First off, GRAW is quite possibly the dumbest acronym ever. How about we just call it GR3? Sounds good…

As I mentioned in my last post, I picked up an Xbox 360 and Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (yes, the full name is pretty dumb too) last weekend. I’ve been playing it quite a bit and have almost completed the single player campaign. I think I just wrapped up the eighth or ninth mission of eleven. Really enjoying the game, until this last mission. Let me quote the back of the GR3 box…

In 2013, the Army will unleash a new breed of soldier. A soldier whose lethality has been honed by the finest technologies.

See what your squad sees, call in air strikes, and command forces in real-time with the Cross-Com.

Doesn’t that sound exciting? It sure does – and man does GR3 ever stand up to all the hype that’s been surrounding it for months. But I just found myself, for the second time, doing a solo mission with no air support, no Cross-Comm and a busted HUD. Now that’s advanced!

Ghost Recon games are hard. The first one in the series was ridiculously hard! I’m talking, you’re lying prone in the middle of a wooded area and there’s some dude sniping you but you can’t see shit and if he hits you once you’re dead, hard. I can’t tell you how stoked I was the first time I played GR2 and it was nothing like that. Unfortunately, I just had a GR flashback while playing GRAW… I mean, GR3, dammit! During that solo mission, I picked up a sniper rifle from an ammo box and made my way out the back doors of a rail yard. Between myself and my objective is a big, open field outlined by buildings of all shapes and sizes. As I carefully made my way towards the crest of the first hill I hear a bullet whiz by. “You’ve got to be kidding me”. Normally, once an enemy fires at you, they appear as a red diamond on your HUD – but let’s not forget, my HUD is broken and I’m literally viewing the game through static. After being picked off this dude a good half dozen times, I jumped on GameSpot to see if there was a game guide online yet. To my surprise, someone had posted a list of cheats. I didn’t think they left cheats in console games any more? I ignored them and figured out where the sniper was from the guide. I picked him off, hopped up to my feet and got shot in the face instantly. Hooo-ly, shit.

At this point, I would have really liked to just shut the game off and come back to it another time. But like most console games, it’s not that simple. I guess developers still haven’t figured out how to build quick saves into console games. I mean, they’ve been in PC games for as long as I can remember. The old F5 key. Tap that bitch and you’ve got yourself an instant save point. F9 will even load it up for you, just like that! But somehow, the Xbox 360 in all it’s next-gen glory can’t handle this super advanced functionality. *sniff* I miss my PCCC!

Maybe I’m being overly sensitive here? But as much as I love video games, they’re still a hobby. Something I do when I have some spare time. I hate the thought of knowing that once I start something, I can’t stop until it’s finished. What if something comes up? What if the half hour I had allotted to shoot some dudes wasn’t enough to get in the entire mission? Too bad dude – you’re not leaving that chair until your finished! Ugh… flashback from Christmas 1987 – Mom cramming brussle sprouts down my throat when all I wanted to do was play Duck Hunt.

Anyway, I got a little off track here. I ended up using the invincibility cheat to get myself through the level so I could shut down the damn console and go to bed. Surprisingly enough, I still got the 25 point achievement for beating the level. I checked my stats – gone! Everything’s been reset to 0 and my score is -500. I guess that’s the price to pay for cheating. Oh well, I’ll definitely play the campaign through again and I’ll get my stats then.

It may sound like I’m not enjoying this game at all, but it’s actually the complete opposite. I fuckin’ love it! Man, it’s great! Definitely feels ‘next-gen’… if that makes sense? I’ll follow this up with a review and hopefully some gameplay footage soon.

28 Comments

Wow, I’ve been thinking about doing the same thing you did. Just sayinf fuck-it and getting a xbox 360. When you work on your computer for a living, you really need a break away from it once and awhile. I’ve been playing counter-strike for at least a year now, and totally addicted to it.

In your review, you should definitely hook us up on how easy/hard it was to take footage of it too.

The quick save thing is a common gripe with consoles – I was also originally a PC gamer but I got fed up with the constant need to upgrade…

In actual fact, it’s probably because of this that I could never get into Rare’s Goldeneye on the N64 – I never understood what was so great about a dodgy FPS that was no where near as good as Half Life! And anyway, mice and keyboards where DESIGNED for circle strafing… Weren’t they?

But anyway, I digress. The games industry seems to frown apon the "quick save" these days, the argument being that it makes games too easy. I guess this is true, to an extent, but when a game IS as hard as GR, it’s also incredibally annoying to have to go through the same few stages over and over again. I had this exact problem recently with the last few stages of God of War on my PS2. It actually puts a slight downer on the whole experience… Which is a terrible shame when a game is really good otherwise…

Don’t give up on consoles though Matt – remember, you don’t have to suffer the agony of opening the Graphics Options and turning loads of cool stuff off whenever you buy a new game!

