X360 Monday, January 23, 2006 | 12:00 AM

Ghost Recon AW: Preview

Ghost Recon AW: Preview

We have been invited last week to check out the latest preview build of Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter on Xbox 360 at Ubisoft's headquarters near Paris. While waiting for the videos who are under embargo for a few more weeks, here are my impressions and a few new images and artworks.



I'm sure you all remember how everyone had been disappointed by the really bad version of GRAW that was presented at X05. Low resolution textures, bad framerate, aliasing, bugs everywhere, there wasn't much good to say for this game except a few good ideas. Well a bit more than 3 months GRAW is back and can boast to be the most impressive game I've seen running on a Xbox 360. Yes, it's that good!

Graphically first, GRAW in motion should convince everyone. Forget about the screenshots and their sometimes weird colors. Once the HDR kicks in and the camera starts reacting convincingly to the sun and light/shadow zone, everything clicks together and seems perfectly natural. This is the first time for me that HDR is not just a graphical gimmick and makes perfect sense, like how it handles with the sniper rifle if you look in a too bright zone.
The HDR also allows for a very distinct mood depending on the time of day. Some levels will be visited for example at dusk, and then at noon, and look very different thanks to the completely different lighting.
Of course such a great lighting required a great shadowing system too. And in this too GRAW does not disappoint, as every shadow in the game is completely realtime. No more bad joining between the different type of shadows from static and dynamic objects, now everything is treated the same way, allowing for big objects like trees to sway with the wind while having their shadow moving along. It's quite impressive once in a helicopter to see these hundreds buildings casting these convincing shadows. A developer told me that the shadows alone used more than 30 MB of RAM. Yes, that's half of the memory of a good old Xbox...
The framerate was also very good, locked at 30 fps most of the time. Considering the team still has almost one month to polish the game, I'm quite convinced they will be able to lock it for good and kill the last few graphical bugs I've seen in the preview build.

The gameplay is a good as expected for such a big franchise as Ghost Recon. The HUD is not just a gimmick, but is a real evolution for the tactical-action genre. Being able to outline your teammates and enemies is a great addition to the game, and even if it can be disabled it's still a part of the game's experience.
The HUD also allows the player to see what the teammates see at all times via a small screen in the top left corner. Switching from one guy to the other is simply done with the pad, allowing to select and give orders very quickly. The drone is also selected this way, and allows the player to survey the battlefield for enemies without taking any risk. It's a very fragile piece of equipment so it should not be exposed too much or it will be destroyed very quickly.
The animations are also a big part of the gameplay, especially the way the player can use a lot of objects as a cover. There are many ways to get to a cover, for example if you are in a very exposed street you can run for a few meters and literally jump head first to a cover to gain a few tens of seconds, or even slide on your knees to be able to fire back faster if needed. All this is very well animated, with a great motion capture work.

The AI has also been really refined, but you'll get all the details on this in our future video with an interview of the Game Designer who worked on this specific part of the game.

I think you know understand how impressed I've been by the evolution of GRAW in the last few months. I admit I've never been a fan of the genre, but I now can't wait to play the final version of this game!

Check back in a few weeks for lots of game footage and a complete interview of one of the game's designers.

All comments

Page 1 2 ... 10 11 >>
Commented on 2006-01-23 00:11:02
Nice preview and pics! Can't wait for the videos. Keep us updated :)
Commented on 2006-01-23 00:15:13
It seems that everytime I see new photos of this game, the graphics keep getting downgraded!?.... These graphics are not next gen at all!! Just not wot I was expecting from the 360...the only good thing about this game next gen I guess is the huge enviroments,but I still love my 360! theres nothing better..:)
Commented on 2006-01-23 00:27:03
Wow, I had to register to ask this, are pictures 13 and 21 real, in-game shots?
Commented on 2006-01-23 00:31:55 In reply to HYBRIDTH30RY
Posted by HYBRIDTH30RY
It seems that everytime I see new photos of this game, the graphics keep getting downgraded!?.... These graphics are not next gen at all!! Just not wot I was expecting from the 360...the only good thing about this game next gen I guess is the huge enviroments,but I still love my 360! theres nothing better..:)
did you even read
everyone whos played the game said that it is better in motion and one of the best looking 360 games
Commented on 2006-01-23 00:37:54 In reply to HYBRIDTH30RY
Posted by HYBRIDTH30RY
It seems that everytime I see new photos of this game, the graphics keep getting downgraded!?.... These graphics are not next gen at all!! Just not wot I was expecting from the 360...the only good thing about this game next gen I guess is the huge enviroments,but I still love my 360! theres nothing better..:)
I've been visiting this site everyday since november and never took the time to register, but seeing how ignorant your remarks are motivated me. Where else have you seen HDR lighting used so well? Screenshots of the game look great, the game in motion; seeing the lighting change, is phenominal.
Commented on 2006-01-23 00:40:31
The textures look pretty low-rez for a 360 game to me. the ghosts look like their suit have lost alot of detail and that desert multiplayer level looks also pretty low rez. it just looks downgraded from some other screens. however, I am eager to see these videos, that i hope will amaze me.
Commented on 2006-01-23 00:48:42
Read what Blim wrote, stills just don't do the subtlety of the game justice. The detail is there but you only notice it when moving (normals etc).

