Life as a special-ops guy must be pretty sweet - chopper in, take out the bad guys, and then brag to the ladies back home about how you kept your cool throughout the whole mission. Except there’s one flaw in my new plan to become a terrorist-cappin’ Navy Seal archetype – I might get shot at.
You see, I’ve always had this thought that if I were ever forced to actually go into combat in some capacity I’d be the first guy to get killed. You know the guy who’s on the boat coming into the beach and then a bullet goes straight through his helmet before they’ve even reached the shore? That’d be me – I’d suck as a soldier. So luckily, game developers realise that I suck and make games like R6: Vegas.
Stepping into the (no doubt armoured) shoes of new ‘hero’ Logan Keller, it’s all down to you to stop terrorists from blowing the crap out of Las Vegas. Now, while most of us probably wouldn’t bat an eyelid if Vegas were to disappear from the face of the earth and allow most third world countries to finally have enough energy to boil a kettle, it does represent all that’s lovely about America; namely money, booze, women and fat rich pricks losing millions on each hand. So, you know, if people are getting killed and all, we guess it’s a pretty good reason to send some hard soldiers in to nail their ‘asses’ (said in an awesome American accent).
From the moment you get thrown into some dingy backstreets at the start of the game, the similarities between Vegas and GRAW are immediate. However, while that game also had you in control of a squad, negotiating lots of blind corners and flanking situations, Vegas steps up the tactical element a few notches. GRAW was all about open, messy gunfights; Vegas is more about clean, methodical infiltration and for my money is the better of the two. It’s more satisfying to spy an enemy, tag him, set up the breach and then act out the entry with dance-like grace and precision. Kinda like a good Saturday night out.
Did I mention tagging? Yep this aspect of the game rocks hard. Mosey on up to a closed door and the option will contextually appear to snake cam it. It’s then simply a matter of choosing a primary and secondary target and a press of the Back button tags them for your squad. Then point at the door, press A (which acts as an intuitive ‘command button’ for the entire game) and decide which entry option to enact. Will you lob in a grenade, set a breeching charge, or just go in guns blazing? All of these options are mapped to the D-Pad and you have complete control over the timing of entry.
This is particularly important because nearly all rooms in R6: Vegas exhibit multiple entry points. So it’s entirely possible – and advisable – for you to move to an alternate entrance, scope it out and then time your entry to coincide with that of your squad – including the rappel option which is possibly the coolest entry possible. Pulling this off flawlessly is a beautiful thing – almost as exciting as a coquettish wink from a hot girl (which, of course, won’t happen if you’re playing this game all the time – but who cares eh?). Of course, out to stymie you at every turn is the achingly difficult AI of the enemy terrorists. Taking a page out of F.E.A.R’s book, they’ll flank you mercilessly and will take you down with a headshot quicker than you can say “Hey terrorist guy, take me down with a headshot”. But really, that’s the beauty of the game. It’s bloody hard but it’s also incredibly random so that even if you do find yourself playing through the same section multiple times there’s always an alternative action to take in order to come out of it alive – unless you play it on Realistic difficulty, in which case we’ll hold the funeral on.