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Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 Preview

GAME INFO
publisher: Ubisoft
developer: Red Storm Entertainment
genre: Shooters

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
CPU 2.0 GHz, 1GB RAM, 2GB HDD, 128MB VRAM card
ESRB rating: T
homepage:
www.ghostrecon.com/

release date: Jul 17, 07
» All About Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 on ActionTrip


So, was Ghost Recon: Advanced Fighter any good? It certainly was, if you've played it on the Xbox 360. Ubisoft's shooter soon garnered considerable critical acclaim. Also, it was one of the first games that pushed the capabilities of Microsoft's console to the limits. On the other hand, Ubi treated us to an inexcusably flimsy PC adaptation, with innumerable technical issues, serious multiplayer drawbacks and other mishaps. Instead of making a decent tribute to its successful Xbox 360 counterpart, it ended up being a technically flawed shooter and a major hardware hog to boot. All drawbacks aside, Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter was still a good game, with exciting gameplay and plenty of content on offer. Without question, Ubi managed to revive the Ghost Recon franchise, which, if you recall, came really close to vaporizing into thin air. After the success of GRAW, the inevitable license milkage ensued, and lo; a full-blown sequel was born.

As before, Ubisoft placed the PC version of the game in the hands of Sweden-based developer, GRIN. Not to sound too harsh, but they really did a half-ass job when brining the original to PCs. However, things are looking up for the sequel. The crucial thing to emphasize is that GRAW 2 (PC) is being created independently of the console versions. Many aspects of the game were made exclusively for the PC version, such as a great number of the in-game models and other, as of yet unrevealed, improvements. And, just so you know, the game is slated to arrive on March 9 for the Xbox 360, with PS3 and PC versions coming later that same month (a PSP version is also in the making).

The storyline follows a familiar character. Poor, unfortunate, Captain Scott Mitchell, who we all know from the original, has been recalled on a new mission, a mere 24 hours after the previous game ended. It's the year 2014, and the conflict between Mexican loyalists and rebel forces puts Mexico into a full-scale civil war. As it turns out, the rebels have a greater goal in mind - invading U.S. soil, which is where the Ghosts come in. With cutting-edge weaponry and other state of the art gadgets at their disposal, the Ghosts will be forced to fight on both sides of the border in order to put a stop to this huge conflict.

When we talk about the PC version, GRIN is working intently on enhancing the tactical aspect of the gameplay (in the spirit of the old Ghost Recon games). Mission briefings now feature aerial maps of crucial locations, which may be studied thoroughly before heading out into action. At this point, players also get to attend to the equipment and weaponry of their squad, but at the same time, they must focus on each soldier class and their unique abilities (firepower, medical capacity, etc.). Once the squad is selected and fully-armed, you may choose waypoints via the aerial map and consider the best possible route towards the main objective. Reportedly, the PC version of GRAW 2 has an impressive amount of available tactical options, which drastically sets it apart from its predecessor.

A set of praiseworthy improvements was added to friendly AI. Commanding your teammates is pretty much executed in the same way as in the first game. Albeit some changes were made to command system, which now includes "Assault" and "Recon," both of which feature the standard range of orders, such as cover, move etc. Of course, the way soldiers execute these moves differs greatly depending on which mode is activated. Enter the newly enhanced AI routine. When in Assault mode, your troops won't pay so much attention to finding cover. They'll be focused on taking out their targets as quickly and efficiently as possible. Recon, contrary to Assault, means teammates will duck and use cover more often, resorting to a more tactical and stealthy line of attack. This, indeed, makes an admirable step up since the original, given that your squad members had frequent tendencies to march straight into enemy fire without a slightest regard for their own safety. The HUD has been redesigned and furnished with a few new details. By the way, the focus of the game is teamwork. So, using Recon commands will most probably be the safest best throughout the course of most of the missions. The really cool part is that the enemy AI now reacts to the mode you've set for your teammates. Apart from having more initiative altogether, enemies may respond more aggressively if you resort to slower stealthy approaches or, as opposed to that, they'll hesitate if they see you've begun a more forceful attack.

The developers weren't too lazy to invest some extra into level design. The size of each area gives you additional freedom in terms of movement and on-the-spot tactics, which, naturally, makes for another decent change since the original. They also threw in Cross-Com 2.0 for good measure. This grants you a chance of issuing commands to individual soldiers to view the action through their eyes (via the Cross-Com).

As you spring into action, you'll be pleased to know that the Ghost arsenal received a few welcomed additions. Some older weapons were, on the other hand, improved to ease the task ahead. The Rocket Launcher, for instance, was replaced by a guided missile, which is easily controlled after you fire it (HL 2 anyone?).

To sum up, it certainly seems like the developers are making an effort to improve upon the successful original. On top of that, GRIN really is focused on tweaking the PC version. At present, they are about 70% through the development process, but so far it all looks splendid (judging from the recently released footage). The multiplayer was also refurbished. Apart from new modes and maps, players get to toy around with 27 new weapons boosts. Customization options were enriched, with new helmets and accessories, and even a female player model should you fancy it. We understand that a co-op is also included, but more details on that will come soon.

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