Once upon a time, Tom Clancy was building himself quite a name in videogames. With the series Tom Clancy’s Splinter CellTom Clancy’s Rainbow Six and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon all under his belt, across multiple formats, a few million sales for Ubisoft can only have done him good. In 2006, we saw the dawn of a new era. One in which Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter trusted the player with vastly superior weaponry.

While the output featuring the late author’s name has been slimmed in recent years, it still makes significant impact. Nearly 20 years ago however, that catalogue was growing rapidly. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter – to give it its full name – was just one of five such titles released in that same year. The game saw Xbox, PlayStation 2, PC and Xbox 360 editions. Ubisoft were sure to milk that cash cow.

Even to this day, Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter remains playable on Xbox 360, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. And is certainly worth your effort to do so.

Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter screenshot

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter – Still Feels ‘Advanced’ After all this Time

Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter is a squad-based shooter with the emphasis on realism. In an utter contrast to the disciplines of THQ’s The Outfit: Destruction On DemandGhost Recon: Advanced Warfighter puts you in a living, breathing city, in a war-torn world. Set in the then-near-future (or, 11 years ago if played today), you take on the role of the commander of America’s most highly trained military outfits. In Mexico, rebels are attempting an assassination of their President. Armed with the actual US Military prototype Integrated Warfighter System and prototype weapons, you may yet live to see victory.

The title is orchestrated around city combat. Each of the lengthy missions will see you challenging rebel Mexican forces in locales screened by buildings, parks and highways for as far as the-eye-can-see. Occasional diversions to less densely claustrophobic areas are present, but still clearly purveying their urban attachment. The game provides a simulation of “real-war”. But not as such that the hype of the time may have had you believe. The title remains with the ethos of videogaming at all times. Squad commands are simple, yet effective, flicks of the D-Pad. Extra reinforcements are controlled by AI alone, and never become part of your fleet. In addition to this, the title is punishing – but always fair.

Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter screenshot

Duck and Cover

Missions are challenging. Whether they be simple point-to-point activities or more complicated infiltration affairs. While only a few stray bullets can lead to your demise, it never feels like there’s a case to question when you fall. The enemy AI is well balanced, but is far from achieving an unbelievable standard for the ultra-realism the game’s ideals lead you to believe it attempts to create. Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter is a cunningly crafted piece of entertainment and escapism which can captivate wholly. And yet it never fails to realise its own essence and stand-point; a videogame. And one which a mainstream audience will be at ease to play.

As a war-based title Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter faced some stiff competition on the Xbox 360. Amongst the seemingly endless spew of FPS games we saw Call Of Duty 2. The Outfit: Destruction On Demand‘s more surreal take on war. Medal Of Honor: Airborne and Battlefield 2: Modern Combat helping to fill a non-existent void. Each intent on offering their own interpretation of war; whether it be intended as a simulation or otherwise. It’s hard to say where Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter comes into the spectrum. It certainly carved a niche in it’s own right, but seemingly was the master of it’s own demise. It’s complacency about it’s decision to offer hardcore gaming to a mainstream audience seems a little too rational when compared to some other combat offerings.

Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter screenshot

In the Line of Fire

The title pushed many boundaries graphically at the time of its release. The opening stages of the game take place on public highways and downtown arenas, and you are simple positioned in a city which but two hours ago was brimming with life. Now however, it is now feeling the shadow of the hand of war.

Litter and leaves rustle on the warm concrete. Solar glare casts not only a difference on player perspective, but enhances gameplay also. It’s clear that Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter is no slouch visually. However, the game does feature texture-based errors and occasional flights of distant pop-up. The draw distance is still remarkable to this day, often featuring hundreds of fully realised buildings in every direction, while the sound-scape isn’t a misdemeanour either. Pleasing aural attributes are crafted by sweeping orchestral movements in times of panic and subtle, background echoes when slowly whispering through back streets.

Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter was crafted by skilled hands and was always destined to be one of the Xbox 360’s early big-hitters. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter assures you a well-produced squad-based shooter war game. Even nearly 20-years on, the game stands out from a crowd that eventually moved in a very different direction. Future tech wars are suddenly passé, but Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter provides a great argument as to why the became de rigueur in the first place.

Categories: Games