What a time to be alive. We are in the midst of a revolution in gaming and the old run and gun first person shooter has been changed to the new ultra-realistic style of shooter thanks to Redstorm Entertainment. Gone are the days of unlimited health packs and ammo crates, instead we are faced with real-world style action where one shot can and does kill.
Anyone who knows me knows Iím a huge fan of the Rainbow Six series by Redstorm. A simulation of anti-terrorist operations has been something Iíve been longing for, for as long as Iíve been playing PC games. Last year we saw a revolution in shooter design when Redstorm blew everyone away with Rainbow Six. One year and three design tweaks later we have Redstormís latest, Rogue Spear.
Dig the 'Karate Colonel' ready to kick ass!
I canít tell you the rush of excitement I got when I laid my hands on this one, I felt like a kid at Christmas with a new toy and WOW, what a toy it is!
From the music (the best in any game Iíve ever played) to the updated and nicely refined graphics and tweaked AI, Rogue Spear is an excellent title. Do I see a repeat of last yearís awards in Rogue Spears future? Well, suffice it to say that the rest of the tactical shooters coming out more than have their work cut out for them.
A Great Follow-up
Rogue Spear is a great follow-up to last years award winning Rainbow Six and Eagle Watch mission pack and itís taken large strides towards the pinnacle of Ďperfect gameí status. But there are still some clipping problems and the AI, though very much improved, still suffers at times from either being Barney Fife stupid or too Arnold-like superhuman.
In all fairness the human reactions that Redstorm is trying to emulate are not at all easy to do. Modeling real human reactions under stressful conditions like a hostage siege is a tough nut to crack. This was one of the biggest things I wanted to see in follow-ons to Rainbow Six, and I even mentioned it in my first review.
No matter how you slice it, this title is a step forward and shows great promise for future Rainbow Six titles. The graphics are richer and the AI is more sophisticated. The basics of the game interface have stayed the same with some great new additions that enhance not only the tactical side of the game but the immersion factor as well. Commands such as "cover" and the much requested "snipe" command have been added along with a bevy of new weapons to be used in single as well as multiplayer action.
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Installation was a snap, the only weird thing here is the video card picker is a separate entity altogether. It would have been nice to have it within the program itself but itís a minor point, and something you need to use if you have multiple cards in your system. Once youíve chosen your card you can head into the game proper and redo all the bindings to your hearts content, although this time the keys are much better laid out and will need little if any refining.
Intro and Game Modes
As usual, Redstorm treats us to another intro video that plays out better than some games Iíve played and itís done from within the game engine itself. If there was an Oscar award for intro movies, the Rainbow series would have their share of the golden little men on their mantelpiece.
Once youíve gone through the intro sequence a couple dozen times, (if youíre like me and just love to watch it over and over) itís time to head into the main screen and pick your poison. As in the other Rainbow games we are given the options of SINGLE for campaigning, MULTIPLAYER when you need to beat up on your buddies and TRAINING.
This year training is a bit more flexible as you can pick and choose your kits and head into the ďcity street huntĒ and ďkillhouseĒ for some mind numbing action to hone those CQB skills. This time the AI is much more realistic but still VERY deadly, youíll see for yourself when you head in there.
Single player allows you to start your campaign. Typical of the Redstorm style theyíve come up with a great variety of missions (eighteen in all) that will challenge even the best R6 veterans out there. It follows a chilling storyline, and once again the fate of the world hinges on the success of your Rainbow operatives. Due to the previous success of your team their services are in high demand.
The three skill levels to choose from are the same as always: novice, veteran and elite. Each has its bearing on how many tangos and hostages there are as well as the toughness and disposition of the tangos. Elite is not for the faint of heart, these guys are BAD muthas. If youíre new to the series I strongly recommend the novice level until you feel comfortable with this sim.
Go to Part II