If you don't consider this stunning then you simply aren't going to be satisfied at all next gen.
Commented on 2006-01-23 00:52:17
first off thank you blimm for the preview.
Your impressions are very encouraging for us.

What make me feel very confused about this game , is the screenshots.
While there are screens (like the one with 4 soldiers close to the hellicopter and the other one with the empty city road ) who look super outstanding with a mgs4 level of quality , The rest of them looks very mediocre . I mean low-poly characters , without any bump map etc.
Can you explain me what happen with this stuff please ???
Commented on 2006-01-23 00:54:34 In reply to foreigner
Posted by foreigner
first off thank you blimm for the preview.
Your impressions are very encouraging for us.

What make me feel very confused about this game , is the screenshots.
While there are screens (like the one with 4 soldiers close to the hellicopter and the other one with the empty city road ) who look super outstanding with a mgs4 level of quality , The rest of them looks very mediocre . I mean low-poly characters , without any bump map etc.
Can you explain me what happen with this stuff please ???
exactly. MAybe blim could tell us more about the graphics.
Commented on 2006-01-23 00:55:14
Kind of looks bland if you judge it by the screenshots .. not at all "next-gen" and certainly not what was promised from the early videos. Having said that, I agree, we might as well give it the benefit of the doubt and wait to see what the final build brings. -- although whenever I hear of "30fps" on "next-gen" consoles I do begin to sigh a little ..
Commented on 2006-01-23 00:56:33
Are all those shots real-time/in-game?
Commented on 2006-01-23 00:57:03
Please, blim, someone tell me about the pictures 13 and 21... They are outstanding, but are they real?
Commented on 2006-01-23 00:57:49
Thoughs wire frames go to show how games have come on the last 10 years From a rough count of the polygons on the jeeps thing, ig you where to give the same model to a PSX or Saturn they could render it at only 5 frames a second! And that's rendering nothing other than the jeep!!!
Commented on 2006-01-23 00:57:51 In reply to Elysium
Posted by Elysium
Kind of looks bland if you judge it by the screenshots .. not at all "next-gen" and certainly not what was promised from the early videos. Having said that, I agree, we might as well give it the benefit of the doubt and wait to see what the final build brings. -- although whenever I hear of "30fps" on "next-gen" consoles I do begin to sigh a little ..
It looks almost exactly like the first video released at E3.
Commented on 2006-01-23 00:59:04 In reply to jesus05
Posted by jesus05
Please, blim, someone tell me about the pictures 13 and 21... They are outstanding, but are they real?
13 more than likely isn't but 21 definitely seems possible.

13 looks like action figures to me anyway, the grainy in-game shots look more realistic.
Commented on 2006-01-23 00:59:59 In reply to HYBRIDTH30RY
Posted by jesus05
Wow, I had to register to ask this, are pictures 13 and 21 real, in-game shots?
Yep, and the rest off the screens are pre-rendered!"sigh".

screens do look better everytime new ones come in, but I'm still not over the "E3 fiasco"
Commented on 2006-01-23 01:09:14
Well I sure do see a significant difference here....
But the thing that impressed me most with the E3 trailer, were the animations off the characters/enviroment and the cameramovement, that's what blew me away!
Also the 1st preson view was very impressive, and that also seems to have dissappeared...
Commented on 2006-01-23 01:10:22 In reply to foreigner
Posted by foreigner
first off thank you blimm for the preview.
Your impressions are very encouraging for us.

What make me feel very confused about this game , is the screenshots.
While there are screens (like the one with 4 soldiers close to the hellicopter and the other one with the empty city road ) who look super outstanding with a mgs4 level of quality , The rest of them looks very mediocre . I mean low-poly characters , without any bump map etc.
Can you explain me what happen with this stuff please ???
well the pic with them next to the heli isn't real time, it's just rendered, and i assume the other street pic is something similar.
in motion however this game will look great, you people just can't see past the screens. if i game looks as good as that does in the screenshots then imagine how much better it will be in motion. also can't wait for multiplayer
Commented on 2006-01-23 01:14:11
i don't know why people care so much about 30fps,... i mean lets all stop watching movies until they stop making them in 24fps
Commented on 2006-01-23 01:15:27 In reply to Jato
Posted by Jato
Well I sure do see a significant difference here....
But the thing that impressed me most with the E3 trailer, were the animations off the characters/enviroment and the cameramovement, that's what blew me away!
Also the 1st preson view was very impressive, and that also seems to have dissappeared...
From what I can see the animation and camera movement are still there. The first person view was horribly broken in the E3 video anyway with the gun and crosshair swaying all over the place, the weaponless view is in keeping with previous GR games.
Commented on 2006-01-23 01:17:14 In reply to foreigner
Posted by foreigner
first off thank you blimm for the preview.
Your impressions are very encouraging for us.

