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Posted on May 3, 2006 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter – Recon (PC)

James Lombardi

The only thing that comes out faster than games with "Tom Clancy’s…" in the title are books with his name attached. Taking a break from the Rainbow team and the exploits of Sam Fischer, it’s time to return to the elite of the elite in Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter.

This time the Ghosts are decked out with all sorts of snazzy technology (essentially based on the Land Warrior System in R&D with the US Army). The Ghosts’ “Integrated Warfighter System” provides some very useful tools for the player, and you’ll need them. In this iteration of the series, you’ll have to carefully command your four-man team through hostile urban environments.

In a screen that players of Battlefield 2 will find vaguely familiar, hitting tab brings up an overhead command screen. Here you can see your surrounding area and issue commands to your squad to have them assault a position, cover a street, etc. Along with letting you plan the movement of your squad, it also provides vital intelligence. It pays to grab a quiet spot and look at the next area to see if you can spot any enemies before rushing in.

Use the command screen often. Here I used it to spot an enemy sniper on a rooftop before I was anywhere near him. You can see what your teammates see thanks to all that fancy equipment. Just make sure you’re not going to be shot dead while you’re looking through everyone else’s eyes.

The demo lets the player go through the opening mission of the game’s campaign. The Ghosts have to rescue the President who was on a visit to Mexico City. While the President, the Prime Minister of Canada, and the Mexican President were signing a new treaty, members of the Mexican army launch a coup and attack the three leaders. The Ghosts are ordered in to secure the President’s position and prepare for extraction.

While I feel the United States should have had more assets in place than just four men and a Black Hawk Helicopter on standby, it’s a refreshing setting to the usual ex-Soviet satellite or Middle Eastern country typically featured in games like this.

This is one of the rare FPS games where I actually use the peeking controls… I was thinking we could save some money from the budget if we didn’t discard the rope after every use.

The game environment makes use of the PhysX card and software you may have heard about. You won’t need to have the hardware to play this game but this will be one of the first titles supporting the technology. That said, at least in the first mission, I didn’t see a whole lot taking advantage of an advanced physics system. Hopefully the full game will feature some situations where you can actually see some payoff for the CPU cycles being devoted to the physics. As it is, all it seems to add is debris on the ground gets kicked up in front of you when you walk. Every game with “amazing” physics seems to feature that for some reason. Perhaps game developers often kick up empty Chinese food cartons when they walk, but I tend to either step over them or step on them.

As for the gameplay, it’s basically what one can expect from a Ghost Recon game. Firefights are extremely lethal, movement is slow, and teamwork is essential. To truly succeed at this game, you’re going to need to balance quick use of the command screen (the game doesn’t pause while you’re issuing orders) and fast aiming reflexes.

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