Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter Review

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (GRAW) is one of those games that raises the bar for all action games that come after it. It features a great single player campaign that more than any other game before it makes you feel like you’re really in the middle of a battlefield. It also features a multiplayer game that is the most addictive Xbox Live experience since Halo 2. In short, it’s a complete game that should be in every Xbox 360 gamer’s library.

Your squad under fire
The single player campaign takes place in the near future in Mexico City. The US president is there for the formal signing of a North American joint defense treaty with the presidents of Mexico and Canada. However, there are elements in the Mexican military that are deeply opposed to the treaty and seize the opportunity of the meeting of the presidents to stage a coup de tat. As the leader of the elite Ghosts unit, you are sent into the middle of the fray to ensure the safety of the American president as well as to rescue the Mexican president from danger – sorry Canada, your Prime Minister didn’t make it past the initial attack. You may be outnumbered, but you’ve got technology on your side in the form of the Advanced Warfighter system. This system provides you with a constant com-link to your squad, your support, and with headquarters, providing you with up to the second intel and situation reports and allowing you to issue commands to your team and call out targets to your support assets. All of this is monitored and controlled through a heads-up display that still lets you keep an eye out for danger. It’s a cool system made even cooler by the fact that it is actually in development by the US Army. There are plenty of Sci-Fi shooters out there and none of them have anything like this system which is just a few years away from being a reality.

One of the things that is so impressive with the game is that it makes you feel that you are really in the middle of Mexico City during a time of war. The high rise towers, tenements, plazas, and back alleys of the city are all there, and you’re given a fair amount of freedom as to which path you choose to reach your next objective. Sure, the game does have its boundaries, but if you concentrate on achieving your objectives rather than looking for the levels’ edges you’ll rarely come up against them. You’ll constantly need to make decisions about which street to take, scan tall buildings for snipers, and look for the safest route across a large open plaza. This is no run and gun, shooter on a rail here and the game is a tense, immersive, and enjoyable experience because of it.

Another factor that makes the campaign so enjoyable is the variety of situations that you’ll face. You’ll have to assault fortified enemy positions as well as defend against enemy assaults. You’ll face lone snipers, enemy squads, and even armored vehicles and convoys. You’ll also have the opportunity to man the machine gun on a helicopter and be responsible for clearing out a landing zone so that you can deploy your squad. There’s a lot of excitement here and it makes for some very compelling gameplay. For example, one mission has you defending the Mexican president in the rubble that once was the US Embassy against a full-scale assault. You’re outnumbered and seriously outgunned, especially when enemy armor begins to roll in. You must manage to keep the enemy soldiers from flanking you while keeping your head down as machine gun fire pounds the rubble around you and tank cannon fire shakes the ground with deafening blows. You’ll need to stay alive long enough for the air cavalry to arrive and under this kind of assault it won’t be easy. The tension and excitement are guaranteed to quicken your pulse and the feelings of joy and relief when the Apaches arrive to take out the enemy armor are genuine. This is the stuff of great gaming.