Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What Happened To FPS Single-Player? RAINBOW SIX: ROGUE SPEAR


I'm looking at this Homefront game which came out recently.  Now if you don't know about this game, the United States is successfully invaded by North Korea.  And there's supposed to be the drama of watching innocent civilians die and fighting in the suburbs of the US.

This is for show

For a game that's supposed to take on Call of Duty, it certainly came out to lukewarm reception.  See GiantBomb's review--3 out of 5.  Now this isn't a bad game, but the single-player leaves a lot to be expected.  According to GiantBomb, the campaign is short and contains many FPS pitfalls such as dumb AI teammates and generic shoot-em up action.  The multiplayer is unique but consider the entire advertising campaign was hinged on single-player (oooh, kill the North Koreans, save AMERICA!!), it's quite pathetic how mediocre it turned out.  Also see other pro reviewers, most of which say the same thing.

Another game that comes to mind is the recent Medal of Honor game.  It certainly was a noble effort, but it set the blueprint for Homefront--a "new twist" to single-player that was a huge letdown, some slight differences to multiplayer, and it's done.  GiantBomb also gave this a 3 out of 5, citing technical issues and a short campaign as main problems.  I also like how everyone made a huge-ass deal about not being able to play as the Taliban in multiplayer..."OH NO, freedom of expression in games is ruined forever, we're all screwed!!"  Well so what if you could play as the Taliban, doesn't really matter since the game is now second-hand news.

I can't say I've played every single FPS out nowadays, but a lot of them go for the "epic" campaign experience and they get smoked.  Sure, there's good single-player games like Battlefield: Bad Company, but not enough to make me care about this generation of FPSes.

And before you say this is Call of Duty pimpage...well, I wouldn't say I went back and played any of the CoD campaigns after I've beaten them on Veteran.  Sure, the stories are pretty cool such as the nuke in CoD4, but if I wanted to see a series of cutscenes, I'd watch a movie, not play a linear FPS.

I guess the reason I bring up single-player now is because everyone's saying "single-player is dead!  it's all about lousy-ass online multiplayer," which doens't necessarily have to be the case.  Besides, if a game's online dries up, you need something to rely on.


I wonder what happened to FPSes with cool single-player games.  Let's take a look at Goldeneye and Perfect Dark for the N64.  At least those games were fast and furious and gave you a couple of options on how to take on the level.  They were very "loose," to say the least.  You could go for fast times which piqued gamers' interests and led to speed-running competitions like  Also, there were fun cheats such as Invisibility, All Guns, Enemy Rockets, 007 Mode, aw hell yeah...

 Put this in a picture frame and hang it up on your wall.

BTW, how about multiplayer bots?  See Perfect Dark and the TimeSplitters series--you could get lost in single-player for days...  And about TimeSplitters...what other FPS can you play as Russian soldiers, '30's gangster dudes, scientists, cyberpunk hackers, cowboys, robots, zombies, talk about CRAZY.  Damn, I loved TimeSplitters 2 back in the day.

And what a dumb coincidence, Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, and TimeSplitters were made by the same people (from Rare to Free Radical).  Those guys are geniuses.


But what about another FPS I've forgotten about until now?  I'm talking about Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear for the PC.  No I'm not talking about Rainbow Six: Vegas which wasn't bad, but the campaign was vastly different from this one, having more in common with Halo and CoD.

Bear in mind that this game came out in 1999.  It is a TACTICAL shooter which means it's rather slow-paced and has noticeable gun recoil.  It has some flaws, such as the primitive graphics, the lack of a gun model (i.e. can't see your gun from the first-person view), and other nitpicks, but this game had a lot of stuff to offer.  BTW, this game does have a third-person view too which isn't bad either.

 I look really stupid right now.

In single-player, you enter the level with up to eight operatives.  You gather into teams of two/three/four.  You move around shooting terrorists.  Sometimes there are side-objectives like "save the hostages" or "don't let the T's defuse the bomb or sound the alarm."  Your guys die in one to three shots.  When all of your eight guys die or the bomb is defused or a hostage is shot, it's MISSION FAILURE.  There's a sense of tension at all times since you have little room for error.

EDIT: Might as well delve a bit more into the difference between this and R6:Vegas.  Vegas is just like Halo, CoD, what have you--just kill a bunch of guys, move on to the next checkpoint.  You die, you go back to the last checkpoint.   Levels usually took over an hour with a string of checkpoints (see above diagram).  In Rogue Spear (and other "old" FPSes), levels were shorter and less linear but had no respawn points.  I'd rather not play long, drawn-out missions with little variety so gimme the old FPS levels nowadays.

What was awesome about single-player was that you could view an overview map of the entire level and order your teams to walk along certain routes and clear out one part of the map while you deal with the had multiple ways to take on the mission.  This was a hell of a lot of fun just fooling around with what strategies worked and what didn't.  You can give teammates different weapons, gadgets, and camo.  Tell your dudes to go stealthy or to go in guns blazing.

You can follow the campaign (which thankfully doesn't burden you with hundreds of hours of dialogue like most damn games do) or you can fool around on any maps with a bunch of different settings.  If you think the campaign is too boring, these free-play modes are generally much more exciting.

But what REALLY made this game bad-ass is the map selection.  Between Rogue Spear and a couple of add-on games, there were a TON of maps to choose from...okay, take a deep breath...

Maps included The Met in New York, a cruise ship, a nuclear power plant, a grocery store, a Russian snow base, a news studio, a Turkish market, a trainyard, a jungle, a wooden chateau, the London Underground (subway), an old shipyard, an underwater sub base, an opera house, a shooting range, a 747 jet plane, a busted-ass factory, and a TRAILER PARK.  And these are just the ones off the top of my head.  *whew*

Gonna SNOIP me some WANKAS!!

Just fun as hell to play Lone objectives at all--you go by yourself to take out 50 terrorists scattered around the map.  BADASS TO THE EXTREME.  What the hell ever happened to games with good map selection?  That's why I like Counter-Strike's vast custom map selection...

I'm in a building.

Not to mention you can also play online in co-op on any of the game's missions.  Or you can play CT's versus T's and plant the bomb or save the hosties...good times.  This was the first game I played online.  Always used to hop on to GameSpy and get into games (oh man, stupid old GameSpy).  I love it.  Almost as much as original Counter-Strike.  Fun game, SCREW GRAPHICS I LOVE THIS JUNK AND I'LL REPEAT MYSELF AGAIN IF I FEEL LIKE IT.

Here's some single-player gameplay footage which is not very "intense" from first glance but when you get into it, it's fun.  Guy has auto-aim enabled.  I can see some people thinking this is really boring...oh well, go back to your Michael Bay FPSes:

Think I'm making this stuff up?  Read the GameFAQs user reviews...9.4 average, KICKASS.

The only "flaw" that comes to mind with this game is that the terrorist AI may be a bit TOO accurate at they see you and you die like that.  This may be incorrect though, I haven't played this in years.  What a shame.


I saved the best part for last.  There's a couple of missions where you must infiltrate a house or whatever with patrolling guards everywhere.  You must plant a bug on a phone/computer AND cannot kill anyone or be seen.  So you go in alone with your trusty heartbeat sensor playing hide-and-go-seek with terrorists...freakin AWESOME.  I loved that junk.



Will get back to Daytona stuff later.


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