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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Tactical FPS

 

Developer

Ubisoft

 

Publisher

Ubisoft

 

ESRB

Mature

 

Released

Q2 2006

 

- Gorgeous visuals

- Addictive gameplay

- Different than Xbox 360 Version

 

 

- Steep system requirements

- Scripted spawning of enemies

- Not enough weapons

- Some mission glitches

 

 

Review: Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (360)

Review: Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (XB)

Review: Rainbow Six 3 (XB)

 

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Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

Games that market new hardware can sometimes lose focus of their true purpose of creating a great player experience. Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter (GRAW) is, if I'm not mistaken, the first game to market to make use of the discreet PhYsX card from Ageia that processes the physics in a game discreetly from your graphics card. While this is a novel idea, it may take some time to catch on depending on the real world improvements that will be seen in games. With this in mind, I was quite surprised to find that there was no marketing flyer or advertisement in the game package. This may not have been a conscious decision by the publisher, however I thought it was good to see that the game wasn't being used as a marketing tool for new hardware.

 

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The original Ghost Recon was my favorite tactical first person shooter. I played through it, and both of the expansion packs with great pleasure. So I was overjoyed to learn that Ghost Recon was finally coming back to the PC after the absence of Ghost Recon 2 for the PC. Advanced Warfighter puts you in the shoes of Scott Mitchell, the Captain of a four person elite unite of Recon soldiers. The storyline follows an insurrection where a Mexican militant is attempting to start a nuclear holocaust by hacking in to and taking control of the nuclear weapons systems of the United States. As Mitchell, you lead your team of "Ghosts" through a series of mission directives in Mexico as you attempt to thwart the Bad Guy's attempt to take over the world. Stock storyline aside, the delivery of the story is smooth enough in its delivery so that it doesn't feel forced. The entire mission takes place in one general location so in between missions, you are briefed on your next objectives in either a helicopter or an armored personnel carrier. These briefings are handled by the game engine so there aren't any cut scenes per se.

 

The game begins by slowly introducing you to the control scheme, which in my opinion for almost all Ubisoft games, is near perfect. Conceptually, Advanced Warfighter takes place a few years in the future, so technologically, the Ghosts have an interesting mix of toys. As Mitchell, you'll be able to see what your squad mates see in real time via their helmet mounted cameras. In some missions, you will also 

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have access to a drone that also has a camera that hovers a hundred yards above the battlefield. There is also the satellite imagery that you can access as well. From this combination of tactical data you can issue orders to your squad via the satellite map, or directly in the game. Like the previous Ghost Recon games, issuing orders to your squad is quick, easy and intuitive. This is great because you will need your squad's help to complete the at times difficult, single player campaign.

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The weapons in Advanced Warfighter are supposed to be a few years from now, so they aren't the standard weapons that gun buffs will be familiar with. The selection of the weapons is a little bit limited however you are able to customize your own and your squad's weapons and loadouts. The loadout that each squad member can equip is based on weight, however is restricted to include a primary weapon, a secondary weapon, and an auxiliary item. I would have preferred to not have any restrictions on what did and did not have to be equipped. Alternatively, it would have been nice to have the ability to swap loadouts during a mission. There were times in the game where it didn't seem prudent to trust the squad AI to complete some of the more specific tasks that I ordered, such as sniping a specific target, or taking out a tank with a rocket. In those cases, I wish that I could have equipped the sniper rifle or the rocket launcher to execute the kill myself. However, with the weight and loadout restriction, this wasn't possible, or at least not prudent as selecting the rocket launcher and the sniper rifle as your loadout at the beginning of the mission would exclude the possibility to equip any assault rifles or submachine guns; weapons far more versatile on the battlefield.

 

Advanced Warfigher for the PC is different from the Xbox 360 in that there is no pulled back 3rd person view; the only available viewpoint is the standard first person view. While more natural, it would have been nice to be able to step outside your characters view to get a better look at the excellent visuals. And make no mistake, the visuals are excellent to behold as is the complementary auditory presentation. The entire presentation really pulls you in, giving you a rush of adrenaline in a firefight. Pulling you further into the game, you are able to perform cool moves like running and diving into a prone position behind cover or running and sliding into a crouching position.

 

The actual gameplay for GRAW is like most tactical shooters. If you don't take your time and execute your strategy perfectly, you'll spend a lot of time loading up your save games. In many other games, I find this frustrating, however with GRAW, although the game is very unforgiving should you decide to run and gun, the satisfaction of executing a perfect assault and recon strategy is very satisfying. The AI of your squad is also very good which helps. They will fire when they see enemies, cover each other's movements, and secure positions of strength, all without you having to babysit them through the process. The enemy AI is also fairly devious as they will pin you under suppressing fire and attempt to flank your position. This makes for some fabulously intense chess match like firefights as you attempt to outflank your enemy.

 

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One thing that detracts a little from the single player experience is how the game is scripted with its spawn points. Enemies always spawn in a certain spot when you reach a given area. As such, if you die, you can easily load again, and watch for that one enemy that killed you to advance to the next area. Although handy in a game, this somewhat undermines the point of creating a tactical game. If you are aware of where your enemies will be ahead of time, the challenge of trying to plan for the unknown or unexpected becomes nonexistent.

 

Although fairly short, I found that the single player campaign was challenging enough to last quite a few hours of entertainment. After that, there is of course the multiplayer component of the game which will likely be the primary draw for many. Unfortunately, this part of the game seems a little bit weak in terms of options as there is only a domination mode and a co-operative mode where you play single player missions with other players. While I don't mind games that focus on delivering a great single player experience first, from a value standpoint, GRAW may not offer as much replay value as it could have.

 

Ghost Recon has been my favorite series for tactical shooters since the first series of the game was released. It's not impossible to play if you aren't a perfect infantry tactician, while still placing a heavy emphasis on proper strategy on the battlefield. The presentation of the game adds to the level in which you are drawn in to the game, and fans of tactical shooters should love it. If you aren't a fan of tactical shooters, Advanced Warfighter may or may not change your mind. However, because it keeps the heart of the gameplay like the original game in the series, it may just turn you into a fan of the genre as the original turned me into a fan of the genre.

 

Mark Leung

(June 16, 2006)

 

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