The single player campaign is largely an exercise in frustration while the multiplayer online gameplay is impressive. At first, I wondered how the two sides of the coin could be so different, then I realized they were created by two entirely different development teams.
First, the single player game. Graphically, it's pretty. It's nice to see a 360 game that doesn't look like it could have existed on the original Xbox or GameCube. The lighting effects are particularly impressive. They really screwed up the reflection mapping, although that's a minor gripe. The AI, however, leaves much to be desired, and was the major cause for much of my frustration. I mean, I can be half way across the map (and the maps are pretty big), hidden behind a wall, and just peek out around a corner, and somehow the enemy AI on the other side of the map will see me. I personally couldn't see him without using my weapon's scope, but there he was off in the distance, seeing me as if I were 10 feet in front of him. This happened time and time again.
The AI for my teammates was equally disappointing. They would often stand in direct fire waiting on my orders to fire. Sure, I've never been in the military, but I assume if a soldier is under fire AND HE'S GETTING HIT, he'll fire back. You don't need my orders to fire back. Just kill the bastards. Then there were times when the friendly AI just wouldn't follow me. Sometimes, they inexplicably decided to take a break and I had to finish the mission alone.
The single player mission's game scripts were easily broken. Basically, if you do anything out of order, you're screwed. I hate that kind of imposed linearity. If I'm not supposed to do something out of order, don't present me with the opportunity to do it! As it was, GRAW often provided me opportunities to, for instance, take out a helicopter while it was parked on a rooftop. Then, later in the mission, when that helicopter was supposed to fly around the level and attack me, it was already dead and I was stuck with reloading my save.
Doing things out of order also meant you'd have enemies spawning right in front of you (or behind you). They'd just pop into view after the game figures out what it's supposed to be doing. It definitely subtracted from the realism. So why did I even bother with the single player game? Partially because I thought the single player game would eventually get to be as good as the multiplayer gameplay. It never did.
I also have to admit I did it for the achievements.
If the single player game wasn't so short, I wouldn't have finished it. Since GRAW was only 12 levels (including the training level), my complaints could be stomached.
The multiplayer game, however, is impressive. It's largely your traditional "realistic" FPS (except they removed the ability to jump). If you get shot with a bullet or two, you're dead. Its key innovation is in the "drone," a player-controllable spy unit that floats above the battlefield. At first, I thought this was a gimmick; a distraction at best. One map, I decided to really sink my teeth into it and found that this drone offers unprecedented levels of teamwork, if used correctly. Because the drone allows you to spy out enemy locations and mark them on your teammate's HUD, effective use of the drone coupled with good team communication can lead to an unstoppable force. For example, it wasn't unusual for WorlYum, Jsnwright, and I (a three person team) to take on 3-4 other people and easily double their score (i. e. winning 50/25) despite being out numbered and being relatively new to the game. This inevitably lead to the other team asking us to "turn off" the drone because "that's the only reason why you're winning."
Despite the MP game being so impressive, I don't know how much longer I can stomach playing yet another FPS online. Even with the drone element, it remains another FPS, and those are getting a little old right about now.
Game Title: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
Platform: Xbox 360
Genre: First Person Shooter
Release Date: 09th Mar 2006