Tag Archives: Tom Clancy

Rainbow Six Siege And My Issues With Online Shooters

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I decided I was done with player versus player games quite a while ago, but Rainbow Six Siege was getting so much good word of mouth I had to at least rent it for a few hours. That word suggested it might be the kind of game I’ve been looking for to possibly get me back into PvP shooters. I don’t have PlayStation Plus but I was under the impression the game had some modes that could be played against AI opponents. To be truthful I didn’t have enough time to take a full tour of that part of the game, and I’m not sure it gives a good impression of whether normal multiplayer would be enjoyable. Continue reading

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[E3 2015] I Really Don’t Want Ubisoft To Screw Up Ghost Recon Wildlands

If Ghost Recon: Wildlands turns out to be everything people are saying it is right now, it could be one of my personal top debuts of E3 2015. I’m serious, even after everything I’ve gotten sick and tired of from Ubisoft. I’m not ready to say the publisher’s games are turning a corner and that new hardware is actually letting them innovate a bit, I’m just saying at least one new game looks like the evolution I’ve always wanted to see. Continue reading

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Splinter Cell Chaos Theory 10 Years On: What Makes A Simulation Game

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Today is the 10th anniversary of what is often called one of the best stealth games ever and one of my personal favorite games of all time. I spent all weekend re-examining Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory partly because it’s still an excellent game and partly to re-approach it. Continue reading

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E3 2014: The Real Return Of Rainbow Six?

It seems Ubisoft has gotten used to having “stingers” at the ends of its E3 press conferences. This year’s looks extremely promising… to a specific subset of shooter fans, and that’s if what we saw wasn’t heavily scripted.

Watch_Dogs at E3 2012 and The Division in 2013 impressed mainly with their graphics, but Rainbow Six Siege this week looks interesting because it almost looks like a return to real tactical shooters. I’m just wondering how many people that will actually interest in this day and age.

In a few posts a while ago I, like many old school fans of Tom Clancy games, lamented the disappearance of tactical shooters that actually let players plan and execute missions. The recent Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six games have been typical, linear shooters with some friendly AI command controls thrown in. Siege looks like a return to the thoughtful, slow-paced, and lethal games of old if you actually pay attention to what’s going on in that demonstration.

The first thing the Siege video showed was the return of a long-missing feature in Tom Clancy shooters — the planning phase. The second major feature that’s apparent here is the absence of any respawn. That by itself changes the way players approach the game because they don’t want to die — they start actually trying to use tactics instead of just upping their kill count. The games Siege reminds me the most of are SWAT 4 and Rainbow Six: Raven Shield.

And because this whole demo was multiplayer, it looks like the kind of multiplayer I’ve wanted to see for a while in tactical shooters. I always wondered why no one tried to make a multiplayer mode where each team takes a minute to draw up a game plan against the other. I have to give it to Ubisoft for believing some players might like that slow, cerebral element instead of just spawning right into the zone.

Maybe Ubisoft has a little faith in this because it was willing to bring back Splinter Cell’s multiplayer last year. Maybe the company hopes Siege can stand out from the typical Call of Duty-inspired games in a way similar to Evolve.

Overall, I have a feeling this won’t be a complete return to the hardcore level of realism of, say, Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear. It looks like Siege might be somewhere in-between today’s accessible shooters and the tactical simulations of the past, which I might actually like better. I’ve always wanted to play a shooter with the options and freedom of a tactical simulation but also the comfort of today’s shooters.

The press release for Siege confirms it will have a singleplayer campaign but at this stage it’s a complete unknown. Will it have the same kinds of open-ended maps as the multiplayer with the resurrected planning phase? Will you command AI teammnates? These things are at least as interesting as the multiplayer concepts.

There’s just the question of how much of the Siege demo was even real. Some people are burned on Watch_Dogs because the final game doesn’t look quite as beautiful as the 2012 demo. Far Cry 3 has received similar criticisms, so there’s already skepticism surrounding Siege.

The graphics and gameplay concepts in the Siege demo look completely within the grasp of the PS4 and Xbox One. It’s just that the actions of the players, as well as the voice chat, were probably heavily scripted. I have faith the final game will look like the demo we just saw, but real people probably won’t play it like that.