Oh oh, I want to play it now!?! I don’t usually like difficult games and prefer mindless FPS, but I loved the first Ghost Recon. I hope my PC will play it… I’m sure it will on some extremely low settings. I might go and play GR this evening now… and all the expansion packs…

I did that level without using a cheat or the guide (namely because I don’t have the guide :P) but it took me 6 or 7 attempts just to find the bastard on the water tower.

The one thing that really bugs me about the game is this:

In the opening sequence you see mitchell turn on the CrossCom HUD thing, why the hell doesn’t he just turn it off when there is so much interference you can’t see bugger all. The whole "use your infrared goggles to see" malarkey just bugs me because it only works for maybe 100 feet infront of you which means you wouldn’t see that sniper anyway.

Grrr!

Other than that it’s a good game.

Will you be up for a multiplayer match tonight Matt? Saw you on last night but I was playing Fight Night Round 3 and getting my arse kicked 😀

@Matt J.: That’s exactly it. Seeing how I have freelance work on top of my day job, I was literally spending all day in the same chair. At least now, I get some excercise walking back and fourth from my bedrom to the living room. 😉

@Tim: You hit the nail on the head. I think there’s a miscommunication between gamers and developers in regards to quick save. It seems any gamer I’ve talked to would prefer the ability to save whenever they wanted over when the developer says they can. And it most definitely can dampen the experience for you. I know it has for me personally on several occasions. No matter how much I love a game. If I have to replaying the same part over and over, I’ll get tired of it.

@Trovster: Nice! You’ll probably like what they’ve done with GR3. It’s still a Ghost Recon game in the sense that you can only take a couple shots before you’re killed.

@Stewart: You’re a brave man. The end of that mission was super intense and I can imagine how hard it would have been had I not been able to withstand enemy fire. It just felt super tedious to me though. I hate solo missions in squad based games. Can we have a squad based game where every mission is with your squad… please?

And yeah dude, we’ll have to play some time soon. I wanna check out the co-op play and was gonna ping you but saw you were playing Fight Night 3 for a while and didn’t want to bother you.

@Thom: I don’t give up that easily! It took me so long to break the nasty habit of PC gaming. I have to stick it out as long as I can. And I’m actually enjoying the 360 a lot more than I was when I rented one back in January.

Matt – What you think of the PS3?

Thats been onea the reason I’ve been holding out on a 360. The critic that you are, you must have a reason as to why you passed up the PS3 all together – and I cant imagine it being because of microsoft.

@Matt: If you see me on just give me a ping. If I can’t make it over straight away I’d just drop you a message and let you know that I’d be a few minutes 😀

LOL, Yeah man, Console games do piss the shit outta because of the no quicksave feature. Really irks me. Sometimes when i play a game and cant beat it i just leave it alone for a while, then come back like a week later and find it easy again. I love using cheats when it gets to the point i cant beat a part of a game cause it just gets so damn annoying and i just think to myself(why the heck get mad over a game, when i can cheat and win, I own u, u piece of shi*, Ill beat u whether u like it or not) Still it doesnt feel that good when u cheat and win easily, id rather fight a boss 5 times and beat him by a hair in the last fight cause it feels like u really accomplished something….awww, what the heck, its a video game. Ur supposed to win.

That’s one of the reasons I love Chaos Theory the most out of all the Splinter Cell games, because you can quick save. It allows you more freedom to try something, otherwise you just want to take the easy route and not bugger up 20 mins hard crawl.

@Matt J.: I’m incredible stoked on the PS3 actually! I think it’s going to blow the 360 out of the water on all fronts. Especially now since they’ve officially announced their online service and 60GB standard upgradeable harddrive. I’ll be getting a PS3 without a doubt. Sucks that it’ll be coming out in November though. We’re in for another Xbox 360/Playstation 2 fiasco for sure.

Yeah man. I’ve heard around the "vine" that the PS3 is gonna blow everything and anything out of the water when it comes to console technology. Microsoft claims they’ve competed well with it, but im skeptic.

I wish they could have done something better with the controller

At least from aesthetics it looks pathetic. I don’t want to feel like im flying a plane when im shooting a gun.

Whoa whoa whoa…

PS3 is going to be awful. That’s why it has been pushed back so many times. I read an article of a Sony employee who got terminated for talking about how 360 is much better and that the reason that PS3 has been delayed is because they’re trying to make it better. Other than that DVD bullshit they’re making standard on PS3, Box will always have the upper hand. Of course, that’s just my opinion. 🙂

Yeah, well I don’t really have a problem with companies pushing back the release date to make an end product better. I’ve found myself doing that a couple times. Its a quality battle.

