Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 PS3 Review - 03/09/2007

The Ghost Recon series has always been a popular one, but its real home has always been on Microsoft’s console and Windows. Will this be the case for GRAW2? Will it end up as another shoddy port?


To start off with, the storyline carries on from the first game, where Scott Mitchell and his team of ghosts had to fight off Mexican rebel forces in Juarez. This time round, it’s not much different. Scott is called into Mexico to clean up some more mess that the rebels have caused. These rebels are still, rebelling, and claim ‘they won’t stop until there are no Americans in Latin America!’ Just your basic war storyline: both sides disagree, and all hell breaks loose.

You play Scott Mitchell, the ghost team leader and for the most part you have to order your squad of 3 ghosts. For the majority of my campaign I had Joe Ramirez, Alex Nolan and Marcus Brown under my command. But they aren’t the only soldiers you can choose from. You’ve got 5 fields: Rifleman, (your basic soldier, good with a rifle, as his name suggests) Gunner, (good with guns, very similar to the rifleman) Medic, (the one that you’ll never want to be, okay with guns but no real specialties bar healing downed soldiers) Marksman, (your basic sniper, gets in cover well, and can pick someone’s head off from a mile back) and finally Anti-Tank Gunner (definitely the meanest of the pack, carries massive guns and lots of explosives, expect this one to blow up a lot of vehicles on your way). In each field there’s 2-3 men (and in some cases, women) to pick from, adding to the tactical nature of the gameplay. Sometimes you’ll need an Anti-Tank Gunner because the level is packed with tanks, other times you may need a Marksman to snipe far off enemies poaching on the roofs, either way you’re gonna need your thinking cap on. And don’t forget you get to choose your own class before you start your campaign, guaranteed you won’t choose Medic though.


Now, I know alot of people will be wondering if this game has turned out like any of Ubisoft’s other PS3 games that have been directly ported from Microsoft’s 360. Well, you’ll be happy to know that GRAW2 has come out unscathed and that little to no harm has been done to the overall game. The graphics are lovely, no noticeable differences between 360 and PS3 versions, and the explosions are still ace! Best. Explosions. On. PS3. The fire looks great, not like in other games where it follows a single pattern and just laps it over and over again, this time it looks unique every time. The smoke is even better than the explosions, mind. Big dark grey puffs of smoke will blow you away (get it?) and when you’re too near them, you literally get engulfed and blinded. The smoke grenades, however, are not as impressive but still do what they do, well. The character models are great too, very realistic facial expressions and mouth movement. When the news flashes and your mission briefing appears in your HUD you know you’re in for a graphical treat. The news reports are made up of a mixture of in game and real filming, and it’s pretty hard to tell when it switches between the two. That’s how good it is. The scenery is okay, you know a building’s a building and a rock’s a rock, but if you look deeper you can see the amount of detail put into it. The rocks are packed with cracks and dents, they’re not smooth, no, they weave in and out. The buildings have alot of detail too. It’s disappointing to see that doors remind you of the Playstation 2 days when doors you couldn’t open had hardly any detail whatsoever. Everything else, though, is good. This version has no frame rate issues, and that’s about it for the port business.

To lead on from that, I’ll move to the learning curve. Something missed by alot of critics these days. If you played GRAW1 alot on single player, then you’ll be right at home. But if you didn’t, or like me stuck to co-op, then you could be in for a shock. Because it’s really easy to get into the habit of using cross-com and ordering your men around. After the terrible tutorial and a level or so, you’ll be ordering your team about and moving your ‘UAV cipher’ with ease.


And, speaking of co-op, GRAW2 has it. An improvement over the PS2 and Xbox games? Hell no. First things first, alot of features in the single player campaign have been taken out of the co-op missions. Like the ability to take cover. How they think you can survive in a tactical shooter without taking cover, I don’t know, but for whatever reason they did it, it was a bad decision. The quote ’2 NEW COOP MODES (TOTAL UP TO 13 GAME MODES)’ is very misleading if you haven’t experienced it first hand. Why would you want to play all 13 game modes if they couldn’t even get the co-op campaign right? The overall co-op content is good, it’s just a pity the actual game play isn’t.

Something that wasn’t left out of the co-op modes, is the SIXAXIS support. Tilt left, roll left. Tilt right, roll right. Thrust up/down, change stance up/down. Sounds okay on paper doesn’t it? But that isn’t the case. It’s unresponsive, pointless, gimmicky, bad decision. I’ll stop there. The reason I called it ‘pointless’ was because even when you turn it on in the menu, other buttons still work. So why waste your time thrusting your controller up and down, trying for the life of you to change your stance, when you could just click ‘L3’ and it’s done. It was obviously tagged on, like the snake cam in Rainbow Six.

Make sure that if tactical shooters aren’t usually your thing, that you listen carefully to this. It’s very rare that you can speed through a level using ‘run and gun’ tactics. You generally have to move swiftly from cover to cover and move your squad from cover to cover (when in recon mode.) So, if you don’t want tactics to be shoved in your face, go for something like Resistance or Call of Duty 3.


The original Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter always had that GRAW soundtrack in the background. That ‘ner ner ner ner..etc’ If you had the game, you’ll know what I mean. And it always put you into that frame of mind: ‘Right, I’m a soldier of war!’ It really immersed you into the game. So, one good decision they made was keeping that soundtrack. On the menus and sometimes before or after missions you’ll hear it, and soon you’ll be humming it, even when you’re not playing. And, as I mentioned before, the explosions are phenomenal. But something that adds to that, phenomenality (nice word!), is the noise it creates. It’s loud. When something blows up, you know it’s blowing up, cause you hear it, and then you see the mushroom cloud float up from where the noise came from. Brilliant. My one niggle with the sound is that Scott is very American and arrogant. He gets praised by a few different people during the campaign and every time he rudely interrupts them and tells them to ‘keep their eyes on the road.’ It makes you think, ‘God? Can’t you take a damn compliment?’

Multiplayer, co-op aside, is pretty mediocre. If you liked Rainbow Six online, then you’ll like this aswell, and in the same way if you didn’t like Rainbow Six online, as is the case with me, then you won’t like this online. My problem with it, is that it’s rare you get into one on ones and most of the time you’re picked off from way out by a sniper. Plus, with the inability to take cover, there really is no way of killing someone once they’re on your tail. It’s supposed to be reminiscent of the old Ghost Recons, but if it is, then why don’t I like it? Because I loved the old Ghost Recons.


But if you’re still going to persist with it, then I feel I need to include this:

“WARNING
NETWORK CONFIGURATION FOR ONLINE GAME

If you use a network gateway (as a router) to access the internet you might need to configure it. Here are some instructions that should work with most routers.

1) Forward ports 3074 for UDP and TCP and port 2346 for UDP
2) Turn off DHCP on your router”

This should be found in the inside of the box, it looks like for one reason or another, Ubisoft had some trouble making their online compatible with certain router settings.

Lastly, the game will last you a fair bit of time if you like the online section. But if you don’t, then you might find that you don’t want to carry on after completing the campaign mode.

Verdict: GRAW2 has a great single player campaign that isn’t too short and isn’t too long. But the co-op modes are let down by some strange choices by Ubisoft. If you’re looking for a tactical shooter, but you can’t choose between Rainbow Six and this, GRAW2 is my recommendation because it wins on every front. Except co-op.

Check out our Xbox 360 review of GRAW 2 as well, should you be looking for a second opinion or wondering how the versions compare.

- Tyler Roberts


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