BULLETS:

  • Nice logo for the game by the way: http://t.co/N4fHxOsL3w
  • A lot of the E3 live demos have ended with a cinematic shot taking over.
  • I hope Assassin’s Creed Unity can actually deliver on the word “Systemic” Ubisoft dropped at its conference.
  • Disappointed at the total lack of actual Far Cry 4 gameplay so far.
  • A smaller overlooked E3 announcement: Hotline Miami 2 will feature a level editor.
  • If anybody is interested in that game Cuphead from Microsoft’s indie games reel, there’s more info here: http://t.co/LdD4QzMosl
  • The guy who made Gunpoint just released a free game. http://t.co/Cj4KuPePJe
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The Fall and Rise of Stealth Games

I know I’ve talked about the fall of game genres here more than once before, but I don’t think I’ve done a post specifically about the fall of stealth games. It really is kind of pathetic when you look back at the past console generation.

It’s not really a mystery what happened to the genre – the same thing that happened to horror games and pretty much anything that wasn’t a shooter or an RPG. Sneaking around unseen isn’t as accessible as just shooting a dude in the face and getting some experience points for it. What’s the worst though is when developers play at stealth while turning it into a straight shooter.

Ubisoft just released another 10 minutes of Splinter Cell Blacklist footage that basically looked just like the E3 demo – i.e. like a third person shooter with Assassin’s Creed climbing mechanics. I mean, Sam (or someone trying to impersonate Sam) stayed unseen before he auto-shot each enemy I guess. Maybe that level is more of a sandbox, maybe Ubisoft’ll release a video showing someone playing the same level completely silent with no kills. What really got me down on this Blacklist demo though was the predator strike mechanic at the end. Predator strikes and laser painting targets are two of the things I never want to see again, especially not in a stealth game.

What’s really funny is that pretty much every “AAA” game I’m anticipating this fall is a stealth game, or a game that allows you to put a lot of emphasis on stealth. If Far Cry 3 can maintain the sandbox mission structure that the last game had, I will happily crouch, snipe, and stab my way through that game. I am really hoping that I’ll be able to beat Hitman Absolution practically without ever picking up a gun like I did in Blood Money. The real last hope of the genre right now is looking like Dishonored though.

When talking about Arkane Studios’ previous game, the 2006 Dark Messiah Might and Magic last week, I went over a little bit how good a stealth game it actually manages to be at times. It lets me know that Arkane get’s it, and so do all the previews for Dishonored. What’s even better is that one of the main guys on the project worked on the first Deus Ex – which was also an excellent stealth game if you chose to play it like one. That’s the key: choice.

Stealth is the most appealing when it’s presented among other options. It’s only cool when you chose to complete that objective without being seen when things could’ve gone a multitude of other ways. That’s the main difference between Splinter Cell Chaos Theory and Conviction.

When I look back, I’ve realized that my favorite stealth game this generation was probably the first Crysis, which just feels kinda odd. Technically that game is a shooter, but its sandbox nature also allows you to turn the game into something vaguely resembling Metal Gear Solid 3. Deus Ex Human Revolution did a pretty good job too, and if you ask me felt like an evolved first person version of Metal Gear Solid 2. I’ve also played heavily towards the stealth build in games like Skyrim and Fallout as of late.

So I guess there is sort of hope for the stealth genre, as long as it’s intelligently combined and contrasted with other play styles. From what we’ve seen, I’m not sure the people working on Splinter Cell Blacklist understand that.

BULLETS:

  • Before anyone mentions Theif, I own the first two games but have yet to play them. I’ll try to get to them later this year if I can before Dishonored comes out.
  • Well it’s happened: a whole dating sim based around Netorare. http://t.co/HPwEYQnc
  • Why we can’t watch NFL Hard Knocks on HBO Go: http://t.co/qSlfr5HC
  • Contra: Shattered Soldier and the original Siren headline the beginning of PS2 Classics on the Japanese PlayStation Store. Looks like they’re gonna be getting all the good games over there again.
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