Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 - PS3 Review
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 has taken quite a while to arrive on the PS3 after hitting Microsoft's console way back in March 2007. When the game was first announced we expected it to be released at the same time as the XBox 360 - which would have meant the PS3 launch window in Europe and Australia. As time went by though the title was constantly delayed until it finally reached its late August launch. Indeed the XBox 360 title was very impressive, and a straight port would have been welcome, but that wasn't good enough for those lovely chaps at Ubisoft. Indeed the development team has gone all out to fill this PS3 version with a host of new features and enhancements.
|Looks like the chopper has been hit!|
Itís 2014, and the soldier of the future returns to encounter a new and more imminent threat along the recently completed wall on the U.S./Mexico border. The Ghosts are more powerful with an upgraded Integrated Warfighter System (IWS) but will have only 72 hours to assess the threat and stop the rebels from reaching US soil and launching a nuclear attack. With a border thatís 1,900 miles long and an enemy that doesnít play by the rules, this is a job for the U.S. militaryís most elite fighting unit. This is a job for the Ghosts.
Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 is primarily a third person shooter, however at times you will man machine guns and use a first person styled scope to target your enemies. You play the role of Scott Mitchell who must go in and take out the rebels - but you're not alone. For many of the missions you will be able to command a squad of soldiers around the levels. To do this the developers use what they have dubbed the Cross-com 2.0. You can order them to recon the area, move behind cover, fire on enemies, heal each other or target selected enemies. This system works pretty well, and takes only a few moments to get used to. Friendly soldiers are good at providing covering fire, but to be efficient you'll also have to do a lot of the hard work. Impressively by pressing the R2 button you can even switch to a camera on your squad to see where they are, what enemies they can easily spot and therefore target, or how they are faring in battle.
|Would be nice for a swim, after the gunfight!|
It's not only friendly soldiers which you can order around the levels as you also have access to a very handy drone which has a camera mounted and can spot enemies up ahead from the sky. You better be careful though, hover above the enemies too long and they'll soon start using the drone as target practice! As well as the drone you can order an Abrams tank to fire on enemies (although they will only travel on a pre-determined path) or use a Bradley Little Bird to fire on enemy soldiers from above. Still in trouble, well you can also call in air strikes on occasion to take out larger enemy targets such as tanks.
|The explosions are spectacular.|
To break up the action there are sections of the game where you will mount the machine gun in a Apache chopper to take out enemies below. These sections are pretty brief, and there are only a couple in the game, but they do break up the action pretty well. Perhaps the biggest surprise to be found in Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 is that the Sixaxis' tilt controls are actually used to good effect in the game. In particular the ability to roll from side to side when lying on the ground is quite useful, while the game also allows you to use the tilt abilities for other uses including the ability to control the drones.
Multi-player is supported in a variety of ways in GRAW 2. First up is a split-screen mode for up to 4 players on a single console, or a six mission co-op campaign. If you're fortunate enough that all your friends own a system then you can hop into a LAN mode, if not then you will certainly want to check out the online gameplay. With support for up to 16 players online and with 32 maps in total (including 14 new maps for this PS3 game not found in the original XBox 360 title) there is certainly plenty of game here. Gamers can use an expanded arsenal of weapons including several new ones for the PS3 online modes, customise the characters, use female soldiers and enjoy the improved respawn points put into the game.
|Playing GRAW 2 online is a blast.|
So while it all sounds great there are some disappointments. Firstly there are some bugs in the game. On the first play through I saw one chopper come to pick me up missing half the textures and blades overhead. It hovered above the ground refusing to land - and refusing to let me end the mission as a result (before you ask, yes I was a distance away and not standing under it!). On another occasion four of my teammates got stuck on a piece of scenery, and no matter what, could not be navigated around it, even killing them and reviving did not assist - restart level. They are small bugs sure, but they are present. Another issue is the length of the single-player game which at around 8-10 hours is a little shorter then we expected. Fortunately the multi-player described above certainly makes up for that shortcoming.
As you can see from these surrounding screenshots there is little chance this game won't impress - and it looks just as impressive when moving. The levels are littered with battle torn debris - blown up cars, destroyed buildings, spot fires are all evident. Each of the soldiers is wonderfully detailed, and while the texturing on them is a little blurrier then I expected the game manages to move at a fair clip from start to finish - I would prefer a better frame rate then better textures any day. What can't be picked on in any way at all are the explosions in the game. I'll say it right now - GRAW 2 includes the best explosions and smoke effects we've ever seen in a video game. Your jaw will hit the floor.
|I'd suggest you head for some cover!|
We do have a couple of small niggles with the graphics. At times they can look a little on the jaggy side - sure the 720p resolution doesn't help, but compared to Resistance: Fall of Man (Which also runs at 720p we might add) this game seems a little worse. The frame rate, while generally solid does have the occasional hiccup as well. Our biggest gripe though has to be the CG actors in the Cross-com video links. I probably would have preferred that many were actual video rather then rendered - some don't even look as good as the in-game characters. Strangely Ubisoft have used real footage when the video links cross over to TV footage. Still, these are small niggles in an otherwise impressive package.
Sound is another area where this game excels. The music is atmospheric and increases in tempo when there are enemies spotted nearby - if you're not keen on games giving you 'battlefield' music then there is an option to turn it off. There is plenty of chatter from both friendly soldiers as well as enemies and while it can be a little repetitive it really does give you a sense of urgency around the battlefield as friends tell you when enemies are spotted, when you're exposed to enemy fire, or when they are injured. All this is provided with wonderful Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.
|Firing on enemies from the skies.|
There's no doubt about it, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 is a superb title. The addition of over a dozen multi-player maps and a few new game modes makes this a fantastic package. Sure, the single player game is great and will keep you entertained for days, but itís the online gameplay that is likely to hold the long-term appeal. I would put this game up there with Warhawk and Resistance: Fall of Man in that regard. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 is a fantastic action title that deserves to be in every action fans collection without hesitation.
Review By: Dave WarnerOrder your copy now from Gameswarehouse.
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|GRAPHICS||A little jaggy at times, some frame rate stutters; overall impressive.||87%|
|SOUND||Great music, but the explosions and voicework makes this so special.||89%|
|GAMEPLAY||Tense, relentless, frantic. This is what next-gen action is about.||90%|
|VALUE||Single-player will take around 8-10 hours, but you can spend weeks in multi-player.||93%|
|OVERALL||GRAW2 has been a long time coming to the PS3 - but the delay has been worth it with a tonne of impressive additions to this version.||90%|