Lead game designer, Jean Pascal Cambiotti, described in his presentation that a huge emphasis has been placed on creating a fine multiplayer game that gives you almost unlimited choices with regards to customisation. I took a look at how well this is coming along.
I was impressed by the variety of multiplayer options Rainbow Six Vegas intends to offer. You can choose to play co-operatively through the single player missions, against one another in death match, team death match, a capture the bio-canister mode, as well as attack and defend in which you’re given map specific goals such as defusing a bomb or recovering a suitcase to win the game.
The worry, of course, when taking on a lot of different multiplayer games is that the main ingredient of fun ends up diluted. The co-op mode is the pick of the bunch for me especially when you’re able to communicate with your team mates. There is just something instinctive about working as a team to hunt down your prey – co-op mode had me feeling like a wolf, part of a blood-thirsty pack hunt.
I didn’t feel the same about the traditional multiplayer games. Despite the maps having a fairly good design, choke points were well placed and carnage often ensued, the game felt a tad too slow for my liking. The one shot one kill style of Tom Clancy games isn’t best suited to console play but perhaps will work better on the PC version.
Character customisation, what the development team has dubbed PEC 2.0 is probably one of Vegas' strongest points. As you move through the game your achievements will give you access to new weapons, gadgets, outfits and armour. There are potentially up to 5 million different combinations for how your character can look, giving you the ability to add anything from handlebar moustaches to deep blood curdling scars on your face.
If that wasn’t enough customisation then you can really create a unique character. Sit down behind a Live Vision camera, take a picture of the front and side of your face and you can actually map your own features onto the character. How close to real these characters actually look astounded me and the system that maps your face onto a model does a really good job. With this unique character, with your own face on it, you can then jump into Xbox Live and battle away as yourself.
As brilliant as this all is, and believe me it’s great fun actually shooting the journalist next to you in the face, there are some problems with it. First up how many people actually have this camera and will many people go out to buy one specifically to put their own face onto their character? I have to say probably not. Furthermore, the process of the getting your face onto the character isn’t the smoothest ride in the world, it took quite a few attempts to get the lighting just right and my character still ended up looking like he was wearing a black swimming cap. My hair is bouncy and fluffy not flat and lifeless for God's sake!
Another area which causes concern is the way weapons and upgrades are unlocked. The game aims to entice you into playing for long hours with various rewards. The catch however is that these rewards will only offer you a different style of play and won't give you any noticeable advantage in the multiplayer battlefield. This tactic provides the benefit of keeping multiplayer level for new and old players but lessens the incentive for actually unlocking this extra content. Why both spending hours earning a new weapon when it only offers a cosmetic change?
concept is pretty awesome though and generated a lot of laughs and happy faces in the room. My prediction is that this will be the future for multiplayer games and everything from Counter-Strike to Second Life will have this face capturing technology. This is something that is kind of cool, if slightly unnerving – do I really want to shoot my friend in the face in Counter-Strike? I guess it depends on the friend…
A game to look forward to then? Well, yes and no. It’s certainly got enough unique ideas and concepts to make it worth a look. My major worry is that gamers have had enough of Tom Clancy. That as fun as running round shooting people in a tactical way is, there is only so much gamers can handle/want. My other worry is whether the development studio has put enough emphasis on the Vegas side of things, people want to run and gun round the City of Sin. Will I be able to kill Siegfried and Roy? We’ll have to wait and see.
Either way we’ll be taking a look at the PC game when it hits the shelves a few weeks from now. In the mean time if you’ve got Xbox Live why not download the demo and have a go for yourself. Currently there is no PC demo which is a shame for everyone who is 360-less. The game is due out on the Xbox 360 on 24th November – the PC version ships a week later on 1st December. Viva Las Vegas!