Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter

Poking our heads around each corner in Ghost Recon Advanced Warfigher is a meaningful, heart-tightening and calculated risk. Twice before, the Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales (...that's the Mexican Special Forces) were there in force, waiting to give it to us between the eyes. Leading our co-op squad as leader Scott Mitchell is a thankless task. The entire team of four will need to reload the level from scratch and start from the beginning if he gets killed. Thanks to that, everywhere we turned, our operatives were unhelpfully screaming "don't die!"

In GRAW co-op mode, our skills as individual gamers helped us very little - as getting repeatedly outflanked and shot full of holes tended to demonstrate. Luckily, we had a bit of help from a design team member, who coached us on the intricacies of squad-based infantry tactics. Transforming ourselves into platoon sergeants, we barked orders at our three squadmates to lay down intersecting lanes of fire and travel in "bounding overwatch" formations. As the team leader, overseeing the operation is done through the top-down tactical overlay mode - where we were constantly reminded that "co-op" is short for cooperative.

This top-down view is actually a live satellite shot of the situation, where the squad leader can issue move and attack orders to his team. GRAW co-op supports up to four players, or as few as two - where the balance of your squad of four will be controlled by the computer until the non-leader players die. Human players can take over for their computer counterparts if the human one gets killed, but that's the only leeway you'll get.