Of course, we all know that a story isn’t the only thing that a game has to get right and, like the proverbial man said; “If you’ve got great gameplay with you then you don’t need anything else, but if you’ve got bad gameplay then it doesn’t matter what else you’ve got.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself, Mr Proverbial.
So, how is the gameplay for GRAW 2
PC? Well, the good news is that it isn’t substantially different from the previous games and the interface has been successfully streamlined into an easier and more sensible system. The Cross-Com system which forms the backbone of the GRAW 2
set up is still very much present and allows players to select squad members from a distance, either individually or as a whole, and issue orders easily. The pathfinding for the A.I. has also been substantially improved so that fellow soldiers can easily find their way around the environment and find the best places to seek cover.
Unfortunately, the game still suffers from the general useless nature of the team mates and, though they are more reliable and helpful than before, the game was still easy enough for a single player to tackle without help. Being able to order a team member to cover you is helpful on occasion in later levels, but capable players will do just as well by ordering their team to follow them and then taking the lead.
Frankly, it takes a lot less time to just keep on the move and keep a decent eye on the horizon for snipers than it does to direct your team step by step and, even though the tactical map allows complex orders to be given out quickly, the game balance just doesn’t require it a lot of the time. We managed to get a string of ‘Perfect Mission’ awards by working without team mates and tackling levels alone.
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Thankfully, much of the original GRAW
charm is left in or even improved upon. Going through the process of selecting the best loadout for a mission is an interesting and delicate process and swapping team mates around individually instead of cycling through preset teams lets players customise their attacks in a more precise way, though the realism is ruined when you realise that there is no gun-wobble, even when sighting directly down the scope.
Weighing up the pros and cons of each weapon at the start of each level and customising the equipment for each character has a strange, meditative feel to it, especially as each weapon is perfectly balanced and realised.
If, like me, you’re the type of player who enjoys using silenced weapons and tracking through levels slowly and steadily then GRAW 2
won’t disappoint you as the weapons are highly customisable and the sniping action is of very high quality.
However, the game is once more let down by the poor responses of the enemy A.I. Enemies in the game seem to vary between either incredibly accurate and awesome prowess, sniping players from across the cityscapes and take teams down in a matter of moments, and the type of general malaise and lack of awareness that one may expect from a heavily stoned Chav with a blindfold on.
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All too often I managed to go round a corner openly, spot an enemy or two and then slowly raise my ironsights to eye level and kill one of them who had been watching me, only to be ignored by the rebel standing right next to him. It’s also weird when, on normal difficulty, the enemies will often go down with a single hit anywhere on the body – going for a headshot isn’t as satisfying somehow when you can kill a man with a rifle round to the big toe by shooting underneath the car he is hiding behind.
Saving is handled perfectly in GRAW 2
for the PC and thankfully relies on neither a checkpoint based system or a ‘one go, one life’ method either. Instead, players can save at any time they want by uploading their coordinates to central command, but saving isn’t allowed if there are enemies in the vicinity.
This helps keep the action tense and important, with every shot counting and so on, but means that you won’t have to replay substantial amounts of the game every time you die.