While Splinter Cell goes from strength to strength, the same can't be said of Clancy's other flag-waving franchises. Rainbow Six: Lockdown was a disastrous attempt to reinvent the series as an arcade shooter, and now we have this hastily cobbled together conversion of an Xbox 360 game. It's neither good enough nor a respectable way to treat the many loyal fans of the series.
It's almost as if the PS2 game has been deliberately singled out to be the shittest version just to get more people to buy the Xbox 360 game. A cynical viewpoint maybe, but not half as cynical as releasing this watered down effort and expecting to get away with it.
You know things aren't quite right when the actual Warfighter system - the hi-tech combat gizmo that the game is based around - is chopped back to the point where it's almost pointless including it at all. The various pop-up windows and info displays add very little to the overall experience, instead limiting screen space and providing unintentional comedy value when a character appears and moves his mouth out of sync with the audio.
The squad-based action of previous Ghost Recon games has also inexplicably vanished. Whereas the Xbox 360 version gives you control of three team-mates, here you're only ever given one, which further pushes the game towards arcade shooter territory. Perhaps it's just as well, for your supposedly elite squad-mate is either too thick or has a problem with authority, such is his inability to follow orders.
You can put him in either Recon mode, which means he'll only fire when fired upon, or Assault mode, which instils in him the belief that he can take on every enemy and even vehicles single-handedly. After persevering with a few missions, you'll lose patience and end up leaving him behind in Recon mode, doing everything yourself.
Fortunately, enemies have been taking a few tips from their terrorist counterparts in Rainbow Six: Lockdown, alternating between picking you off with pot-shots and then deciding to break cover and charge blindly at you. You'll whittle through the single-player missions, leaving only the online multiplayer Versus mode as a reason to dare put the game in your PS2 ever again. Somehow we can't see many other players willing to join you.
You'll come up against curious design decisions all the way through Advanced Warfighter. Your movement speed is unnaturally fast despite being loaded down with weapons in the hot Mexican sun, so much so that the short sprint burst option pretty much lets you outrun bullets. Crouching and leaning are both cumbersomely handled using L1, yet the lean is actually more of a slight head tilt that gives no sight advantage whatsoever. There are no save points, only checkpoints that are badly spaced. Worst of all, you can't climb over small obstacles or lie prone, which makes sniping unnecessarily difficult when the crosshair is floating around all over the place.
As a standard first-person shooter the game is solid enough, but we suspect that isn't what Ghost Recon fans want or are even expecting from Advanced Warfighter. The variety of missions is actually rather good, covering everything from escorts and defence to infiltration and support. There are also a few twists during missions that lead to new objectives, so you're never quite sure if the end of a mission is really the end of a mission. And although there aren't specific soldier classes, you can go back and replay any completed mission with any choice of weapons.
But it isn't enough to save Advanced Warfighter from a life of mediocrity. The PS2 game was never going to compete with the Xbox 360's graphics, and neither did anyone expect it to. What we didn't anticipate was a completely dumbed down version that doesn't seem to know whether it's a straightforward first-person shooter or a tactical war game. It does neither remarkably well and in many respects suffers from sloppy and poor design. It seems Ubisoft has concentrated so much on next-gen development that they've taken their eye off the ball when it comes to the PS2 game. A crushing disappointment.
A poor man's version of the nextgen game, this looks and plays like it was banged out at the last minute. Ghost Recon fans deserve better.
- Varied missions
- No complicated controls
- Multiplayer features
- Tech display is pointless
- Tactical edge is lost
- Poor buddy and enemy AI