Ubisoft’s second Ghost Recon release for the 360, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (or simply GRAW 2) brings us some new adventures and tactics to an already solid game. Just like its predecessor, GRAW 2 is a gorgeous looking title. More of a tweaked graphics engine than a full re-write, it’s the lighting effects, smoke and explosions that really show off the new level of graphical sheen added to this sequel.
Did I say sequel? Hmm, I suppose that technically it’s a sequel, but I’d say GRAW 1.5 is closer to what it actually is. Rather than serving up a totally revamped gaming experience, GRAW 2 offers more of the same tactical action and many of the battle settings that can be found in the first version of the game. If you’re expecting something different, you’re in for a world of disappointment. But if that’s your cup of tea and you’re looking for some refinements then GRAW 2 will be right up your alley.
Having saved the US president and crippled a terrorist ring in deepest Mexico at the end of GRAW, Captain Mitchell is called back from R&R after intel detects a surge in rebel activity on the Mexican border. Angry at losing their leader to the US, the terrorists are planning a revenge attack and are threatening a nuclear strike on the US. You’ve got 72 hours to prevent the nuke from launching.
Seasoned GRAW vets may want to skip the tutorial, but it’s got a few Achievements that you can collect by completing each task without a mistake. You’re also introduced to the new Cross Com, it pretty much does the same as before, but better. You can now see what the troops your commanding see by holding the right bumper. This gives players greater control over the position of friendly units, enabling them to direct troops into cover and target specific enemy units even if the commanding officer is on the opposite side of the battlefield.
Commanding multiple units got much easier and quicker, and there’s more variety in the types of Allied units that give you support. The newest unit, the Mule, is an unmanned armored vehicle and it’s indispensable on the battlefield, providing ammo top-ups and health kits on the move. It looks like a miniature version of the batmobile from Batman Begins, but only cooler. Many of the original vehicles return too; the Stalker APC, M1-A1 tank, helicopters and, of course, the infamous UAV drone. You’re also backed up by additional infantry, from Mexican loyalists to US Marines. The interaction between units is much more seamless compared to the first GRAW and the additional units are essential to get through the game.
Overall there are a number of improvements that make the game playing experience a bit more enjoyable than it’s big brother, but there’s nothing so radical or new to truly call it a sequel. I’m not saying that the game isn’t fun or worth it, far from it. It’s very enjoyable and ramps up the adrenaline, but it’s not a true sequel. With that being said it’s still something worth buying.