healing, mobile cover, and remote-controlled scout. You're able to control the mule directly from the camera view or give it movement orders on the fly. The overhead drone that was cumbersome to use in GRAW is also improved in the sequel because it's far easier to control, and you can view its video feed in full screen rather than in a postage-stamp-sized window. The game uses the Sixaxis motion controls in a limited, mostly ignorable fashion (the few motions available aren't very good), but the bigger issue with the PS3 controls is that while there are multiple control configurations to choose from, none of them let you use R2 as the trigger. This seems like an annoying oversight, especially because Rainbow Six: Vegas for the PS3 (a cousin to GRAW) did have such an option.
Thankfully, GRAW2 manages to eliminate some of the frustrating gameplay elements that appeared in the first game, such as the annoying rooftop sniper hunts, which were more of an exercise in trial and error than actual skill. Those have been replaced with some riveting set-piece battles, including a Black Hawk Down scenario, as well as desperate defend-and-hold situations. And while you can go through the game stealthily if you want by using suppressed weapons and sneaking about, it's just as much fun--if not more--to go through with guns blazing. The large battles in GRAW2 are usually pretty awesome because vehicles are exploding around you, helicopters are buzzing above, and the situation is going crazy. Perhaps the best moment in the campaign is when you're temporarily deprived of your high-tech gear, which deprives you of all the oh-so-helpful targeting information that can make the combat in GRAW2 feel a bit too easy at times. Suddenly having to locate and identify your targets raises the intensity quite a bit.
- Player Reviews: 88
- Game Universe:
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six (DC, GBC, N64, PS, PC),
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon (XBOX, PC, GC, PS2, MAC, NGE),
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 (XBOX, PS2, GC, MOBILE),
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear (PC, PS, DC, PS2, GBA, MAC),
- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell (XBOX, PC, PS2, GC, GBA, NGE, MOBILE, MAC, PS3),
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Island Thunder (PC, XBOX, PS2),
- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow (PC, XBOX, PS2, GC, GBA, MOBILE, PS3),
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm (PS2, NGE, MOBILE),
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2 (PS2, XBOX, GC, PC),
- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory (PC, XBOX, NGE, PS2, GC, DS, 3DS)
- Online Modes:
Competitive, Cooperative, Team Oriented
- Number of Players:
- Number of Online Players:
16 Players Online