Rainbow Six Vegas 2 Review (Or Part two of Rainbow Six’s Vegas Vacation)

28 04 2008

Rainbow Six Vegas 2

The second installment in Rainbow Team’s Vegas vacation, R6 Vegas 2, is really nothing more than an over glorified expansion pack. Sure it adds a new feature or two (ACES, and Story/Adversarial EXP Sharing) but it like most sequels (Halo 3, COD4) doesn’t deviate from the core it established. The problem is, other series games, are liked because they are clean, and functioning. Even if at the time of release there are a few kinks in the code, people ignore that, and play on. Rainbow was put on the shelves, broken, so much so that UBI decided to ship it, and then release a patch before it hit stores. They failed to address basic, simple requests from their fan base, and decided what was best for us, the gamer.

THE GOOD:

A new A.C.E.S system allows you to actually feel your accomplishing something.

New PEC sharing, allows you to add to your XP total from either adversarial or single player/co-op game play.

THE BAD:

For some reason, UBI decided it would be a wise move to take out dead-room to live-room chat, when you die you can’t communicate with your living teammates, not even in a standard Team Deathmatch.

Little glitches abound, ladders malfunctioning, grenades sticking to empty space, not to mention some serious (though rare) hit detection issues.

If you’ve played R6 Vegas 1, your shafted out of an achievement in Vegas 2, the “Reach the Rank of Pvt. 1st Class” achievement, is permanently locked as you skip right past it with UBI’s “gift” to it’s loyal gamers of bonus XP. (Note, it has been brought to my attention, that Ubisoft has released a patch that has fixed acheivment issues, and improved the gun sound glitches).

Ubi decided that we could use two new game modes, but we didn’t know that in exchange we would have to sacrifice, Survival, Assassination, and Retrieval. What would posses someone to REMOVE content from a sequel, it’s like cutting out Frodo in the second Lord of the Rings movie. No one liked him anyways, it’s not like he was vital to the story or anything.

That wonderful Trigger-happy glitch remains from Vegas 1, you know the one when you shoot your gun, and the sound loops endlessly, amplified for some reason. That makes if real easy to focus on killing enemies.

THE UGLY:

Why would you disable Radar by default? You didn’t take it out, but you decided to “hide” it from the newbies?

If I headshot a tango from 100 yards, in the back of the head, why the hell do I get CQB (Close Quarters Battle) points?

Why are there limited spawns in Team Deathmatch, it’s like Ubi tried to compensate for removing Survival.

Why can I kill a terrorist through a steel plate… but not through a bottle of bleach?

THE MEAT:

The single player storyline takes place before and during the events of Rainbow Six Vegas, featuring ties-ins with the first game, and even an ending cameo by Logan and his team. That being said, I enjoyed the plot in Vegas 2, far more than Vegas 1, it added a more human feel to the game which was much needed, without spoiling the story for those who haven’t completed it, several levels capture the sense of urgency around the terrorist situation. A cool feature that’s been added in is the ability to have a persistent, Persistent Elite, meaning that the character you create and maintain for single player carries over to multiplayer and vice-a-versa, any weapons or clothes you unlock in one mode, translates to the other. The customization the Vegas 2 offers is choice, you can choose what attachments with which to adorn your gun with (a big plus for a gun whore like myself) and you can modify your uniform with many armor types and camo colors. The face-capture technology is still here, so don’t worries you can still perforate your next door neighbor’s skull in multiplayer. The multiplayer is still in multiplayer limbo, it can’t seem to pick between slow and tactical, and quick n’ twitchy. Some games I’ll play will take up the full time limit, with intense firefights and great teamwork, but most devolve into running in endless loops around the map trying to dot, pre-fire, or shoulder glitch your enemies into oblivion. Vegas is a game you should get if you like the single player style, or if you are a fan of Halo, or the original Vegas, I would not recommend it to someone looking for a slower paced tactical game.

