Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter pounded onto the Xbox 360 and was a good example of next-gen technology. But Ubisoft knew that they could do much better and set about creating the sequel, a sequel that directly follows on from the events of GRAW
was the cake then GRAW 2 is surely the icing because after spending quite an amount of time with the game, I can finally tell you from my experiences that GRAW 2 is as close to near-future warfare as an armchair soldier can get. Ubisoft have built on the already robust engine used in GRAW
and delivered a powerful sequel to the original packed with more content and even more action.
The single player puts you in the 3rd person shooter role of Scott Mitchell again and this time you’re dealing with a big civil war in Mexico. The US army has appointed itself peacekeeper and can’t officially intervene however, the public eye and the eyes of the press from all over the world is upon them.
It’s time for the Ghosts to do what they do best, enter Mexico and perform all sorts of special operations. Its typical Clancy and right from the get-go the story and immersive nature of the game’s in-engine produced scenes drag you right in. Those familiar with GRAW
will feel right at home and the game’s tutorial helps those who’re new to the series get right into the thick of it.
A simulated combat zone is produced for you to try out the various features, the new Cross Com 2.0 is a must have tool and replaces the old Cross Com from GRAW
. Once you’ve used this device you’ll never want to play GRAW the old way again. So let’s take a look at what’s new for the player in GRAW 2.
GRAW 2 comes packed with brand new weapons, new equipment and new technology for the player to use in the battlefield. The Cross Com 2.0 allows the player a greater freedom of control over support options, squad members and other battlefield elements.
The interface for the Cross Com has been redesigned; it is now in full colour and allows the player to directly control certain battlefield support. The UAV can be piloted in an overhead camera and used to pick out targets covertly. At any time the Ghost leader can view the camera of his squad members, switching effortlessly between them with a click of a button.
It is also possible to use the Cross Com 2.0 to give direct move orders and attack orders (context sensitive – should you have a sniper in your squad for example, you can give a snipe order) to your support and squad. Having this extra layer of tactical control allows you to keep Scott Mitchell in cover and outflank your enemies, and you’ll need to do that a lot to keep from being pegged in GRAW 2.
Amongst the new support you can be granted is the MULE, a remote control armoured vehicle that contains a supply of equipment. The MULE can be used as mobile cover as well as a healing station and allows you to change gear to suit your particular role. You might find you come across an armoured vehicle, the MULE allows Scott to switch out to the AT weapon and then back again to something like a counter-sniper rifle capable of punching holes through thin cover.
At certain times Scott will be given control of tanks, APC’s, air strikes and other toys that he can use via the Cross Com 2.0 – Ubisoft have been careful in spreading out the ‘wow’ factor of these devices and gameplay mechanics so they don’t swamp the player and lose the feeling of first-time awe.
Along with this support, the HUD has been beefed up with more detailed information; it’s quicker to respond to pin-pointing threats and actually makes you believe there’s been an improvement in the technology that the US Army uses in the game’s story. There are many more guns and weapons in GRAW 2 compared to GRAW
and the developers have included a fly-by-wire rocket launcher that you can use to great effect in the story to decimate enemy armour and emplacements that are dug in.
It’s not all guns and gadgets of course, the gameplay has been tweaked in several areas and GRAW 2 features sharper controls. The cover system remains largely unchanged but the bugs that plagued the original have been quashed. It still doesn’t quite beat the cover system used in Rainbow Six Vegas
or Gears of War
There does seem to be a little lag in the turn of the character, when aiming, especially in sight mode. When you’re looking down a scope, it can take what seems like an age to get a bead on a running target.
The orders system remains mostly as it was; it’s been sharpened as well, with the inclusion of a better implemented context sensitive direct order command. You can quickly tell your squad to shoot at a particular target, take out a tank or a helo, or patch up a wounded team-mate.
New to the team roster in GRAW 2 is the medic, this fellow can heal the player and also carries more medkits than anyone else.
The on-rails shooting sections (usually in a helicopter) have been tweaked and they are a lot more fun to play. They are visceral actions moments that don’t detract from the immersion this time; they actually flow fairly well with the story and are enjoyable rather than frustrating slogs through waves of merciless highly accurate foes.
Fans of the solo approach will be pleased to hear that the Lone Wolf combat system returns, along with several well designed solo insertions (one at night) that allow you to sneak around and take out soldiers from behind cover – most of the time they never know what hit them.
Night vision has been tweaked and Mitchell’s vision modes have been overhauled and tweaked, to near perfection. The new enhanced vision is a joy to use and picks out targets clearly over a decent distance, removing smoke and fog if the battlefield is obscured somehow, either by smoke grenade or natural phenomena.