The premise behind Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2
is the same as the first. Once again, you take on the role of Captain Scott Mitchell, leader of the Special Forces Group known as “The Ghosts.” It isn’t necessary to have played the first to get the second game’s plot; any background you do need is given early on.
Ubisoft hasn’t quite managed to nail the emotional side of storytelling (you care more about the extra fire support offered by your squad more than who they are), but the plot is as thick as any Tom Clancy novel. It all begins as a small mission and soon grows to involve mercenaries, rebels, civil war, the US/ Mexican border and a couple of nukes. And guess who gets to clean up the mess? As deep as the plot gets, it would be nice to care about mission objectives a little more.
Gameplay follows a linear, yet open pattern. An objective marker is set somewhere in the mission area, which you must work your way towards. Along the way, you’ll encounter a series of shoot outs with enemies. Most times you are accompanied by a squad of three other soldiers, while other times you are on your own. Missions with the squad are more enjoyable than the solo ones, mainly because of the number of options it leaves you. You can order troops to watch positions while you carry on with a duty or you can have them take on the enemy from one side while you flank the other. Commanding your troops has never been easier and only requires hovering over an area with your reticule and pressing a button.
Squad A.I. is another of GRAW 2’s many revisions. Rather than standing around and waiting for orders, your squad now has a sense of self-preservation and will instinctively take cover when under fire rather than waiting for you to tell them where to go. Squad members are also more useful since they will call out enemy positions and will take them out if need be. Its not to the point where you can just let them roam free and be okay, though it does take a load off your back, allowing for more enjoyment.
The cool thing about GRAW 2’s mission pacing is that events are scattered across the entire game, making sure there is always something new to look forward to. Gameplay is also open-ended enough that you can tackle just about any situation as you see fit. If you’d rather sneak around, you can do that – or you can just charge through the streets, find cover and kill everyone in sight. Taking a more direct method usually leads to the game’s more enjoyable scenarios; there’s nothing like the chaos induced by large-scale gun battles with everything around you exploding.
The downside to the entire single-player campaign is that it is painfully short. The entire campaign can take anywhere from 8 – 12 hours depending on how good you are. Thankfully, the game's single-player mode is backed up by a great multiplayer mode that adds significant playtime.
A number of multiplayer game types are available and range from Deathmatches to objective-based scenarios. A new six-mission Co-op mode is also included and can be played with up to 15 other players. Co-op missions are a little more challenging than single-player ones because of the dynamic mission goals. How challenging will, of course, depend on how well you can coordinate with other players.
Other players can also patch you up, adding yet another layer of strategy to multiplayer games.