Saturday, March 29, 2008

Rainbow Six Vegas 2

The latest XBox 360 acquisition for yours truly is Rainbow Six Vegas 2.

Just so you all know this is my very first Tom Clancy game...Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, whatever the hell else he's attached his name to...this is it, my first exposure to the tactical shooter world. I am more of Call of Duty 4, Halo-style FPS player.

First of my score: 9 out of 10.
You didn't come here to read a rundown of the game itself, so there's no need to rehash the story or gameplay, so I will get right down to my likes and dislikes:

Likes: Good story! Does it have the oomph of Call of Duty 4. Not quite, but it very engaging, and the levels are LONG, with a decent amount of checkpoints, so you never feel like, dammit, I gotta do ALL that all over again.

Tons o'guns - My primary wish for COD4 is a greater array of weaponry...well I get that wish with RSV2. Sure I miss my trusty M-16 with stopping power, or my Red-tiger stripe RPD, but there are plenty of new guns to play around with. I like the M468, and I'm a better sniper in RSV2 than I am in COD4. The Spas-12 is the bane of my existence on Terrorist Hunt, but I sure do enjoy being on the giving end of that shotgun.

Multi-options for CO-OP: from the 4-player Terrorist Hunt to being able to have a buddy just drop and start shooting with you during a campaign, its nice to have so many options that allow you to just play with friends if you want. This is especially key for folks stationed in overseas location like me...we often have hard times finding good multiplayer connections. RSV2 allows me to invite 3 friends for a some private killing against a pretty tough computer-AI, and still level-up our characters.

Dislikes: OK, so as you probably can already guess, as a COD4 shooter, the near insta-kills from RSV2 can be a bit annoying. YES, it is realistic in that sense....but its also a game. Few things are more frustrating than to sneak up to corner, peek around and get one-shotted by a terrorist camping the corner with a shotgun...which brings me to....

The spawning system....hmmm....this is hard to figure out. You seem to spawn right next to, and sometimes in front of, whichever teammate you are "watching" on your observation cam while you wait to respawn....this can put you in some awkward positions, as I've had teammates spawn directly in front of my field of fire, or directly behind me blocking me from backing me and getting out of harm's way during a firefight. This dovetails with the dynamic spawn system the game uses for enemies during terrorist hunt....

There are definite ups and downs to the RSV2 system. On the plus side, a game of T-Hunt has the chance to be different almost everytime. The game dynamically places enemies along your path, and most maps have a plethora of paths you can take to hunt down the enemy. OK so some maps always seem to have a guy in a specific area, but that is generally at the very start of a map, once you get to the first real choice (left, right, middle, up, down, whatever) the game begins to flow the bad guys to your general vicinity. This means that for the most part, no terrorist hunt will ever be exactly the same. Vary your route even a little and guys will come at your from different directions.

The downs about this system can be harsh: the biggest problem with the random, wait till you hit the trigger point spawning system is that quite often, a dude will pop-up in places that you've already "cleared"...for example, you enter a parking lot area, check the right corner, its clear, just some barrels, walk another 10 feet, hit spawning trigger point, bad guy appears behind barrels are starts opening up on your ass....does this happen all the time? NO. But it happens often enough to be noticeable and aggravating. The other part of the game, once a guy has spawned, he's there in that area...yes he will move around, they aren't static, but let's say a teammate moved down to the basement, and spawned two guys, killed one but died. That guy in the basement is still there. Terrorist hunt games has limited lives for the players, so your teammate is done for the match, you might be left running around a giant map trying to find the last one or two terrorists that some else triggered, but you don't a real idea of where they're at. And YES your buddy can TELL you where he thinks they are, but the maps can be very large and at least at this stage, I would wager that most players don't have them memorized yet.

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