Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 Demo Impressions - 

The award winning Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter is a game that many believe offered the first truly “next-gen” experience on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console. A year later, GRAW 2 is announced, and a single player demo hits the Marketplace. After a thorough playtest, we felt obliged to share our views.

The first thing we noticed was that, graphically speaking, the characters and the environments they occupy seem softer somehow. The lack of definition on their edges is probably as a result of Ubisoft’s new dynamic weather and lighting effects. They have therefore created a level of realism that appears to outshine (no pun intended) the first Advanced Warfighter title. Smoke, sand, light, and various plantlife all interact with one another to create visual effects never before seen in a video game of this type. As trees sway in the wind, smoke and dust particles seem to swirl around numerous objects, giving everything a remarkable stability and presence. Although Mitchell (who is once again the hero of the game) and his team don’t seem to look much different, the environment presented in the demo seemed much more real than any of the areas offered in the first GRAW game. If it is indeed an accurate representation of what we can expect from the final game, then Ghost Recon fans will be in for a visual treat.

Although it seemed unnecessarily awkward to control, the Mule (a small all terrain vehicle fitted with a viewable camera) proved useful in dealing with those nasty rebels. Through careful maneuvering, we found that not only did the Mule provide sufficient cover from enemy fire, it could identify the location of those enemies, allowing you to view the action from your upgraded Cross Com and decide how best to proceed. It seems as though the Mule isn’t built to take a great deal of sustained fire, as it quickly took damage and we were forced to move it out of harms way. Still, as a demonstration of one of the many new tactical options being made available in GRAW 2, it was effective. At least it felt more realistic than the flying UAV drone, which is something that we here at TGSN refuse to believe is a realistic military technology, from the troops on the ground at least.

Aside from that, GRAW 2 felt pleasingly familiar. There have been enough graphical enhancements to distance the game from its predecessor, and to make it feel like more of a sequel than an update. The cover system (which undoubtedly was a major influence to Ubisoft’s other tactical shooter, Rainbow Six Vegas) has been tweaked and feels much more responsive. As always, the control set-up is something of an ordeal, but once you’re familiar with it, things do get much easier. The return of Scott Mitchell and other familiar squad faces are appreciated, as they give the game a certain level of continuity. This once again re-enforces the notion that this is the next chapter in the series, and not a full priced expansion pack. If the demo is any indication, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 could be one of the first big games for 2007.



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