How much more advanced can an Advanced Warfighter really get in one year? That's the question we've been asking ourselves ever since Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 was announced for release in March 2007 on Xbox 360, PC and PSP (as well as on PS3 in June). How much better or different could the sequel possibly be with so little time between it and the original?
The single player campaign ended up surprising us with niftily updated gadgets and gripping level design, but the multiplayer additions sounded minor at best and meaningless at worst. Teammate healing... optimized respawn system... Cross Com 2.0? My, this press release would make a nice pillow for us to sleep on.
But when we woke up and actually tested some 16-player matches on the 360, we were proven wrong again. The new features actually do add to the multiplayer experience.
The ability to rescue fallen teammates, for example, led to more coordination and cooperation than we were used to seeing in GRAW battles. Players stuck together in packs and constantly discussed their next movements with each other. Antisocial loners who refused to turn on their headsets quickly perished.
Healing isn't automatic, though. The process takes several long seconds, during which you can do nothing else... but your friend's assailant can prepare another bullet. We learned to take the shooter out first, creating harrowing scenes in which the two of us sniped back and forth at each other over the third player's slowly dying (but still communicating and location information giving) body.