The ok Single Player is Marred by Thick Ai and Bad Multiplayer
G.R.A.W is a hi tech mix of the ghost recon gameplay you love or loathe, combined with the graphics of this Gen gaming. Gone are the poorly rendered textures and foliage, instead you are left with a bleak hot mexican town.
Tom clancy's (A name i now shudder when i hear, mainly because he is more famous for his games that his books. ) Ghost Recon series, was good, but suffered from bugs and the graphics were pretty poor, and thats putting it nicely. Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter came along and fixed this though, but like all high spec graphics games, it required a helluva machine to run it.
So Tom Clancy, ( or more realistically, his team of underpaid, over stressed game designers), decided to release the sequel on all consoles, to make up for 'what we've missed.' There is an ominous error that the team made though, which i thought would have been obvious from the very beginning, For PS3 users, how the heck would we know what was going on. When the Protagonist is on the phone to the President of the United States and acting quite chatty, how the heck did he get his number in the first place? It leaves PS3 users feeling more than slightly confused. However Graw 2 is so similar to Graw it could be it's twin. It's like when you accomplish something in life only to have your annoying younger brother try and do the exact same, but to a lesser standard.
I've just realised thats the perfect way to sum this game up...
Anyway onto the game itself. In a not too distant future (sigh) your a recon unit that ends up taking on half of mexican rebels, disarming a nucleur bomb, amongst other things. to quote Sweetwater from Battlefield : Bad Company ' Isn't there a bunch of other guys that also do this stuff? Like the American Army?'. I've come to agree with him, there's meant to be. But throughout the game you get very little help from anyone except a few underarmed, Mexican rebels (of the rebels). You know i'm not sure, it actually might be the Mexican army you are fighting. In which case it raises a bigger question, why send a Ghost unit to fight off half the military when you have a huge army back home that can do the whole thing a lot quicker? Anyway bad story telling aside (i blame you Tom Clancy) The game isn't really story driven (like most fps' then) so onto the actual game itself.
(funny thats the second time i've said that with little intention of doing it.)
No seriously, the gameplay is mixed. The shooting is loose and hard to aim, its not the controls fault, its the speed at which your aiming reticle moves. However i guess this is to compensate for the extremely thick ai that look like they've just graduated last from A.I training school and were placed as merely cannon fodder in the eternal war that is , Tom Clancy's Universe.
Also for something that says, realistic war simulation within the manual several times, it doesn't seem to be anything like that. I know i know i'm nitpicking, but if i didn't nitpick i wouldn't be a good reviewer or even write a fairly long review in the first place would i?
I guess the problem is that for a game that intends to be realistic, you sure do get a helluva bunch of useless gadgets. I cry for a game where all you need is your gun and your instincts. Not x ray specs to see through walls. Even though the enemies stand up behind crouching cover so often you'd think they're doing squats...
The fact that all the enemies are highlighted as soon as your retina crosses them, although useful in a frantic firefight... There aren't any. you dispatch a few thick, poorly organised enemies at a time untill you call it a day. (i won't ruin the ending to this 'story')
However for some reason Ghost Recon Advanced warfighter 2 comes off immensely satisfying. Maybe its because when you finally get the cursed retina on an enemy you are just thankful that you can now shoot the damn terrorist/rebel/space mutant...
Thankfully your team mates are slightly smarter than the enemies. Although emphasis on the slightly. Unlike most computer controlled coop games, your teammates can actually die on this. And when they die, you don't get a game over screen, they just die. They follow basic commands, attack, retreat, fire at will, cease fire. But by themselves they're paraletic, either they have been taught to stand still by the drill instructor until ordered about, or have lost the will to live in this video gamer's hell that is G.R.A.W 2. Something that i did early on...
For example, during one of the tank/vehicle fights, which is meant to be a tense fight, full of ducking and weaving and diving for cover. Your Teammates just stand there, taking damage and returning the odd pistol shot. What made this worse is that when they are injured you have to heal them, using up your medikits for their stupidity, thankfully i was able to go solo and left the idiots to die.
Now that i've ripped the games apart with my cutting remarks, i think its time i highlight one of the good parts about the game.
The sound is good, it is one of the things that makes the game slightly immersive, the gusn sound as they should and enemies communicate with each other , saying flanking etc, even if they often don't do what they say. Your teammates also have their moments, for example when enemies DO hide behind objects your teammate will highlight what they are hiding behind.
The visuals are also fairly nice, the graphics look good on HD tv and the interface looks fairly futuristic.
If you finish the singleplayer, when you get onto the multiplayer, i mean if you can get on, your treated to a rather watered down version of the single player. Although there is coop and team deathmatch and such, the single player wasn't that fun in the first place, and having your friends then play it with you seems more like you're punshing them then asking them to join in something that is fun. Which are what games are meant to be! ( that last sentence again is for you Tom Clancy)
Overall, i couldn't reccomend this game to many, it's average single player, thick AI, boring multiplayer, combined with some of the most annoying characters you'll find in a shoot em up, leave you feeling although the games weapons maybe advanced, the gameplay still feels like the developers are wearing pelts and carrying clubs... It's a pity because the Tom Clancy team can get it right, for example look at the Rainbow Six Vegas game's, both are high quality and fun and although Hi Techfuturistic, you feel the need to implement some of your gadgets as the AI are actually competent and in rare occasions, Smart.