GRAW2 offers up a solid, though short, single-player campaign. But the bulk of its gameplay can be found in its impressive multiplayer offering.
The artificial intelligence in GRAW2 seems to be on par with the previous game in that it's OK and not brain-dead. Your teammates do a dutiful job of following you around, but you'll still need to do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to combat. However, one of the nice new features of the AI is that it does a fantastic job of calling out enemy locations. For instance, if there are two bad guys next to a red car shooting at you, your teammates will yell out that very fact. Their "awareness" of the level and ability to describe that to you is a nice touch, which adds an extra bit of authenticity to a firefight. And the rest of the sound in the game is also fantastic. With that said, it's worth noting that the plot feels like it's starting to veer toward a territory of silliness, even for a video game. General Keating, your immediate superior, is more overbearing than ever. He's constantly telling you what to do and behaving like he can rewrite the intensity of the situation simply by yelling louder. And then there's the moment when the president of the US gives you a personal pep talk in the middle of a huge firefight, which suddenly makes GRAW2 feel like it's emulating the over-the-top histrionics of the television show 24.
The main downside to the campaign is that it's very short, and you can get through it in maybe four or five hours at most, which means that it's over before you know it. The good news there is that GRAW2 offers a huge amount of multiplayer goodness, even more than the original. There's something in the multiplayer suite for everyone, from a six-mission cooperative campaign that takes place in Panama, to an incredibly open-ended competitive suite. The PS3 also ships with some exclusive maps, including some that are updates of classic Ghost Recon maps.
Not only is there more multiplayer content in the form of new maps and new weapons, but there's also stronger gameplay. For example, the graphics in multiplayer now match the quality of the single-player game, which didn't happen in the original GRAW. The new levels are fairly big, large enough to make even 16-player games feel roomy, and their design is inspired. For instance, "Crash Site" is set amidst the burning wreckage of a downed US transport aircraft. Maps can come in several variations, reflecting different times of day and lighting conditions, which is a nice touch that shows off the cool new effects.
The host can set up a wide range of competitive games, from objective-based to simple team deathmatch. With all the variables that can be adjusted, from the amount of respawns, the weapon restrictions, the objectives, and such, there are effectively countless custom modes that can be created. But there can be a lot of silliness in multiplayer as well. For instance, the new helicopter-hunt mode has you and your teammates doing nothing more than shooting down gunship and transport helicopters out of the sky with rocket launchers. This task isn't too easy because of the speed and maneuverability of the helicopters, as well as the fact that they can strafe you with rockets.
Meanwhile, the six-mission co-op campaign is also a lot of fun because you can romp through a separate storyline along with up to 15 other players. The gist of the co-op story is that a Panamanian strongman is funding the Mexican rebels up north, and a separate team of Ghosts is dispatched to get the job done. Battles rage around the Panama Canal and its outlying areas, with dynamic objectives and other neat new features adding an extra layer of challenge and coordination to the entire affair. Previously, you had to worry only about killing all the bad guys as fast as you could, but with dynamic objectives, your team has to coordinate its actions to accomplish secondary goals. These goals include blowing up two radio towers simultaneously; destroying them separately would risk the appearance of enemy reinforcements.
The teamwork in the game is also enhanced in the co-op and competitive modes by the new aid system. If you're shot in a manner that wouldn't instantly kill you, your character will drop and roll around on the ground, wounded. You can choose to die and instantly respawn, but if there are friendlies around, they have a limited amount of time to patch you up before you die. This adds an extra bit of urgency to the voice channel as players cry for help and others rush in to save them.
There's such a wealth of content in the multiplayer suite that it alone makes GRAW2 an easy purchase for multiplayer fans. The flip side to this is that if you don't like to play online, then GRAW2 is an iffier proposition. The single-player game is fun, but its brevity is certainly an issue. Still, if you're a fan of modern combat, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 makes a compelling case for a game that you have to play.
Editor's note 08/31/07: The original review text stated that the game did not support Sixaxis motion controls, which is incorrect. GameSpot regrets the error.
- 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