Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 Review
The first thing that you're probably wondering about Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (GRAW2) for the PSP is what ever happened to Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 1. Well, there was no Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 1 for the PSP. The number after the game name seems to be there to bring it in line with the current generation of the game on home consoles, although the PSP game doesn't share much in common with its console cousins beyond the names of the games and their protagonists. That's not all that surprising, the console versions of GRAW2 were pretty advanced games and it would be impossible to squeeze all of that next-gen technology down into the PSP. So it's not the PS3 version of GRAW2, is it a good game in its own right? Before I get to the answer to that question, let's take a closer look at the game itself.
The console-based versions are squad-based games in which you're never really fighting alone. However in GRAW2 you are a lone wolf fighting on your own. You're an army of one but you're no ordinary soldier. As a member of the elite Ghost squad you are a wired soldier, networked with your headquarters and the rest of the US military. For example, you can call in naval bombardments and pilot UAVs and direct them to drop bombs on the enemy all through your helmet-mounted HUD. You also have access to a wide variety of weapons, from state of the art assault rifles to sniper rifles to the Zeus anti tank missile. The variety of weapons and support available to you is pretty impressive for a portable game, and it certainly helps in keeping the gameplay fresh and interesting throughout the campaign. All of these options come at the cost of simplicity though. The PSP has a limited number of buttons and so a lot of them have to do multiple duties making things awkward at times. For example, to plant explosive charges you need to use the right arrow to switch to grenades and then hold the left arrow while using the up or down arrow to scroll to the charges. After you place the charge you need to go through the grenade menu again to activate the detonation option. That's an awful lot of button presses to set and detonate a charge, and it's too much to do when you're trying to set that charge under fire from the enemy.
While on the topic of controls I should mention that the game uses what has become the standard configuration for shooters on the PSP. The analog nub controls your movement and the face buttons control your look. This scheme works better in some games than others and in this case it works well enough. For the most part the controls are pretty responsive but you'll have occasional problems with the view not stopping in time and causing you to overshoot your target.
The enemy AI in the game isn't bad. Enemies know enough to take cover, drop low, and move around a bit when in a firefight, but don't expect any real kind of tactics on their part. They are also prone to do boneheaded things like ignoring the fact that you've just killed a comrade a few yards away or popping their heads up from behind cover while you're firing at them. Overall, the AI provides enough of a challenge to keep things interesting but don't expect the same level of challenge that you see in the console versions of the game.