Advanced Warfighter – Game Review (XBox 360)
Bullets whiz by my head as I move up the street, I return with some suppressive fire as multiple red diamonds pop up on my screen. I speed kneel behind a concrete road divider and grab cover. Using my tactical map I bring my team up into position as I prep a frag grenade. My team gets into position and starts putting fire on the enemy. I take a quick peek around the corner and make sure my grenade will land properly. I heave it and it lands behind the enemy who scatter out of cover as my team cuts them down. One of my men goes down as a sniper pegs him. I change back to my rifle and zoom in. I hold my breathe and squeeze out a careful shot which brings the enemy marksman down. My team reports the area is secure and my teammate’s wound is patched up. I send my UAV forward to scout the next block. We won’t be surprised next time…
This is the next generation world of Ghost Recon. As a fan of the original three games I wasn’t surprised to hear the franchise’s jump to the next generation consoles. Little did I know that a mission to recapture a piece of surveillance hardware would end up with the Canadian Prime Minister dead, the American and Mexican Presidents kidnapped, and would end with me and my M9 fighting for my life in a Mexico City plaza.
The gameplay is straightforward and smooth. If you’ve played Ghost Recon 2, you’ll recognize some parts of the control setup; "A" controls reloads/rate of fire and tapping it reloads, "B" Controls your inventory or tap it to switch to your last used weapon, "Y" controls your actions in the environment (which are contextual) and tapping "X" gives you your combined thermal/night vision goggles. Movement is controlled with the two sticks and your team is controlled with the "Cross-Com," a monocle which "shows you" all the tactical information you need (like a HUD) as well as live camera feeds from your team and/or support vehicles. The Cross-Com enables you to command your team or your limited support options like the UAV, UH-60, Strykers, and M1′s. Your team, choppers, and UAV’s can be placed anywhere but vehicles travel on a preset "track" until they reach the end of it.
Cover is an essential part of the game since it is based on MOUT (Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain) and most of the fighting takes place in and around Mexico City. To get into cover you simply "walk into" a wall or object and Captain Mitchell will take cover behind it. You can crouch, switch his facing, lean, snap fire, look over a low wall, or even take aimed shots from around a corner or over a wall. The gameplay incurs a base of tactics but doesn’t offer the more in-depth tactics offered by the original Ghost Recon; it falls in between those and the arcade action of Ghost Recon 2 and its spawn: Summit Strike. Some vehicle sequences involve firing a minigun from a UH-60 and most go quickly and are "over the top" in terms of action. The Ghosts this time portray the Integrated Warfighter System (IWS) in what is to be a stepping stone to the Future Force Warrior. Some modular weapons make appearances such as the G36K, SCAR-L and SCAR-H modular rifles, a .50 "countersnipe" sniper rifle. A new weapon the MR-C (Modular Weapon-Caseless) a 6.8mm Caseless rifle that is later equipped with a camera which allows you to shoot around corners without exposing your body. In the PC version most of the action happens in the First-Person View (with a visible weapon unlike the 360 version). The 360 goes for the classic (well in terms of GR2) over-the-shoulder view which can be switched with the right bumper. In all the 360 controls run smooth, but the tactical gameplay is lacking somewhat. It seems to have the potential to be much more.
The game can run 1-4 players in a split screen, and can go online. There are multiple modes of play and many times you can play co-op and versus with 2-16 players. On the 360 there is even the first chapter of a Co-op campaign.
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