The score:

Graphics: 8.5 (Nothing spectacular, but not to shabby looking either)

Sound: 8 (Vegas 2 features all the standard noises and music, but the gunshots sound hollow, and the explosions and other environmental noises sound distant.

Gameplay: 8.5 (The single player is enjoyable, but multiplayer strips away the usefulness of the cover system, and supplements with Halo style quick aiming and run n’ gunning)

Overall: 8/10 Vegas 2 added some cool tricks and gimmicks, but those quickly fade away to reveal that it’s nothing more than a $60 expansion pack.

*Note that the overall is not an average, but a score based on all the game has to offer.

** Thanks to CollapseControl for the Vegas vacation one liner.





Army of Two Review

5 03 2008

Quick Stats:

Title: Army of Two

Players: 2 Co-op (local/online), 2 versus mode (2v2) (online).

Developer: EA Montreal

Genre: Modern Third Person Shooter

Release Date: March 4th (in stores March 5th) 2008

P3anut Says: 8/10

Summary

EA Montreal’s newest release to the shooting genre, Army of Two combines “stop-and-pop” game play (a la Gears of War) with probably the greatest co-operative system ever designed. The game offers a unique Co-op experience over Xbox Live or local split screen. From the start the game was designed with co-op game play in mind, it’s built and designed to be the co-op game for the Xbox 360. Most games “co-op” game play is either an excerpt of the single player, or a generic bot-match, Army of Two has successfully crafted a single-player game around a co-op game. Any level you play in solo mode can be played in Co-op, from the training level straight through to the final fight, this combined with the brilliant “Agrro Meter” makes Army of Two an excellent game.

Review

Army of Two is a co-op game, simple as that, the game is a co-op game with added singleplayer and multiplayer. This is one of few games to take this path, most games tack on a co-op mode after focusing on singleplayer, by crafting a co-op game from the start, EA Montreal has set a new standard for co-op games everywhere. Army of Two features the standard variety of co-op interactions, you know, the healing, the tactics, standard stuff. A couple of moves are noteworthy here, those being the Step Jump, and Back-to-back maneuvers. Here’s the situation, you and your buddy are beneath a cliff ledge, you know that there are two enemies just waiting for you to climb up the cliff, so you initiate a step jump. Your buddy positions himself at the base of the cliff, and lifts you partially up, high enough to see over the edge, from here you raise your rifle, and eliminate the targets before they can come-to-terms with the seemingly levitating faceless soldier staring them in the face. You clamber up onto the cliff, and turn around and haul your buddy up, you both turn around to find the enemy has surrounded you, cue Back-to-Back mode. Time slows down, you move into a back to back position covering each others unarmored back, you do a John Woo-esque slow spin as you take out enemy after enemy, when the dust settles, twenty some odd enemy soldiers lie defeated at your feet. Now this could be a cut scene, but all of that happens in real time, and under your control. That is what makes Army of Two so spectacular is the strong camaraderie between the two mercenaries.

Back-to-Back

They’ve got us surrounded…. the poor bastards.

The Aggro-system, it’s big it’s bad ass and it’s here to do some damage. Once you master the system, you can tank your way through any level, or sneak around and backstab any enemy. Aggro, is how much the enemy hates you, if they hate your a lot, then they’re going to shoot you a lot. You accrue Aggro by shooting, killing, maiming, pillaging, and generally kicking ass. The more Aggro you obtain, the more enemy fire and attention you receive. Fill up the meter and you can enter Overkill mode, in which you deal double damage, and have unlimited ammunition. Lock-n-load. On the other hand, Aggro can be used stealthily, have your buddy draw some fire, and build up his Aggro, and your as good as invisible, you can flank around the enemy, and hit them where it hurts. Do enough sneaking and backstabbing, and you can enter the stealth style overkill, which makes you invisible, and able to run a lot faster. This allows you to sprint around a melee an entire company to death while they are firing away at your buddy. You glow red as your accrue Aggro, and you fade away as your partner builds Aggro. Some enemies such as the Heavy Armor Soldiers, cannot be killed unless you shoot them in their unarmored back, one of you has to draw their attention, while the other sneaks around and delivers the killing blow.