I’ll have to come up with a serious list of prons/cons of both systems before I drop the cash on either. Thats for sure.

Have to agree with Josh regarding the PS3, having read and listened to the guy who got fired from Sony because of his PS3 comments (He was interviewed on Major Nelson’s PodCast a few weeks back) I really doubt the PS3 is going to be the killer that everyone is expecting.

The big problem I have with it, and I think a large portion of gamers will is that it’s online functionality isn’t likely to be anywhere near the level that the XBox has. Sure the Sony system is more than likely going to be free, however I would rather pay the £40 a year and get a great set of features, the friendslist function alone is something I would pay that much for. When I was online with the PS2 I played it for a few weeks on a number of different games and although I found maybe a dozen players who I would consider playing with on a semi-regular basis there really wasn’t a way to keep a track of them.

LIVE is the kicker for sure, eh Stewart? Not to mention the controllers for PS1 and PS2 are designed for frickin’ 6 year olds. XBOX is designed for the older generation game.

And seriously, who gives a fuck about blue-ray? Halo 3 being released will overshadow PS3 anyway…

Uh oh, things are getting tense around here! We still have months and months to wait for the PS3 and in that time, MS could roll out some major improvements to the 360 dashboard and Live. You can bet your ass there’s going to be a shit ton of huge titles hitting the streets for the 360 in November as well. It’s going to be an interesting fourth quarter, to say the least.

While we’re on the topic of Xbox 360 and GRAW… GR3, dammit. I spent some time this afternoon doing some capture tests. Things are looking pretty good for 360 gameplay videos. I was worried that I’d need an HD capture card, but since I’m streaming the videos and they’re way under HD resolution, there’s no need for that. Svideo does just fine for my purposes.

It’s stupidly hard, I’m on the third last mission, you have to escort 3 tanks yet you only control one of them and you have to head over rooftops by yourself. I bet your team are sitting at basecamp playing football while your being put through hell.

The multiplayer has some annoying issues with network problems and the such. If only every multiplayer game was as well tested as Halo 2.

Good thoughts on the game bro. I totally agree with you on the ole’ GR games. I had GR2 and had to stop playing it after a while. I think i have too much of that Halo 2 run and gun mentality. I think GR3 has a perfect balance of the two. You have to be careful but it’s not that ‘i got sniped while laying in tall grass from a mile away’ hard. It’s very well done.

rock on.

Two titles are out for the PC that I’m enjoying from the theatre of WWII. Sniper Elite and Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45. Sadly my old mare of a system isn’t up to standard for truly immersive play and I’m faced with that tough decision. Break my bond and upgrade or save the extra cash for the Xbox360. OR get the mac mini, but then that’s just gonna kill my gaming habbit. [sigh]

Hi guys, I’m new to this blog but I really like it.

I’m from Mexico and I was wondering what do you guys think of how well was Mexico and Mexico City represented??

@Raz: I think a better question would be – how do you think Mexico City was represented in the game? Is it accurate? I saw some photos beside screenshots from the game and they looked pretty close. I’ve never actually been to Mexico myself, so I don’t really have an opinion on the matter.

Well, I gotta say that the team made a pretty good job with the architecture and the city’s feeling overall. Although it’s not a block by block copy, the feeling of the city certainly it’s there and missions like the Angel of Independence and Zocalo Plaza are just great. Actually I felt pretty good to see that they portrait it as it is: a modern complex city without the usual mexican city cliches.

I also liked many of the mexican rebels lines, some of them are very close to the way we talk like "Se esconden como viejas!" (which would be something like "They hide like sissies") or "Salgan gringos!" ("Come out gringos"). Some of them were very funny and made me smile, nice effort there.

However, I have a few complaints about it, first, it’s plain disappointing that the most crowded city in the world appears totally empty (even before the kidnapping), that definitely hurts the feeling. And also, I know that this is fiction and it’s a game, but the plot overall feels a little bit out of Mexico’s current situation. They seem to portrait Mexico as a country with an estability that seems more like other latin countries like Colombia or Venezuela which are going through a different situation. It’s true that we certainly are not free of social and political problems but we certainly cherish our peace and being out of major problems seems to keep us calm. Also, really, no offense at all, but Mexico’s government is so tight about letting other countries take action in Mexico that the idea of letting American soldiers take part in a multinational security program and let them work in mexican territory (before the kidnapping of course) seems just unreal. There would be madness in the Congress if something like that is suggested.

I guess my only complains would be about representing Mexico’s lifestyle and culture because their job recreating Mexico City was just superb…. an empty but great Mexico City 😀

Sorry for the long comment! and looking forward to see your review and impressions about my country, thanks!

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