Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 Reader Review
Pros: Gorgeous graphics; single-player game is rewarding; welcome improvements; easier than GRAW
Cons: Multiplayer controls are poor; multiplayer does not have cover mechanic; short story campaign;
Ubisoft has managed to squeeze out this sequel in just 12 months. Does it deliver enough improvements to justify a further £40 outlay?
On first inspection the answer is yes. The original GRAW, although critically received, did suffer from a couple of significant problems:
- The single player campaign was very challenging for most players, and GRAW featured a much higher 'trade-in' rate than many early games as some players found it too frustrating.
- The multiplayer felt like a different game, lacking the graphical flare or feel of the single player game.
GRAW2 definitely rectifies both of these issues but it is at the expense of longevity.
The single player game now features:
a superior CrossCom, giving greater tactical control of your units, including the new Mule (a mobile weapons cache)
you now have the ability to get one of your squad to heal you (thus making the campaign move forgiving)
a low-risk campaign mode for casual players
more varied out door environments
slightly more fluid movement and animations
Combined these new features really do significantly improve the GRAW2 single player game and make it much more fun, and less of a sniper trawl. However, the single-player game is now significantly shorter than GRAW, and capable players will charge through on the default risk setting in 4-5 hours.
The multiplayer has also been significantly improved with equivalent visuals and movements (to the single player game) and a much better designed co-op. However, as with GRAW, the multiplayer still feels like a different game. The cover mechanic, so important in the single player, is still a glaring omission and the controls in multiplayer still feel slower and unresponsive.
Many of the game modes are still brutally unforgiving. The fast & frantic deathmatch modes can become quite frustrating especially given the low rate of turn accompanied by one-shot-kills. The many 'no respawn' modes can also test your patience if you are unlucky enough to be hit at the beginning of each round.
I still find the multiplayer gameplay in GRAW2 suits a particular type of player, and the many complex game modes and configurable settings confuse and bemuse the casual gamer. GRAW2 multiplayer is definitely suited to the more professional and competitive players who can take it very seriously - try a Ranked Match and you'll find out for yourself.
Graphically, GRAW2 looks fantastic. I did notice some cheesy draw distance when riding in the 4x4, but on the whole the textures, backgrounds and animations are beautiful. Even multiplayer looks great now.
The graphics are sometimes so good that unit camouflage makes it very hard to make out your targets, particularly in multiplayer, (if not for the CrossCom) against the backgrounds.
The game audio and sound effects are also on a par with the original GRAW's high standards. In the game's extra menu you can even lighten to the rather warmongering soundtrack.
The shorter campaign mode obviously makes GRAW2 difficult to recommend if you just plan on playing the single player game. Having said that, it is a lot more enjoyable than GRAW so it may be worth trading GRAW for GRAW2 if you have it.
To get the most value from GRAW2 you do have to embrace the multiplayer, which may not be everyone'�s cup of tea. I remain unconvinced by the multiplayer, but so far I have only played ranked matches with real 'jarhead' types, so I may change my mind over time.
The achievements are nicely distributed between the single player and multiplayer, but don�t anticipate getting more than 250 if you don�t embrace the full GRAW2 experience.
Overall, I believe GRAW2 to be an enjoyable and worth sequel that carries enough improvements to justify a purchase, whilst still carrying a number of features and flaws that make GRAW2 fall short of the classic it should be.
7 / 10