Tom Clancy might have his name attached to more games on the market than any one man should, but you have to admit the man gets behind some quality product. From Splinter Cell to Rainbow Six, he's got all this shooter bases covered. With the slow drip of PlayStation 3 titles, anything Mr. Clancy wants to drop on that system is a welcome addition to the library. So before the shrink wrap is even torn off, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 has a leg up.
The shooter sequel takes place just mere days after the hoopla in Mexico City during the first title. No rest for Captain Scott Mitchell and his venerated squad of ghosts. For PS3 owners that missed out on the first go round, GRAW 2 is a refinement on the mechanics of its predecessor. The best of those refinements are a few new additions streamlining your control of squad-mates and hi-tech gadgets. You can now watch your squad-mates movements through a camera mounted on their helmets and give them orders in this view as well. It makes giving squad orders a much safer endeavor, as the camera precludes you from having to peek out from behind cover. The Command Full View is also available on your trusty eye in the key, the UAV3 and the re-supply vehicle, the M.U.L.E. It's an excellent addition, as being able to have full screen view from the point of view of your squad-mates and recon units helps you make better tactical decisions in the heat of battle.
To GRAW veterans it might not feel like anything more than a fully priced expansion pack, but to the uninitiated PS3 owner it's a fun shooter with some seriously deep multiplayer.
Of course, this being a 360 to PS3 port there are a few not so welcome additions as well, namely shoddy SIXAXIS control. After playing far too many titles with superfluous motion control support, I can only conclude that there must be some real push at Sony to get developers to throw SIXAXIS support in. As I've preached before, it's a sure bet when the default control setup has the motion-control turned off, and such is the case here as well. The directions are straightforward, but the implementation leaves much to be desired. You can control both the UAV3 and M.U.L.E. by moving the controller up and down and side to side. Also, you can control a bunch Captain Mitchell's moves by shaking your controller all around. Heck, you can even use the SIXAXIS to aim your firearm, but no one in their right mind would attempt such a feat. No one without a death wish anyway. The controller just doesn't seem responsive enough to handle moves that need to be precise during an intense firefight. It would be nice if they would just stop trying to shoehorn it in.
Motion control chaos aside, the feel and mechanics are pretty tight, except I don't care for the fact that using precision aiming to counter-snipe the terrorists detaches you from cover. It always seems a bit jarring and sometimes makes sniping difficult, especially once your target has spotted you and continually sprays some lead in your direction. At least the new counter-sniping weapon allows you to pop those terrorist bastards while they're still behind cover. If you aren't hemorrhaging blood by the time that pesky terrorist takes cover to reload.
Despite a few occasional graphical hiccups,GRAW 2 brings more solid shooting action to the PS3. The graphics aren't going to blow you away, but they aren't something to scoff at either. The frame rate drops the game suffers from are buzz kills, but they can't wipe out the atmospheric grit. The real driving force behind the game are its intense gun battles, and the pure satisfaction from having set your squad in the perfect position to trounce your enemies. It's too bad that the single player is a bit on the short side, bowing out around the six-hour mark. At least you can use Quick Mission Mode to replay some of your favorite moments.
Thankfully, there are a ton of multiplayer options to keep your itchy finger on the trigger. There are solo, team and co-op game types with up to 16 players battling it out online. With built in clan support, there is plenty of opportunity for tactical shooter fans to maintain a robust online community. To GRAW veterans it might not feel like anything more than a fully priced expansion pack, but to the uninitiated PS3 owner it's a fun shooter with some seriously deep multiplayer.