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Heads Up!

Army of Two offers a huge arsenal of weaponry, and an even larger set of upgrades and customizations. There are assault rifles, Sub-Machine Guns, Sniper Rifles, Shotguns, M203 Grenade Launchers, Pistols, Revolvers, RPG’s, and Heavy Machine Guns, for each of these weapons there are several custimization options. You can upgrade the barrel to add more damage, the stock for accuracy, add a suppressor to tone down Aggro generation, or “PIMP” it out, with gold plating, diamonds, chrome, and other such awesomeness. All of the upgrades affect the Aggro section of the weapons stats, the higher the Aggro stat is, the faster you generate Aggro when firing. Pistols have a low base aggro, while RPG’s and Machine-Guns attract a lot of attention.

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I tend to opt for the more direct approach.

The multiplayer mode in Army of Two, is a 2 vs. 2 team showdown. You and a team-mate square off against another team competing for cash, you can earn money for taking down enemies, capturing objectives, and weeding off the AI enemy population. There are four maps right now, with the first batch of DLC on it’s way (and reportedly FREE!), (‘they’ plan to release at least one map per month) the maps range from a deserted desert town, to downtown Miami. The multiplayer is like a 4 person game of Counterstrike, you buy weapons and upgrades as you gain money throughout the match. At then end of the match the team with the most money is declared the winner.

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Co-op tactics takes center stage in multiplayer

Score:

Graphics: 9.5/10 Ao2 has no tearing, no visual jumping/jittering, excellent graphics and environmental effects.

Sound: 8.5/10 The environment and voice sounds are well recorded, but the weapons sound a little weak.

Gameplay: 8/10 The AI for your buddy sucks, but that is the only downfall for Ao2, the co-op system is excellent.

Overall: 8/10 Ao2 provides a unique co-op experience, and well crafted multiplayer, undoubtedly worth your money.

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Frontlines Fuel of War: Multiplayer Demo Impressions

15 02 2008

A few days ago a multiplayer enabled demo for Frontlines Fuel of War was released on the Xbox LIVE marketplace. Being the impressionable man I am… I caved to peer pressure and downloaded it. I have had a hit-or-miss relationship with Frontlines, I love the concept of the physical frontline moving up, but the SP demo shoved me away with it’s wonky controls and seemingly broken shooting and damage system. Fortunately the MP Demo appears to have fixed the vehicle controls and the damage and physics are much much better now.

In the demo you can pick from 6 Classes (Assault, Heavy Assault, Anti-Vehicle, Sniper, Spec. Ops, and Close Combat, and then compliment your choice with a skill set (Countermeasures, Ground Support, Drone Technician, and Air Support), this leads to so many combinations that you will never find yourself unable to take on a threat. Your up in an oil tower sniping away at hapless infantry as they attempt to cross the bleak oil fields. A tank raises it’s barrel and takes you out with a shell to the face, no worries, respawn with an Anti-Vehicle loadout and Air Support, and go take that bugger out!

Here’s a quick breakdown of Loadouts and Skills

Loadouts

Assault: Assault Rifle, Pistol, Hand Grenades, Rifle mounted grenade launcher

Heavy Asssault: Light Machine-gun, Hand Grenades, Pistol

Anti-Vehicle: Rocket-launcher, Anti-Vehicle Mines, Pistol

Sniper: Sniper Rifle, Pistol, Hand Grenades

Spec. Ops: SMG, Demo Charges, Pistol

Close Combat: Shotgun, Pistol, Hand Grenades

Skills

Drone Technician: You can launch and control a variety of drones, airborne and tracked, able to take on infantry, and armor alike.

Countermeasures: You don’t show up on the Enemy Awareness system (a red triangle surrounding your character when spotted), you can place EMP Spikes to disable drones and vehicles in a given area, and are provided with an EMP Launcher, when fired it disables all electronics in it’s blast radius.

