Tactical shooters are two a penny these days. We’re thinking of Rainbow Six: Vegas, Battlefield 2 and Conflict Zone.
But when it’s from Ubisoft and part of the Tom Clancy series, you’ve just got to sit up and take notice. This high scoring franchise has firmly lodged itself at the top the charts for almost a decade now.
Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 – or GRAW2 so we don’t tie our tongue in knots throughout this review – takes the series one step further by making everything even bigger and better looking. Our trigger finger’s damn itchy.
Tom Clancy veterans will know exactly what to expect from GRAW2. Its mix of balls out shooting and strategic team-based decision making have won a devoted following down the years.
If you’re a fan of shooting and not much else, you may be tempted to steer clear. We say back up soldier. It might not be as fast paced as the hard hitting Gears of War, but it still packs one hell of a punch.
As Captain Scott Mitchell of the secret "Ghosts" US Special Forces group you’re sent straight down Mexico way. Civil war has erupted and, like everywhere else, the good old US of A can’t resist getting stuck in. Go get ‘em Tex.
You’ve a mixture of solo and team-based missions to sink your teeth into. Keeping tabs on your squad mates is an absolute breeze and you can poke them in the right direction with a single button press. It seems like the US army aren’t recruiting the brightest of the bunch these days though. All too often you’ll find yourself shepherding your troops out of harm’s way thanks to the slightly wayward AI.
You don’t just have regular soldiers under your command either. Thanks to blockbusting Pentagon budgets, there’s all sorts of kit at your disposal. First up is the UAV Cypher. Fly this little beauty above the battlefield and you’ll get an instant readout of enemy locations. If you’re not too partial to getting your head blown off by a sniper, this baby works wonders.
Up next is the MULE. This chunky vehicle acts not only as a mobile supply point, but doubles up as a handy piece of cover to keep your health intact.
There’s a lot to get your teeth into but, luckily for us, Ubisoft has included masses of detailed tutorials to get you right up to speed. In no time at all you’ll be sending your squad mates off in one direction to cover your ass, while you snipe yet another group of aggressive enemy types.
GRAW 2’s one hell of a looker. The first time you’re introduced to the city of Juarez, you’ll be picking your jaw up off the floor. This gorgeous sun drenched city might be battered and bruised, but there’s no hiding its beauty.
Forget taking the time to admire the backdrops later on in the game though. Expect bullets flying every which way, vehicles to control and dozens of enemy soldiers raining down on your troops. Oh yes, your men – almost forgot about them. You need to keep them out of danger too. This game is not one for the faint of heart.
They say all’s fair in love and war and if this were true GRAW 2 would be heading for five stars right about now. It’s not without its flaws though and the major one is the length. As glorious as the single player campaign is, it’ll not last you more than half a dozen hours – and that’s not much of a civil war.
To get the most from this game you need to aim high. So if you’re ready solider, turn the difficulty level up to maximum and take on El Banditos at their most foolhardy. You’ll suffer more than a few headshots, granted, but we say live by the sword and die by the sword.
For everyone with Xbox Live GRAW 2 is a dream come true. Whether teaming up with like minded pals or online all on your lonesome, we’re talking multiplayer action that can rivals the great Halo 2.
So for those even remotely interested in combat that has a little more thought to it, GRAW 2’s essential. Get out there and kick some ass soldier.