I'll start things with my typical 'Tactics' (_Tactics_, TACTICS!!!) drill. Followed by weapons systems use.
I only have the demo so I can't say how good the rest of the game is but in the absence of a good flight sim ($#%&*(@#( Janes... I also find this to be a /fantastically/ immersive single-mission.
Not half of which is the frustration level.
ELITE is simply unplayable, with or without aimpoint assist.
Indeed, I'll be giving a potentially better means of gameplay as well as 'training aid' assist in a moment but let's talk the wrong or missing things I note-most.
1. Hostages. With apologies to Winnie...
'Never hath so many died for so few
who are worth so little'...
I have a helluva time getting rid of the dumba$$ Amabassador (Mr. "Am I safe yet?"). Even closing doors in his face doesn't help and he /makes noise/! Tells you imperiously to "Get me outta here!" and then _follows you_ like that damn cat of song and sorry tale.
Since he -comes to you- on the front footsteps of the museum (in veteran mode), it's criminally insane for him to chase you back in!
At the least, you SHOULD be able to command Hostages and a team element to Stay Put and have that happen. 'Hold' sure as heck doesn't work.
Just in case you thought I didn't like them, well, I DON'T! )
They also _come to you_ when there's a terrorist standing right next to them and _squat_ right in front of you. And for little or no reason I've had Mr. AISY lose it completely and go running /into/ the room with his daughter on the heels of "I can't take it anymore!"
Options> Allow us to cripple shoot them, if they're in the way. Better bloody than bagged and tagged.
Options> If one dies, allow us to continue the mission. Maybe use points instead of win/fail absolutes or the secondary/primary goal system like the reviewer mentions.
Options> I'd like to have the ability to kit them with a blast blanket and/or spare vest.
Options> A drug to put them down would be nice. A tazer, a parasymp-thumbstrike. /Anything/ to sit them down and stay them there.
3. Housekeeping/Reserve units.
Obviously from the above, one of the things you /do not/ want to have happen is your unit to get sidetracked 'holding hands' with friendlies. Nor do you want to have a bloody mess just lying in the foyer.
Contrary to the review, I found that enemy patrol/reaction (find the problem, before you 'solve it') tactics were weak but they did indeed seem to utterly ignore corpses that were at their feet.
A real sentry wouldn't. A 'real' sentry KNOWS that his life is worthless and only his only function in life is to give-yell on what he finds.
So... A unit that could pull enemy corpses away and do a quick solvent swipe of the worst mess and then 'hold the door' (corridor security) on high value choke points/hostage corrals _without_ extensive route preplan assignment (follow the beating heart tracks etc. etc.) would be a Very Nice maid service assist.
Have a man get down on all fours, have another get down over his back, at an orthagonal angle. /Stand/ on their backs and quick-look high around the corner. Be ready to throw yourself back if they decide to shoot-through (walls).
Have a strong man loop a stiff bungee through or clip-onto your web gear, leaning back _against_ the direction of your fall and with his boot anchored against your bent knee, flat on the floor.
Put your hand on the bungee as purely a signalling device and Roll Back either with a gun locked under your the upper fat of your gripping arm or 'naked' (recce, quicker) LOW around the corner.
As soon as you see something, shoot it or 'duck' signal by pulling on the chord. High anchor dude sees the bungee start to stretch and snaps you back /Very Fast/.
Take a heavy rubber strop or canvas. Wrap the ends around the fists of two BIG GUYS (waaay too many non-sniper women in this game) and hang-loose between them.
Take 2-3 step 'set' and place both feet into the pocket. Big Men fling you go /high/ above-through a crosscorridor fire zone or into a second floor window, behind smoke or frags.
5. Never Fight Up.
And Never Obey Partitions. Come On, this is /simple/ stuff! Tactics the Russians and Germans perfected in places like Stalingrad and Monte Cassino.
It's simply easier both for eye-focus and predictable kill lanes reasons, to stand on somebodies scalp than to remove his boot from your forehead.
If you MUST fight 'vertically challenged' do it with floor/wallbusters and take rooms that are beyond the easy coverage of the enemy.
6. Better Weapons Reload/Pointfire.
I find my silenced 92SF to be better than my MP5SDS for accuracy and speed and indeed these two are 'good enough' for ALL additional fire missions which is a crock even in the single mission.
/None/ of the 'other weapons' really add to the 'difference' in tactical feel or win-game-this-way alteration. Just names really.
I also find reloads to be /way/ to slow and unsmooth. Especially once I'm IN the firefight, I want to be able to set a bilevel (premission) auto-pop on the remaining clip counts.
IOW, If you're 'clicking' off the sentries, go to 1-2 bullets with slow-silent (manual return to vest) trades. BUT, by damn, if I'm suddenly bounced by 3 baddies, as I hit #5 I should, with a smoothness born of thousands of hours training, pop the slide, let it hit dirt and _as the last round is triggered_ have a new mag already slid in and ready to strip a fresh-15. Clatter all you want.
