In Memoriam: Rainbow Six Vegas 2 – the last great tactical shooter of our generation?

Posted by Will Ooi | Posted in Gaming | Tags: , | Posted on 22-01-2013-05-2008


Traditionally a producer of hardcore tactical shooters on the PC, Ubisoft had to make several changes to their game design philosophy in order to cater to the audience on current gen consoles. The original Ghost Recon and the Rainbow Six games tasked players with firstly thinking through their plan of attack and selecting their personnel according to mission objectives, before then playing through the next step of actually implementing that plan by switching control of their units as each level progressed. Playing as the sniper would mean finding a vantage spot to identify enemies and provide cover as you moved your assault team in for a close range attack. Cycling through each member of the team made you both the central commander and the footsoldier, opening up all aspects of the battlefield via the eyes of everyone, and giving players a true sense of control.

Primitive to look at now, the first Rainbow Six games offered revolutionary gameplay

In Memoriam: The Nightmares of Max Payne

Posted by Will Ooi | Posted in Gaming | Tags: , , | Posted on 12-12-2012-05-2008


Max Payne stories always start with a glimpse of the end; the final firefight having been concluded, the eponymous character shares his realisations on all the bloodshed via the voice-over narration of James McCaffrey as violin strings play the series’ forlorn theme music before the game jumps back to the very beginning for players to piece together how  that conclusion had been reached. The formula has remained unchanged from Remedy’s original tale of a renegade cop seeking vengeance for his murdered family and its sequel’s more concentrated noir-aesthetic love story, through to Rockstar Games’ third installment that reinvented the character as a depressed and alcoholic bodyguard in Brazil. Yet despite these constant bookends in narrative,  it was a moment found in the middle of the original Max Payne that helped to define the atmosphere of the series as a ‘different kind of shooter’; a level immediately familiar to and unforgettable for longstanding fans.

In Memoriam: a Dead Rising retrospective – Part 2

Posted by Will Ooi | Posted in Favourites, Gaming | Tags: , , , , | Posted on 30-05-2012-05-2008


This is the second part of In Memoriam: a Dead Rising retrospective, looking back on the game’s influence on the reinvigorated popularity of the zombie genre, and the controversial design decisions that defined its core identity. Having examined the title’s roots in Capcom’s first foray into Survival Horror and its thematic inspirations from George A. Romero’s Dead films in Part 1, this time we’ll assess closer the game design and mechanics that made, but for others, broke, Dead Rising, along with the incredible demands of the unlockable, pretty-much-as-crazy-as-it-sounds, Infinity Mode.

Players would get used to that awkward image of Frank West’s back as he stood at the urinal overwriting that one save file of theirs, yet another potentially last pee being performed for the umpteenth time prior to heading back out into the expanses of Willamette Mall in a combined state of fear and curiosity. Players would also become overly familiar with that annoying walky-talky ringtone whenever the mall’s security officer, Otis, would phone in at the most inopportune moments with more ‘Scoops’ on what strife some other poor sods had gotten themselves into on the other side of the mall, phoning back in anger if Frank had the nerve to hang up on him as he balanced his very survival with a large bottle of orange juice and an electric guitar in each hand, perhaps also whilst running away feverishly from some pyromaniac throwing molotovs and driving explosive remote-controlled toy race cars in his general direction. As a general rule, these ringtones signified impending doom. Dead Rising fans would even get used to seeing those same story cutscenes playing over and over again after being forced to restart from the very beginning, probably catching themselves mouthing lines of dialogue as if it were a favourite movie. And despite all of these annoyances, for those who still chose to persevere by drawing inspiration from some remarkable source of inner strength, seeing their improved progress get utterly destroyed thanks to either another mistimed save or a horrendously unexpected and unprepared-for boss battle as the game mockingly asked whether they’d like to give it another go, from scratch, players would definitely get used to that Groundhog Day sensation of End of the World proportions: sick to death of this horrible, ceaseless purgatory and wishing that all these problems, these zombies, this…nightmare… would just go away forever.~

Also seen on Gamasutra and Galaxy Next Door