Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Review: Your "Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2" sitrep

Scott Mitchell was one of the most disappointing quarterbacks in NFL history. At one point the former University of Utah lefty was supposed to be the heir apparent to Dan Marino but after setting single season records for the Lions in touchdown passes and yards in 1995 (not exactly a hard thing to do considering Detroit’s history of crummy quarterbacks) he started to flame out. His weight ballooned, he had a Ryan Leaf-esque shouting match with head coach Wayne Fontes and lost his job to Charlie Batch. Not a great way to end a once promising career.
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What’s troubling about this is that there is another man with an identical name who might be undergoing the same fate. After a stellar start Captain Scott Mitchell, the squad leader in the “Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter” games, isn’t living up to his own lofty standards. “GRAW 2” does nothing to dishonor this excellent series but because it looks and feels almost exactly like the first “Ghost Recon,” gamers will end up with a serious case of déjà vu.
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The game starts with a long tutorial that displays some of the games few new features. Captain Mitchell can now get a video feed from each of his soldiers so he can see exactly what they can. The squad commands are much smoother, allowing for more flanking maneuvers and giving gamers the ability to take on enemies from multiple angles. A new battlefield drone called the Mule is added to your arsenal, allowing for quicker changes of weapons and frequent reloading. It can also be used for cover and as a scout.
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“GRAW 2’s” game play is filled with plenty of intense duck and cover action. The camera shakes as bullets fly past your head, choppers roar by and your teammates are yelling at you at the same time about where the enemy may or may not be. The game is so intense I found myself putting indentations in my controller from gripping it so hard.
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The game presentation is spectacular. The urban battlefield looks as gritty and sweat-inducing as ever and characters move with life-like realism. The audio is even sweeter. Vehicles, weapons and soldiers all have distinctive sounds/voices and this time you’d better listen to your squad mates because they give you clues about what your enemies are up to.
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I know what you’re thinking. How can I possibly say this series could end up as washed up as a 400-pound former NFL QB after that glowing description? Because I could have just cut and pasted the exact same thing from my review of the original “GRAW!” Where’s the originality?!?
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In a rush to get out “GRAW 2” as quickly as possible Ubisoft left gamers with a sequel that has the same setting, almost identical game play, and a slightly enhanced game presentation than the original. One year is an awful short time to bang out a sequel and “GRAW 2’s” short single-player, heavy multi-player slant is proof of that. This doesn’t make it a bad game because the original was so good, just one that comes across as misrepresented. A better title would have been “GRAW 1.5” or “GRAW: The Expansion Pack” or “GRAW: The Search for More Money.”
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Online nuts and fanboys of this series will probably be happy with “Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2,” but for every other gamer (and those of us with a disturbing knowledge of washed up NFL QB’s) this game marks a step backwards, albeit a small one.
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Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2
Price: $59.99
Category: Tactical Shooter
Players: One (Up to 16 online)
Formats: Xbox 360 (PC, PSP, PS3 in June)
Grade: B+
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Top 5 Moments When Saying “I need a sit rep!” is appropriate
(sitrep = situation report)
1. When a date is going badly and you don’t know what to do.
2. When you’re failing a test and you need help.
3. When you’re trying to decide which console to buy
4. When you’re in a Lazy-boy showroom and want to buy a recliner
5. When you’re trying to decide whose movies, Ben Stiller’s or Owen Wilson’s, have stolen more of your money.

1 comment:

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