7. Better Aiming Indices.
I really HATE having my gun come off target, on both single and multi-shooter environments with the last 2-3 rounds 'zinging' around while the corpse is still flopping about. _As long as he moves independently, You Shoot_. Wall hits 4-10' out are no more wasted than corpse penetrations.
I don't see any laser sights. I suppose it's just as well but I /hate/ the current aiming system. With a LONG BARREL (two handed, center-balanced receiver) rifle or SMG; I'm finding I spend more time waiting for the darn 'big O to little O' to center than is worthwhile.
I'd /much/ rather have a 'selective response' system.
A- First Target Fires.
Wherein I hit and _hold_ the MOUSE trigger and as I come around the corner I shoot (in the relevant 1-3-FA modes) as if my trigger finger was constantly 'pulling' until ALL targets stop twitching, or I do. Not something to be used around 'the public' to be sure. Where I'm part of a team, we service target /sectors/ to further speed the game.
B- Selective Fire, Area.
One mouse click, one trigger pull. BUT I stay in 'wide FOV' mode for all shots. Basically the game mode but I'll get back to why it's important in a minute.
C- Snap Fire, Point.
Ever seen the movie about the Entebbe Raid?
There's one instant when the Israeli troopers are in the main lobby of the vacant airport terminal building and there's a terrorist lying down, semihidden/semimasked amongst ALL these poor hostages, 'Taking Pot Shots'.
So what does the best shot do (wearing glasses, I luv it! ?
He folds down the stock of his Uzi, centers deep and rolls around the side of the pillar he's hiding behind.
_As the terrorist lifts his wrist_ (focussed camera shot) he see's the micromovent and puts a hole in the guys forehead. Single Shot.
_I WANT THAT!_ So as I come around a corner, here's Joe Tango standing on the upper balcony and _INSTANTLY_ I'm in quick-focus on that dude (optimally with a blur-periphery to help know I'm aiming at the right point of the balconey).
No /********/ 60 foot pistol shots over an 18" (wobbling like hell) silencer. One smooth, fast, motion into center and pop. Maybe also a roll-out (back around the corner) when done.
No /********/ reach for the LSHIFT key.
8. Practice, Practice=Perfect.
I said earlier that I didn't like 'laser dot' sights nor do I like 'collapsing reticle' ones I've had my circle just barely around the head of a target and missed, full-auto (only to be enemy-shot 'from the hip', not even gun-raised, as the target /walked over me/).
Especially since a good SOF trooper should be able to snapfire on tactile and peripheral vision control without the need to 'set' the body or arm-eye angle _at all_.
What I would do instead is have the 'third eye' system. Moving across the screen and equivalent to my combined pupil/neck 'gimballing'.
An index off the barrel should give me a better elevation 'guess' on closely separated target bunches on a vertical split (two floors, though ideally this should be premission sector split as part of team assignments).
Moving the Mouse simply biases the (eye) scan pattern and BANG! I shoot /without/ the eyeball-on (or sights or or or) formula that is so prevalent in the game.
Well because snap-indexing the aimpoint cheats and is slow and because especially in ELITE mode, 'looking through the sights' is Too Damn Slow, compared to the enemy.
When I slew the eyeball just over the target I pull the trigger and bang, he's dead.
Now how do you get to this point of 'marksmans excellence'?
With conventional 'sighting' on near-far targets, popup and fixed, and using both over-barrel and overpost methods.
Endless Hours of PRACTICE. And it's still fun!
I've seen this at arcades where one particular shooting game gives you cars and buildings etc. to shoot at but the kids always pick the gallery because the aimpoints are clean (nonpixellated or stretch-blur renders) and the centering of their shots are better visible as bragging points.
The point being, once you've practiced the chords, you can watch your player play the damn piano (as a movie type auto-engagmement) and get a realistic 'xx thousands seconds' reading on how he /really reacts/, instinctively.
9. Other Weapons...
I know it's somewhat hokey but I'd like to see some '21st Century' weapons.
A- 22 caliber, locked reciever, weapon. The premiere 'stealth' cum assassin weapon. You /cannot/ fire in-multiple-miss but the weapon makes ZERO noise because even the action is sealed.
B- Robot Recce.
A small rover unit with a camera. RC-car but silent and slow-stable. Maybe put a small gun on it? Sure as heck, the best way to work a boobied bomb is by remote control...
C- Combat Sights.
Like the telescopes on the L-85 and the HK G-11. Mag-optics but with a wider FOV.
D- HK G-11.
Dunno if this sucker is still 'in the works' but it was a super-sounding weapon with 50rds above-barrel and a SUPER rate of fire (caseless, rotary block). Only in 4.7mm but again, I kill everything I see, regardless of caliber so...
SWAT-Cop Gear. Looks like a hershey bar, bangs like a mine. With an effect close to a miniature claymore but less overall 'blast' and uncontrolled fragmentation than a conventional grenade.
