At this point with Rainbow Six: Vegas, all we have are a handful of screenshots and some sketchy information about the game to go by. While itââ‚¬™s admittedly far too early to say what features are ââ‚¬Ëœgoodââ‚¬™ or ââ‚¬Ëœbad,ââ‚¬™ we do have enough information at our disposal to begin to say what seems promising and what is a little distressing.
-- A.I. -- Iââ‚¬™m very glad to see that the A.I. is a major focus of the design team, and that they even have someone in charge of the A.I. design in addition to a ton of programmers.
-- Graphics -- I have no idea how similar the final graphics will be to what weââ‚¬™ve been shown, but the screens theyââ‚¬™ve teased us with look great. Itââ‚¬™s also nice to see the Rainbow operators appear to mean business -- relatively appropriately geared including assault helmets (and no visible cornrows) -- although the South Korean operatorââ‚¬™s backpack radio is questionable.
-- The development teamââ‚¬™s recognition of Lockdownââ‚¬™s shortcomings.
-- Importance of realism -- the developers have mentioned numerous times how important a sense of realism is, and that they know what the hardcore R6 gamers want and why they want it. They also stated a desire to ââ‚¬Ëœreturn to the core values of the series.ââ‚¬™
-- Addition of Aaron Gilman and individual motion captor actor for each operator -- This could be a big step forward in giving the game a realistic look and feel -- as long as they donââ‚¬™t get carried away (see more on this in the ââ‚¬ËœDistressingââ‚¬™ section).
-- Less tangos, more difficult kills -- Better enemy A.I. and opponents actually communicating and working together.
-- No loading or cut scenes -- I know this scares some people, but it could be good. I like the GRAW-style way of showing insertions and the seamless gameplay.
-- More accessible -- The first thing the developers say in the EGM story is a desire to make the game more accessible. I can understand the desire to make the series more attractive to a broader audience, but if not done just right, they risk alienating all of the fans that are already on board. Lockdown taught this lesson in a harsh manner. The developers recognize that pleasing both groups (new and hardcore fans) is a difficult thing to accomplish, but just knowing this doesnââ‚¬™t mean theyââ‚¬™ll actually be able to pull it off.
Tied to this: ââ‚¬ËœLess Dyingââ‚¬™ and ââ‚¬ËœHalo-styleââ‚¬™ heath -- We still need more information before we make final judgments, but these ideas could be the type that scare away the existing audience. One of the things that makes R6 special is the feeling of danger and the unforgiving nature of the gameplay. You screw up or just get unlucky, you die. Thatââ‚¬™s not a weakness of the title, itââ‚¬™s a strength.
-- Cinematic emphasis -- There has been a lot of talk in delivering a cinematic experience with R6: Vegas. Doesnââ‚¬™t necessarily sound like a bad thing on the surface, but as weââ‚¬™ve all seen in the past, this often results in titles that are extremely linear in nature and lack replay value. It doesnââ‚¬™t have to be this way -- for example, even though they need to make sure you see something to move along the story, limit that to key areas that you absolutely have to hit to meet your objectives. Outside of that, give us lot of freedom in deciding how to approach and take down those key areas.
-- Just one three-man team and no planning stage -- Not a surprise, but I was holding my breath that the developers would grow the console version up to meet the needs of an emerging audience of maturing (PC-style) console gamers while taking full advantage of the power of the next-gen machines.
-- Over emphasis on membersââ‚¬™ ââ‚¬Ëœindividuality.ââ‚¬™ As mentioned above in the ââ‚¬ËœPromisingââ‚¬™ section, the plan to use individual actors for the motion capture of each operator could turn out fantastic. The key, however, would be in not making a big deal out of their differences while doing it. All of the actors should try to carry out the same motions -- their individuality will still shine through, just on a much more subtle level. This is something that shouldnââ‚¬™t really be obvious -- the game should just feel more realistic as a result even if you canââ‚¬™t put your finger on it. When you have just one motion-capture actor, the immersion is lessened because it feels unnatural. This is especially true in sports games where, for example, every football player has the same gait, from the 350lb DT to the 180lb WR. However, in real life a sports fan can immediately tell the difference in running styles between two 210lb RBs, let alone athletes with dramatically different builds. This unnaturalness is heightened in sports games when the playersââ‚¬™ steps seem to sync up.
However, the developersââ‚¬™ comments make me fear that they are focusing too much on making the operators look different from one another. This could be just as jarring, as they may be required to use over-the-top movements to make their differences obvious. Again, I think this advancement would be better served being delivered on a more subconscious level.
And I havenââ‚¬™t even mentioned their personalities, and this is where emphasizing individuality could really lead to clichÃ©d, over-the-top characters.
Gilman (wit his Hollywood background) seems to want to push things dangerously far. Hopefully BÃ©land is able to simultaneously leverage his talents while still keeping him in check.
-- Lack of control over our teammatesââ‚¬™ kit -- Iââ‚¬™m not sure if this is actually the case, but all of the screenshots show the British operator with the same gun and the recent 1up preview even mentions his ââ‚¬Ëœweapon of choice.ââ‚¬™ I want to decide what his weapon of choice is myself (along with the rest of his kit).
-- Limited co-op -- Just four players in online co-op. I was hoping for more so that we could create our own multiple team assaults that donââ‚¬™t seem to be a part of the plan for the single-player experience.
Still entirely unknown:
-- Nature of the maps and our resultant tactics/strategies -- linear vs. nonlinear. This is huge in my opinion. I desperately donââ‚¬™t want to be dragged down one pre-established path, moving from one hallway to the next.
-- Storyline realism -- This is important too IMHO. For example, if the storyline focuses around some major terrorist attack on Vegas and the story says that your team has been sent in all alone to save the day, well thatââ‚¬™s really lame. It should be evident that youââ‚¬™re just part of a larger operation and that other Rainbow teams are doing their part as well (and maybe even FBI HRT and Vegas SWAT members as well). This could be accomplished on a number of levels, from just simple mentions of what other operations are going on in chatter from HQ to establish the ambiance, to actually seeing other teams insert nearby you, all the way to actually interacting/teaming up with A.I.-controlled Rainbow assault teams and snipers on occasion.
The only way a three-man team assault (with no other active teams) could feel real at all is if it is a minor incident that the public doesnââ‚¬™t even know about. Something like hitting some small terrorist cells in preemptive assaults before they get a chance to carry out their terrorist plots.