What make me feel very confused about this game , is the screenshots.
While there are screens (like the one with 4 soldiers close to the hellicopter and the other one with the empty city road ) who look super outstanding with a mgs4 level of quality , The rest of them looks very mediocre . I mean low-poly characters , without any bump map etc.
Can you explain me what happen with this stuff please ???
OH good God. MGS4 looks NO WHERE NEAR AS GOOD as screen 13 and 21. PLEASE stop it.

And just so you know screen 13 and 21 are Pre-rendered.
Commented on 2006-01-23 01:18:07
This message is in "Boulet Time" (TM), If you still *really* want to see it, click here

Commented on 2006-01-23 01:18:54
This is what I expect the game to look like: check it out

This is what we are getting: check it

Im sure the gameplay is fun and all, and I realize the screens don't really do it justice, but all the textures are super low res and undetailed. The lighting and all is good, but the lack of detail just makes it look like crap. I was hoping the game would look like the image I posted above, it's extremely detailed and looks next-generation...where as the screenshot I posted of what the game will look like when your playing it, looks like a different game entirely.

Im trying not to be negative about the game, im just pointing out what is obvious at this point, and what I have seen. I expected alot more from this game then what I have been shown..the screens are very unimpressive, and even some of the textures in GR2 look better than GRAW...and that is unacceptable. The player models are all very flat, surroundings are flat, very bland and boring...nothing that screams next-gen, especially when compared to other games that are truely amazing to look at.

Now before you go bashing me telling me im being very critcial and harsh, just remember it's my opinion and that I am entitled to it. I will say that I feel like I have been let down, and being a fan of the GR series ever since the beginning, it is really disapointing. This game actually looks like a port rather than a next-generation game...They have one more month to impress me, otherwise they wont be getting my $60...

http://images.xboxyde.com/gallery/public/2555/746_...

^^ Character model looks just like GR2...*rolls eyes*
Commented on 2006-01-23 01:19:29 In reply to Jato
Posted by Jato
too bad..
Don't buy it. Simple as that.
Page 1 2 ... 10 11 >>

About the game


What's up?
  • KORNdog
    KORNdog Finished dishonored 2. really shit last level and ending. (10 Hours ago)
  • GriftGFX
    GriftGFX Most of us are over the hatred and have moved on to indifference :D (12 Hours ago)
  • GriftGFX
    GriftGFX Alimo has more hate for COD than people who actually play FPS games :P (12 Hours ago)
  • aphex187
    aphex187 @alimokrane: CoD was £12.99 on cdkeys the other day. (12 Hours ago)
  • GriftGFX
    GriftGFX I really enjoy the game but believe it's going to have trouble establishing an audience. (13 Hours ago)
  • GriftGFX
    GriftGFX Looks like they pushed LawBreakers into 2017. Good call: [url] (13 Hours ago)
  • Sdarts
    Sdarts @Tinks: "These violent delights have violent ends." (13 Hours ago)
PreviousNext
  • Driftwood
    Driftwood GSY is getting some nice content at 3 pm CEST with our July podcast and some videos of the Deus Ex Mankind Divided preview build. :) (> 3 Months ago)
  • Driftwood
    Driftwood For once we'll be live at 4:30 pm CEST. Blim should not even be tired! (> 3 Months ago)
  • Driftwood
    Driftwood More Quantum Break coverage coming in a few hours, 9:00 a.m CEST. (> 3 Months ago)
  • Driftwood
    Driftwood We'll have a full review up for Firewatch at 7 pm CET. Videos will only be tomorrow though. (> 3 Months ago)
  • Driftwood
    Driftwood Tonight's livestream will be at 9:15 GMT+1, not GMT+2 as first stated. (> 3 Months ago)
  • Driftwood
    Driftwood New GSY Live dedicated this time to Just Cause 3 on Tuesday 9:30 GMT+2 (> 3 Months ago)
  • Driftwood
    Driftwood Join us tomorrow at 10 pm GMT+2 for a new livestream. We'll be playing Rise of the Tomb Raider. (> 3 Months ago)
PreviousNext
Top stories