GRAW 360 First Impressions


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I picked this game up last night with this deal and I'm blown away.  I've played through the first 4 missions in the single player, and the entire experience thus far has been nothing short of cinematic brilliance.  The first time you ride over Mexico City in the helicopter and the entire city is swaying and moving properly with the motion of the helicopter, there's a very impressive sense of scale and movement that is constructed.  I want to stay away from cliches like this is next gen! but damnit, there's no way this kind of experience is possible on current consoles.  And when you see the explosions and the way buildings, cars and everything blows up, there's such an impact and intensity it makes you wince.

And then there's the multiplayer which is worth $60 alone.  I played splitscreen and online, both times cooperative.  We played cooperative elimination which is where you and the other players are on one side, and have to take out a bunch of computer players.  We set it to high density, meaning there's between 40 and 50 computer players and it's so much fun.  The beginning of the match is just a slaughter as there's big clumps of computer players that are easy to take out.  At this point it's a rush to see who can take out the most soldiers.  But once there's around 15 or 20 enemies left, they start to get spread around the map and things become far more tactical.

I also played coop campaign, which is also great.  I've played 2 missions so far, each one multiple times.  They're similar to the single player missions with changing objectives and constant movement around the map, but they're not as fleshed out or sophisticated.  However, working alongside real people instead of computer controlled allies makes things very fun.  Playing with single or no lives means you have to play very strategically, so voice communication is a must.  With the right group of guys it feels like a hardcore game of paintball.
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I played the game quite a bit more last night and it only gets better.  I tried out some of the different multiplayer modes, such as Solo Elimination and Team Elimination.  These correspond to Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch respectively in usual FPS lingo  We only did the traditional version of Team Elimination but with Solo we got a chance to try out some of the different variants.

Seek and Destroy is like a game of rabbit.  There is one target, and whoever kills that target gets a point and becomes the target.  If you kill anybody while you're the target then you get a point.  But if you're not the target and kill anybody OTHER than the target than you lose a point.  It's hilarious working as a team to get to the target and cut them off, but once you get close it turns into every man for himself.  And once the target is killed it's a mad rush to take out THAT person.  And if you do become the target it's a tough balance to stay hidden/alive while taking players out to get points.

Bounty Hunter is a similar game to Seek and Destroy but instead of just one target, every player has their own target!  More than one player could have the same target, but you never know.  So you could be pursuing your target and see someone running near you, you don't know if they're going after you, your target, or somebody unrelated!  The amount of points you get for each target kill increases.  So the first time you kill your target you get 2 points, and then 4 points, and then 8 points, etc.  However, if you kill anybody ELSE that's not your target, then the number of points per kill resets.  So even if someone is trying to kill you, if they're not your target, it's better to just let them kill you so that you don't lose your bonus.

Thief is the closest to regular deathmatch.  You get one point for every normal kill, and whoever has the most points is considered the "thief", they show up on everybody's HUD and map, and you get two points for killing them.  This mode was pretty fun, but I'd rather play normal elimination or Seek and Destroy.
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I agree that this game typefies next-gen even if that sounds a bit cliché. I am not a "hardcore" gamer, but I do really enjoy playing video games mostly in the sports and adventure genre. Typically, I am not that big in to the first/third person shooter, but this game is awesome.

I've mostly played one-on-one against a friend on an HDTV and the environments are completely enveloping. My brain is fooled into believing that I'm actually there. Even my heart rate increases, for crap's sakes! My only problem with this game is that it may be too realistic given the violent subject. Alas, that is a different discussion and you can't fault a game for being "too good".

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I've had some more great games lately, been mainly playing Team Elimination with random people.  I've been very happy to find that the community has been pretty mature with very little racism and stupid people plaguing the servers like some other popular games.  I've also found that I'm pretty good as well!  I always play as the rifleman class and switch between two different guns, I forget the names, I think the one is the M-50, it has two levels of zoom, and the other is the silenced rifle with only one level of zoom.  Lately I've prefered the silenced rifle as it appears to be more accurate with the trigger held down, but it's definitely less powerful.

One match that really stuck with me was a 7 vs 6 game on the Boneyard map (the small map with the busted planes and such).  All my team had died but me, and there were 3 left on the other team.  I didn't want to play a boring style and just camp and wait for the other team to find me so I moved around the map.  It was great though because I had to be extremely careful constantly checking my rear and moving very slowly.  Being forced to play in a tactical manner I went through the map hugging the walls, crouching much of the time, then sprinting when in the open and diving for cover, I felt like Jack Bauer.  I then caught two of the team off-guard and took them out quickly.  I knew that the third guy would be alerted to that and would make his way over.  So I climbed the stairs of the nearest tower, went into the lying position and waited.  It wasn't long before I saw the lone guy darting between cover points.  He was quite far still, and I had the silenced rifle so it was a tough shot.  I zoomed in quickly and just sprayed and prayed.  Missed him the first time, but when he thought it was safe, I got the sweet headshot.

It was beautiful.

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