Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Covert Ops Essentials continues the popular squad-based, first-person shooter series that began in 1998. The original spawned the Eagle Watch mission pack, which was followed by Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear in 1999 and another mission pack, Urban Ops. The stand-alone, two-CD Covert Ops Essentials offers nine new levels, solo and multiplayer missions, and lessons in terrorism, counter-terrorism, and covert operations.
The Training CD, while not mandatory to gameplay, presents expert advice and techniques in seven areas: CT Forces, Historical Operations, Gear, Tactics, Intel, Psych, and Future. Completing all training areas successfully earns you seven medals and the rank of Commander. After familiarization with the Core Navigation Interface, you enter Officer Candidate School where you explore topics; establish a dossier; view articles, images, and video interviews; access the database; and get tested with multiple choice and image-based questions.
The emphasis in Mission CD gameplay is on long planning phases followed by brief, short strikes to carry out the task at hand. Three full missions take the form of a hostage rescue in the Bolivian jungle, finding and bugging a satellite at an Arctic research base, and a no-holds-barred extermination quest of terrorists who have taken over a United States missile silo. Six smaller maps offer unrelated missions at domestic sites like a hospital and trailer park.
Single-player planning sessions require study of rosters and specialty skills (assault, demolitions, electronics, grenades, sniper, and stealth), profile traits (aggression, leadership, self-control, and stamina), and kit selections. Movement plotting, speed, rules of engagement, and special actions must be considered during the planning phase in preparation for the action phase.
Multiplayer action offers cooperative and competitive play with adversarial, survival, team survival, scattered teams, terrorist hunt, scatter hunt, assassination, scatter assassination, save your base, double bluff, stronghold, and double stronghold game types. Cooperative mode allows teams of up to eight players to work together with the computer assigning AI-controlled operatives when and where necessary.
As in previous Rainbow Six games, missions can be customized by difficulty level (recruit, veteran or elite) and number of terrorists (1-50). Game types include assault, lone wolf, terrorist hunt, hostage rescue, defend, and reconnaissance, though missions must be unlocked in the single-player campaign prior to practice in custom mode.
Considered by some as a hands-on tutorial in terrorism as much as an anti-terrorism tool by others, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Covert Ops Essentials may well disappoint veterans of the series with the relatively short campaigns and missions. Newcomers to the genre (and series in particular) will find the training CD a valuable source of learning in terms of techniques, covert operations language, and planning prior to field action.
Red Storm's Covert Ops hit stores again, and what a game it could have been. It is the newest game in the Rainbow Six series. They have done a great job with all the other games in the line, but this one must not have been too well thought out. First, it comes with two CDs. The first CD is called the training. Mostly you just read up on tactics and take a few exams which is a big waist of time. So you're thinking to yourself, 'what about the game that is why I'm taking my time to read this?'. Well if you have played other games in this line you would expect good maps, some new guns, and new moves right? WRONG! First, there are no new guns. In fact, they have taken guns away. No more AV Covert gun, or any of the other guns that came out in Urban Ops. Okay, you're saying to yourself, "I can live with that. They must have made some good maps". WRONG again. I tried really hard to come up with at least one nice thing to say about the new maps, and I couldn't. All of the maps are big walls with teams on either side. Ok so they put a tree here and a motor home there, that's about it. You fight through a hole in a fence, or through an open door in a building. They didn't even edit the Rouge Spear maps and let you play them as well as they did with the Rainbow Six maps in Rouge Spear. The new maps lack everything that has made the game series what it has been known for. The single player games are as they always have been, but nothing new there really. All hardcore Rainbow Six fans will be very upset about this new game, and have to give the game a score of 50. So what it really comes down to is what could have been a great game, or even a good add on (like Urban Ops) is nothing more then a big let down..
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