Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter

Ghost Recon games obsess over reproducing reality, so graphics and animation play a pivotal role. In the past, only PC gamers got to gloat about fresh lighting and molecular detail...but oh how times have changed.

Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter shotguns realism directly into your retinas. The supple, reactive shadows play across the streets of Mexico City with dazzling accuracy while you're fed a constant diet of military authorities barking critical orders and hailstorms of bullets and blossoming explosions. Whoops, there go your legs. It's enough to make you not want to go to war in real life.

Battle hardened developers Red Storm are quick to point out their favorite new advancement, the Cross-Com. That translucent blue square in the corner of the screen serves as a link between you, your fellow soldiers, and every other piece of intel that the armed forces can possibly provide you with. The Cross-Com can pipe video directly from your buddies' helmet-cams, allowing you to silently gain precious advantage mid-battle, or it can flash generals and other bigwigs whose orders get your job done proper. You can even use robotic drones teamed with the Cross-com to do your spying for you, peeping in on enemies silently from the sky and identifying them for future obliteration.

But the Cross-Com doesn't overshadow what has already made this franchise successful, and Red Storm continues to improve on shooty elements like ballistics, providing rules for bullet penetration. Snipers can now shoot straight through solid walls, and since Mexico City is a rat's nest of alleyways, busted shacks, and skyscrapers, you'll see plenty of the concrete jungle. GRAW takes advantage of this by recreating vast chunks of the city as though microscopes are the chief research tool.