By Chris Wolf
By Chris Wolf
With all the Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six, and Ghost Recon sequels Ubisoft is pumping out every 3 months, we might as well rename the Xbox 360 the “Tom Clancy’s Xbox 360: Advanced cash cow.” Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 brings the series hero, Scott Mitchell, back to the US-Mexico border to combat, you guessed it, terrorists.
Call me jaded, but I couldn’t have possibly been less excited for this game. I absolutely despised the first one, and the previews looked like its sequel was more of the same.
Luckily, this game outdoes its predecessor in every possible category, improving on the notoriously horrible squad and enemy AI, graphics, and overall interface and ease of use.
The game continues after the first game, with a quick recap of what happened, and what’s happening, in the training level.
One of the biggest complaints I had with the game before I played it is that it takes place in the same area as the first one. Instead of Mexico, you fight in New Mexico… whoopee. Whiny criticisms aside, the game finally won me over.
Ubisoft tweaks the in-game dynamic lighting effects, and really makes it shine (pun intended.)
It really adds an extra layer of realism, and makes you feel like you’re in a sun drenched town south of the border.
Gameplay-wise, it offers major improvements to its “Cross-com.” This device is basically a head mounted computer that allows you to command numerous infantry, air, and mechanized troops on the battlefield in real-time.
Early in the game, you discover a huge amount of enemy troops blocking your way into a base, and receive tank, helicopter, and air strike support.
The level was a visceral kick in the pants allowing me to alternate between all three, wiping out everything in my way, and feeling like an overall badass.
Like all good things, the single player came to an end. I openly wept as I pulled the disc out of my console’s tray and inserted the disc into the box so I could trade it in to GameStop.
At that moment, I had an epiphany; “If the single player in the game was enjoyable, maybe the multiplayer isn’t a suck fest either!” Hurdling my bed in a single bound like the super geek I am, I popped the game back in.
In the first game, the multiplayer was laughable. Even though hardcore fans of the first describe it as a tactical shooter, I’ve experienced Super Soaker fights that were more strategic (put a liter of pickle juice in your tank and aim for the eyes.)
The games consisted of Team A rushing to Team B’s spawn point and camping there for the entirety of the game, killing them as they spawned. This game fixed this, adding dynamic spawn points, which means your spawn point alternates around the map.
The graphics aren’t dumbed down in the multiplayer mode either, unlike its previous installation, which went from above average graphics in single player to “Oh my god, who put Quake 2 in my 360?” graphics in multiplayer. The maps are a lot larger, and have more strategic chokepoints that require teamwork to get past, or capture. The multiplayer feels a lot more polished, and the multiplayer sessions have successfully ripped me away from Gears of War for the last week.
The sequel is undoubtedly a huge improvement over the first game. Those without an internet connection should consider renting this game, since the single player is painfully short. Anybody with an Xbox Live account, however, should consider picking up this game; the multiplayer makes it a must buy.
If you’re on the fence, try out the demos Microsoft offers for free on the Xbox Live Marketplace; there’s a single player and multiplayer demo. Ubisoft proves that yearly sequels can work, as long as the developers give it a little spit shine on the way out the door.