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Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter PC DVD-ROM

Published by Ubisoft
Developed by Ubisoft
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £34.99

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, an introduction.

There was a time when the Ghost Recon series was a PC exclusive. How times have changed. Since the original Ghost Recon and its expansions appeared on the PC, both the original game, its expansions and its sequel have appeared on various consoles whilst the PC has largely been ignored. In fact the second game in the series was even cancelled for the PC. PC gamers have not been forgotten though and only a short while after Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter appeared on the Xbox 360, the game has also been released on the PC.

What's the game about?

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter is a futuristic tactical shooter set in Mexico City in 2013. You'll play as Captain Scott Mitchell who, with his team of Ghosts, must rescue the US president. At the beginning of the game the US, Mexican and Canadian presidents meet in Mexico City to discuss such issues as national security and illegal immigration. The meeting goes horribly wrong as terrorists kill the Canadian president.  The Mexican and US presidents are missing and it's your job to find them.  Thankfully you have the help of not only your three comrades but also the Integrated Warfighter System, a collection of cutting edge military technologies that will make your job a little easier.

What's good about the game?

Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter was an impressive game on the Xbox 360 and in many ways it's just as impressive on the PC. In fact the levels, which are different to those in the Xbox 360 version, feel significantly larger which is saying something as they were quite large on the Xbox 360 version. Another difference with the PC version is that you now have a tactical map screen from which you can co-ordinate your team-mates in a kind of RTS fashion. You don't have to use this tactical map screen if you don't want to (commands can be issused from the main view using keys and the middle mouse button) but coordinating your team without using the tactical map is nowhere near as effective. You'll need to be efficient in coordinating your men too, as enemies can come at you from all angles given the size of the levels.

Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter gives you some new devices to aid you in your missions. Perhaps the most remarkable device in Advanced Warfighter is the new Cross-Com device. Essentially this is that blue tinted monocle you've seen over the left eye of the Ghost's eyes in the screenshots (which is represented by a small picture-in-picture on the top left side of the HUD). The Cross-Com allows you to see what your men (and the vehicles you can remotely control) can see. Using the Cross-Com you can get an idea of what's happening in parts of the city where you'll need to go. Using the tactical map you have of the city (accessed by pressing the Tab button),  you can send air support drones to see how many enemies are situated there. You'll see whatever the drone finds on the Cross-Com. As well as the Cross-Com you also have the Narcom, a picture-in-picture that appears on the top right of the HUD. In the Narcom you'll see news flashes and receive information and intelligence reports from generals that are located elsewhere. As you'll find out below though, the Narcom isn't a great deal of use for deaf gamers.

What's not so good about the game?

If you want to have Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter looking its best, you're going to either need a PC with a very strong specification or a pile of cash and a strong will to upgrade your current PC. Our PC (a Pentium D 805/ATi X800XT/1GB RAM) was only allowed to run the game on medium settings. Even then the frame rate was liable to dip at times. If you want the game to look it's best, you're going to need one heck of a PC if you don't want to suffer performance issues. Rather disappointingly the game isn't ideal for deaf gamers (more on that a little later on). The developers decided to go with a checkpoint save system. Checkpoint save systems have traditionally been reserved for console games where quicksaving is not an option. What's particularly annoying about the checkpoint save system is that the checkpoints are few and far between, meaning that if you're killed you'll usually have to redo an awful lot, which is very annoying. Still I daresay some will appreciate the extra challenge this provides.  The game offers online play for up to 32 players but unlike the Xbox 360 version there are only two modes, a Co-op mode that uses missions from the campaign (for 4 players) and a Domination mode. For a game that was as highly anticipated as Advanced Warfighter this paltry amount of online options is disappointing to say the least.

How does it look?

Normally in this section we give you our honest opinion of what we think of the visual quality of the game. With Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter though, we aren't able to. As we mentioned above, the game deems our PC only capable of handling the medium quality graphics so alas that's all we can comment on. With the game running on medium settings the game looks good although it's certainly not the greatest looking FPS we've seen and it's certainly not as impressive as the Xbox 360 version of the game. As you walk through the streets you'll notice various objects such as grass, bricks and empty cans that litter the floor pop-up, which is disappointing and certain textures appear to be of a lesser quality to what you might expect. On the positive side of things you'll notice that the character models still look great (which on medium settings is surprising) and there are some very impressive heat wave and other blurring effects on display. Even on medium settings though the frame rate is liable to dip at times, which is disappointing. We can only imagine how good the game would be with the maximum graphical details enabled and you can bet this is one game that's going to feature in a lot of CPU and graphics card review benchmarks over the next year or so.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Quite frankly the game is not ideal for deaf gamers. Just like the Xbox 360 version the game isn't subtitled (or captioned) and as a result you're going to miss out on all of the dialogue within the game. You'll also miss out on what's said using the Narcom. News flashes and feedback from other sources will all be aspects of the game deaf gamers will miss out on. Tutorial messages aren't subtitled. However, you are shown basic control commands in text. You are notified when objectives have been given and you can recall your objectives from the tactical map screen. You are also notified in text when any objectives have been completed and when the game has been saved at a checkpoint.

Final thoughts.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter is the first Ghost Recon game to be released on the PC for a long while but the wait has certainly been worth it. The levels are huge and well designed, the action is as intense and suspenseful as you could wish to hope for and the AI is challenging for the most part. The disappointments with the game come in the form of the steep system requirements and the poor provision for deaf gamers. A checkpoint save system, with checkpoints that are quite widely spaced, is also something you'll have to live with. All things considered Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter is probably the best tactical shooter to date and is also the best looking one if you have the PC specifications to run the game in all of its visual glory.

Overall Game Rating: 8.6/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

(Click the letter or here for details)

In many ways Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter is a very impressive tactical shooter. The poor provision for deaf gamers takes the shine off the experience. You'll also need one heck of a PC specification if you want the game to look as good as it should.