Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter: Review

G.R.A.W. satisfies on every level and deserves every bit of hype it’s earned since E3 2005. Definitely the best in the Ghost Recon series.

The Good: Exceptional tactical combat and an exciting, fast paced campaign make G.R.A.W. a great game. Add on fantastic multiplayer gameplay and you’ve got yourself one of the best, if not the best Xbox 360 title to date.

The Bad: Squad A.I. leaves a little to be desired. They’ll often run out into direct fire or get in your way while you’re trying to line up a shot.

G.R.A.W.

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The Ghost Recon series is notorious for being very tough and unforgiving. While G.R.A.W. is no exception, it towers above it predecessors and delivers and extremely fun and interesting tactical shooter.

The single player campaign is a good length – spanning 11 missions that tosses up quite a variety in gameplay. For the most part, you’re the captain of a 4 man squad and often find yourself with other useful tools and weapons which you control using your Cross-Com. The Cross-Com is a satellite controlled communication device which lets you issue commands to that which you control as well as the ability to see through their eyes. This comes in handy if you find yourself in a tight situation. You can send your squad to a different location and being able to see a wider view of the field. Among the tools and weapons you’ll gain access to is your UAV, which is an enemy detection unit which hovers high in the air and can be activated to detect hostiles in any given area. There are a couple missions in the game where your HUD isn’t functioning properly and you have to rely on your UAV to point out hostiles for you.

The visuals in G.R.A.W. completely blew me away. From the enormous sprawling city to the collection of shells at your feet. It pays attention to all the details and really looks ‘next-gen’. But it’s not just about looking pretty. The character movements are so well done and really feel like they have weight. When you’re running, even though it’s primarily a third person camera angle, there’s a nice little bob that goes along with every step you take. You’re not able to swing around 180* in any instant like you can in most shooters which adds a more realistic feel. This was the first game I’ve played where you’re dependent on using cover that really felt like you were behind cover and protected. I rarely rounded a corner without first sticking to the wall and taking a peek for hostiles first. This was all handled extremely well. You can stick yourself to just about any surface by simply walking ‘into’ it. Once you’re ‘stuck’, you can peek around corners or pop your head above low walls to scope out the area and issue commands.

I thought the explosions in Black were awesome – G.R.A.W. blows them out of the water! Never have explosions looked and felt so powerful and devastating. They’re just huge! Your dude will often duck from the blow and your HUD will flicker and show a little static.

There are a couple things about G.R.A.W. that had me pretty frustrated. Besides the solo missions, the squad A.I. can be pretty weak at times. I don’t know how many times I would move into position, call my squad up and have one or two of them run right out into the open, giving away our position and getting shot in the process. You can set your squad to Recon or Assault mode and believe it or not, this kind of thing happened on Recon a number of times. Another annoyance is having a squad member take up position right in front of you while you’re lining up a shot. I will admit, I shot a couple of my dudes in the back of the head just out of spite. Assholes should know better!

There are multiplayer modes a-plenty and if you’re an Xbox Live junky, you’ll love G.R.A.W. I haven’t played all of them yet, but quite enjoyed the team based objective mode and co-op missions.

G.R.A.W. was the system seller for me. I’ve been considering an Xbox 360 since it’s release and with the PC version being pushed back a couple months and me hating on PC gaming these days, I just had to pick one up. It is, without a doubt, one of the best games I’ve played. Even though I beat it over a week ago, I’ve still been playing it pretty steady. I highly recommend you check this game out if you’re a 360 owner – and if not, it might be time to seriously consider making that investment.

Rating: 4/5

Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter

14 Responses to “Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter: Review”

  1. Beat me to getting my own review up Matt!

    Although I am focusing more on the multiplayer aspect of the game.

    Can I ask though, whats your source for screenshots? Just cap video and then extract them from that?

  2. @Mvail: Whoa, no sir. I didn't see any graphical glitches at all.

    @Stewart: Ah nice, I see you've already got your review up.

    I actually just grabbed a screenshot from GameSpot. I only capture my videos at 640×480 and it's not sharp enough to use for screenshots.

    @Rob: Good stuff! Looking back on it as I was editing, I made a lot of stupid mistakes. But I cut myself some slack since I'm wicked sick and basically shooting between sneezes. 😉

    I suggest anyone who is more into multiplayer than single player check out what Stewart has to say in this department.

  3. @Matt: Yeah I forced myself to finish it off 😛

    Shame that the videos only capped at 640×480. Mind you I don't think there are many affordable capture card that take cmponent or VGA inputs.

  4. Hell, it looks good. Biggest fear for these types of games on a console system, is fighting with the controller, but from what I can see here it looks really sweet.

    Have you picked up Oblivion Matt? I _really_ want to see a review, and gameplay footage, from that one 😉

  5. @Stewart: Yeah, I'm hoping to get my hands on a new capture card with component in. Trouble is, they seem to run for around $1000.

    @Kim: I rented Oblivion the other night and returned it first thing in the morning. Not an RPG fan at all, but I had heard really good things about this game. I played for about half an hour and wanted to shoot myself in the face.

  6. Holy autoaim, Batman. 🙁 I really hope that isn't in the PC version. Overall, the game looks very fun, nice graphics, excellent sound, we'll see about how it feels control-wise with keyboard/mouse. I miss the GR series, played the first one and enjoyed it.

    Kim: I recorded a movie of Oblivion, if you'd like to check it out: http://limefork.com/ (disregard the domain name, it's to host large files.) Also, should have a review up of it plus more videos on my site. The short gritty version? Definitely Game of the Year contender.

  7. I picked this up last week and have been mightily impressed.

    As you said the explosions are awesome! The huge one just before you have to protect the Mexican Pres in a massive stand off almost had me cowering for cover!

    One thing that bugs me about the AI is having to tell tanks and air support to take out enemy targets. I'd like to think in real life that if an Apache saw a tank shelling 7 shades of crap out of his comrades he'd have the sense to take the bloody thing down without being asked! But I spose it adds to the game.

    I haven't had a chance to play online yet, but I've got a day off work tomoro so I'll give it a spin then.

    While I'm here, please stop bettering my score on Geometry Wars ;O)

  8. @Matt: Actually, I'm pretty sure I have autoaim disabled. Although, I just finished playing through COD2 on the 360 and I know for sure that I had autoaim disabled and my focus was jacked on a number of occasions.

    @Anthony: Yeah dude, I'm at 263,000! Just got my 250K achievement the other day. You best get at it!

  9. I just missed out on that one by like 7,000. I've taken a break from 360ing and went back to some of the titles I missed on the Xbox. Specifically Fable, San Andreas and Half Life 2. Only thing that I don't like about them is I get disc read errors sometimes on SA and Half Life 2 is a glitchy mess (boxes flying through walls?).

  10. I'm a picky bastard and I've noticed some pretty rediculous stuff.

    1. When you throw a grenade he arm makes the motion and the grenade appears a half second later from his knee.

    2. The grenade makes the sound of hitting concrete no matter what surface you throw it at.

    Things like that piss me off. I'm a sound whore so those types of things erk me.

    I'm still getting used to the third person view, and I also still think Rainbow Six 3 is better. I play on a 85" projector and the fact that the body takes up half the screen is annoying.

  11. @Josh – press start > in-gmae (or multiplayer) options > camera view > first person

    Ta-DA! 😀

    This public service announcment was brought to you by the letter U 😛