Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter - try saying that after a few pints. Anyway, the fan-pleasing first-person perspective is back, but what strikes us most about Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter is its look on Xbox. We thought it was an Xbox 360 game.
"At the beginning of development, we made the decision to provide a consistent experience among all versions of Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, on any platform," Craig Leigh, the game's creative director, told us. "To fully take advantage of the Xbox's strengths, we decided to make our version a first-person shooter. Our game, while consistent with the universe, allows for a completely different gameplay experience that includes Xbox-exclusive features like fighting from roofs (a Ghost Recon first), exclusive weapons and squad management."
In this, the third Ghost Recon outing we've seen on Xbox, the focus is on the two-man squad element and the interplay between your character Captain Scott Mitchell and SFC Joe Ramirez. You'll be constantly directing him to take cover and flank the enemy, and he'll do so intelligently. "We want you to realize that Ramirez is an intelligent, indispensable part of your arsenal, as effective as any airstrike could ever be," explained Leigh.
Ramirez isn't the only member of the squad, though. There is a further two-man team in Mexico City, which you can communicate with via the new Cross-Com system. For instance, if you enter a plaza and are pinned down by overwhelming enemy fire, Bravo (the second unit) can be diverted via Cross-Com to flank and destroy the enemy. Cross-Com must, however, be used wisely. If, for example, you call the team away from their primary target, say the destruction of a bridge, and they fail to destroy it on time, this may allow enemy reinforcements to enter and make life harder later on. The game is full of these kinds of trade-offs.
"We have really tried to push the shooter and team-mate component in the Xbox version to ensure the player is getting new and challenging gameplay," Leigh told us. No kidding.
Cross-Com is also linked to all the tactical maps, letting players alert each other when they spot enemies, either on Live or in the single-player campaigns. Calling out a command will transmit an appropriate command icon to your team-mates' maps. For instance, if you spot enemies and use Cross-Com to transmit, red diamonds will indicate enemy positions on your and your team-mates' maps. Those opponents have been 'painted', and their positions will be tracked until they die. But surely this will make the game easier than before if you can see what's happening and warn everyone?
"Today's lethal weapon is technology... but on the battlefield you still need to survive! When the flak hits the fan, though, you'll still need to crouch, move and destroy the enemy. The enemy doesn't care that you have a cool high-tech suit on, they will just try to shoot you. The armour will protect you, but you are in no way invincible," Leigh said.
Thank goodness then that the list of weapons at your disposal features real-world and actual prototype weapons. These include the formidable Crye Associates Modular Rifle, equipped with a modular bullpup design, a rugged plastic composite outer shell, 45 rounds of lightweight 6.8mm caseless ammunition, 900 rounds per minute, red-dot aiming sight, and flip-up front and rear sights. We'll have more on this great-looking beast soon!