GRAW2 Spotlight Part 3 - Environments

Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 is almost upon us, and we take one final look at the game's environments before it ships.

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With Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 hitting the shelves next week, we're taking one final look at the game before it ships. In previous spotlights we took a look at the new Crosscom 2.0 system and the co-op multiplayer gameplay. In this final spotlight, we're going to examine the new environments that you'll battle in as a member of the fictional 5th Special Forces Group, otherwise known as the Ghosts.

The rural environments of GRAW2 have very few places to hide.
The rural environments of GRAW2 have very few places to hide.

The setting of GRAW2 is the US-Mexico border, specifically the area around the cities of El Paso and Juarez. This is a fairly large metropolitan area that will offer the type of intense urban battles seen in the original GRAW. At the same time, there's also enough open countryside around both cities that you'll also participate in wilderness battles reminiscent of those seen in some of the first Ghost Recon games. Battles will take place around several key areas. For instance, there's a mountain range near El Paso that will provide a rocky and rugged battlefield. Then the action shifts to US soil as you go into downtown El Paso to defeat invading Mexican rebels.

Tactics will be dictated by the nature of the battlefield. In rural and wilderness areas, the long lines of sight and fields of fire will require more stealth, especially since there's little cover in the open. Urban battles will be much shorter range and brutal because you can turn a corner and find yourself face-to-face with enemy soldiers. The urban environments will also be much more vertical than in GRAW, which means rooftops and balconies play a bigger role, especially for snipers. The downside is that being in an elevated position makes it easier for the enemy to see you.

Since the action takes place in two different countries, the art in the game reflects this. You'll know which side of the border you're on just by looking at the environment. The US side is relatively untouched by the fighting, so it's fairly clean. Mexico, on the other hand, is experiencing a civil war, so it has a lot more destruction in the form of destroyed buildings and wrecked vehicles littering the streets. As a result, the urban battlefields in GRAW2 feel much more "war torn" than they did in GRAW.

Welcome to the urban jungle of Juarez. Have fun.
Welcome to the urban jungle of Juarez. Have fun.

The environments also benefit from the improved visuals in GRAW2. The game builds upon the excellent engine introduced in last year's GRAW, which was widely regarded as one of the first true "next generation" games. GRAW2 raises the bar even higher thanks to the improved lighting and weather effects. We've been involved with battles where the lighting conditions changed drastically because of a setting sun or a sudden overcast. The desert sunsets are picturesque. It's just too bad you're usually getting shot at, so you can't really appreciate them.

It goes without saying that GRAW2 looks great, and we're sure that you want to play the game by now. You don't have to wait much longer, because GRAW2 will ship next week, and you can experience these visuals for yourself then. We'll have a full review next week, so be sure to check back later.

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