As with any urban warfare game, running blindly into enemy fire is going to get you killed pretty damn quick – the key to survival is making good use of the cover afforded to you. Thankfully Ubisoft has made it very easy to make the most of the walls, cars and barrels that litter the environment. Simply move towards a wall, keep pressing the stick forwards and you’ll automatically hug the surface. From there it’s easy to peek around the edge and take pot shots at your enemies without ever having to venture out into the open. A simple click of the contextual action button will make you step away from the wall and carry on with whichever Spec-Ops mission you might be undertaking. The contextual action button will do a multitude of things in different situations – it will make you roll while prone, jump over obstacles when confronted with them and plant explosives when necessary.
The left analogue stick will move you forward and backwards, while also strafing left and right. Clicking will make you crouch, while clicking and holding will put you in a prone position. The right stick obviously controls aiming, while clicking will zoom in, if you’re using a weapon with a scope. The left trigger takes a careful aim, but when used in conjunction with a scoped weapon in zoom mode, the left trigger will hold your breath in order to steady your aim. The right trigger is your primary fire button. As well as the “Y” contextual action button, you also have the “A” weapon reload button which will also switch between single shot and burst mode. The “B” button will cycle through your weapons, while the “X” button will switch night vision on and off. Obviously you can change the controller config, but I found the default pretty intuitive. If there’s one control aspect I didn’t like, it’s that there isn’t a dedicated button for grenade throwing – I find that if I have to manually select a grenade before using one, it’s too late.
But GRAW is a squad based game, that’s supposed to interject tactical aspects into the gameplay. I say supposed to, because often when you need to make use of the rest of your squad, you’re under such heavy fire that you don’t have the time to use them to full effect. That said, controlling the rest of your squad has been made pretty simple, with single presses of the D-pad up or down to send them to a location, attack a position or regroup around you. Unfortunately the AI is a bit hit and miss with your band of comrades. In one particular mission where you have to blow up some tanks, you need to make sure that you order your squad to go somewhere else before setting the explosives. If you don’t they will simply mill around the tank and get blown to bits when the explosives detonate!