Ground Support: You can repair vehicles and gun emplacements, and place two types of mounted gun positions (Grenade, Rail-gun, Mini-gun, and Sentry-gun) depending on what faction your serving with.

Air Support: You can call in airstrikes (Precision Strike, Carpet Bomb, Fuel-Air Bomb, Vulcan Gunship support) depending on what faction your with.

The gameplay is epic, simply epic, most online console games support a max of 8-16 players per match, Frontlines supports up to 32 players per match, 16 on a side, it can get really chaotic out there. Two maps are included in the demo are called Street and Oilfield, each showcases a different aspect of Frontlines. Street is set in a war-torn deserted city, craters litter the roads, and gaping holes have been ripped in the sides of buildings. The combat here is focused on close quarters to mid-range, Drone use is ideal here, in a map where there could be a threat around every corner having an eye in the sky could make the difference between a kill or a respawn. Oilfield is set on a dessert plateau oil wells dot the landscape while a towering refinery stands in the center. This is a map tailor made for vehicular warfare, each base has an Attack Helicopter, several tanks, and a jeep, further into the desert sub-bases have tanks or jeeps.

The core mechanic in Frontlines is to capture control points to move your frontline further into enemy held territory, every time it’s moved up it forces them back closer and closer to their main base. Once you capture their base (or they use up their alloted lives) the round ends. Most objectives require you to simply sit around and shoot the breeze for a few seconds, while others require you to do something specific, like planting a demo charge on a generator. Once you’ve captured an Objective point you and anyone else on your team can spawn there until it is captured by the enemy.

The Multiplayer demo has me hooked, I’ll admit it, the massive scale, strategic thinking, and vehicular combat is awe-inspiring. There is nothing quite like watching a half-dozen tanks engage in the middle of a dessert while a helicopter launches flares to confuse the rocket on it’s tail. The sheer scale of the multiplayer alone makes it enjoyable, I personally can’t wait until the full game is released.





Turok Multiplayer Micro Review

11 02 2008

Turok is a game of many options, you can knife, snipe, tag, headshot, ventilate, penetrate and eviscerate foes on your way to victory, multiplayer is and always will be a very deciding factor in my opinion of a game. That all being said, the 5 games of Turok I have played have been incredibly fun. I played on two maps and with 2 game types, Free-for-all, and CTF (Team). I immensely enjoyed the sniping in this game, not because of the sniper rifle itself, but for the many options you have to defend your sniper perch. Whiskey soldiers got you down? Raptors getting too close for comfort, never fear, you can throw down a Mini-gun turret, lay exploding mines, shoot a flare away from your position, or use the remote-detonated bombs to add a little “flare” to the game. During my far to short bout of multiplayer gaming, I put to test a few rumours circulating around the forums.

1) Everyone just stands around and gets knife kills
FALSE: Only once did I see someone wait around a knife-kill-in-progress to mop up the survivor.

2) It takes a bazillion bullets to kill someone!
FALSE: There is no auto-aim in this game, for someone accustomed to Halo or Call of Duty, (as myself) it’s a rocky transition, you *can* kill someone with one or two headshots from an SMG, whether you actually pull it off is another matter.

3) The game is way too fast/slow
False/True, In my opinion the game is perfectly paced, it’s moderately fast, yet slow enough to yield some heart-pounding stealth experiences. Take my opinion with a grain of salt, not everyone likes games fast, or vice-a-versa. It’s kind of a mix between Halo, Call of Duty 4, and Splinter Cell. Figure that comes out to be a Haldutysplincell gameplay.

Overall here’s the score (out of 10)
Graphics: 8/10, multiplayer suffers a little, but the animations are fluid and life-like

Sound: 9/10 Excellent sound, really grate with a surround system, crank it up!

Gameplay: 8/10 Turok seems to stay with it’s roots, no real new innovations, still as fun as any shooter on the market. (Plus, common…. DINOSAURS!)

Overall: 8.5/10

It’s not the best game out there, but you get your money’s worth, if you’re a fan of dino-killing, back-stabbing, and meat-fountains, give Turok a try.