F- Door Knockers.
Specialist shotgun rounds that will punch a hole in JUST the locked door.
G- Arwen Riot Guns.
Single Shot projectors of various bus-munitions (smoke, tear, flares etc.) as well as explosives. Modern Day Blooper.
H- Gun Inhibitor.
Ever played/read the various Cyber Punk novels? One of the best 'street samurai' systems is the neural enhancement of reflexes but -short of scifi- the next best is the auto-guns feature. You point your weapon at a crowd, pull the trigger and where you're bionic eye sees a bad boy, it sends a kill-trigger signal, 'skipping' the neutral threat target.
While 360` 'heart monitors' in the huge whitenoise/null environs of a walled building is a crock; THIS is doable, with todays tech, IMO.
Either as a function of a gun-signature thermal scan or as a reactant to the shooters use of an eyepiece that 'marked' targets with a blink-fast iris dilation. Or even (in smoke) with ultrasound projectors on the bodies of friends and a random-motion fire on all others.
Again, to sufficiently speed the engagement so that I can 'deal with' ELITE level opfors.
This technical aid plus the 'third eye' system combined with wide-FOV (B) selective-area fire would give us the ability to do that without worrying about how tweaked the players real-flexes actually are.
(Of course the more you practice, the better you get and if you DON'T practice, between game boot session logs, you may slide a bit too...).
The big problem is going to be finding a gun with electrical priming control...
I- Stealth Skins/ASound.
Wired poncho like devices with an anti-IR hood (like a ninja under a mosquito netting) that detect ambient lighting via a sensor on each 'side' and change the chemical-color opposite panel values of the suit's main colors and camouflage pattern densities.
It DOES exist, only not on (current) manpack sized units.
ASound is just that, you move, you make noise, no helping it. BUT if you also make a /countering/ 'white noise' on an orthagonally out of phase level. Aside from a little 'blur' buzz at some aspects, you should basically be silent as a ghost.
J- Auto Pistols.
There should be some situations in which the team is forced to infiltrate as-is (with minimal 'external' armories) and a Model 94 with the deep-belled 30round clip and the fold down front handle is smaller than even the tiniest MP Kurz variant. Should kick and jump like an electrocuted rattle snake however...
Fibre Optic Cams. Especially in that one 'corner room' of the opening scenario, it's just not Damn Likely that one could 'really' win. Even with simultaneous leapoffs from both doors and no enemy 'Sound the Alarm!' pretense, there is just no way you could do it without some friendly/hostage losses.
BUT if I can use a low noise drill or a pushthrough spike or even just a gentle 'around corner' tucking motion, maybe I could drill each bad guy through the wall 'after'.
10. Hand controls and simpler ROE measures.
I /don't/ like playing the front door banger in the demo. I lose at least 30% of the time.
Largely because I don't have reliable support fires and tailorable coverage angles.
Simply put, if I could use some of the closed-fist, fan-five, and 'pointy' methods you see in the classic SOF movies to help control a team that doesn't seem to do it well on it's own, life would be So Much Simpler.
` Key= Hand (Icon) Up. Mouse Pointer
activation, team stops milling about
and watches for my command.
1 Key= Cover. First available element puts
their gun axes on whatever the
mouse=hand covered item is 'pointed'
at. Be it funnel or vertical level
(while in that room responsibility and
2 Key= Advance thru. Point at door or Stair.
Next available elements move to
crosscover this feature and /the next
element after that/ advances
through (4 men assignment).
3 Key= Deny Axis pointing in XX directions
in a hall or through multi-door rooms
(stay until commanded on).
4 Key= Control The Room. Auto spread by
all elements to all doors and
secondary floor coverages.
5 Key= Delay-X quickie assignment. I hit
this key and /then/ hit 1-4 again for
up to a minute codelay before the
final storm assault (regardless of the
'planned' assault setup). In this
mode the hand motion is 'around and
about' (like a clockface) to
signal a timer start with a subsequent
'quarter', 'half' 'three quarter'
(3/4) or 'index finger=1' minute
After which, you 'crook' your index
like a stopwatch to start the
countdown (headsup counter or subvocal
6 Key= Retrieve/Cancel. Numbered Elements
stuck in Control/Deny positions or a
11. Better Weapon Signature Control
Again, it 'doesn't seem to matter' in the demo (which is a shame) but if I give somebody a SPAS or an AR (or a SAW of any type) as 'backup' firepower to team mission compromise hey should NOT use that weapon as a Primary Kill Device! At least not in 'stealth mode'. Instead, they should use their silenced pistols.
Maybe that's part of the infiltration/assault/blitz controls but I have no command codes or explanations for these in the demo...
Okay, like I say, I like it (in a frustrated sort of way), but I just find the demo to be a little lacking in buy-on! reward with the existing AI and equipment/tactics shortfalls.