It must be a hard life. Travelling the world, visiting tropical locations, popping a cap in the odd insurgent's ass now and again. Yep, Special Forces soldiers have got it good. After visiting Iraq for Desert Storm (twice, just to make sure), and their 1960s historical equivalents taking a purple-hazed trip back to 'Nam, these Conflict boys have itchy feet. Heading in an altogether new direction, Global Terror takes place across a wide range of locales. But that's not the only difference in the latest addition to the series. We were lucky enough to tag along with lead producer Jim Bambra on a covert insertion into Pivotal Games' studios for a recon on the latest running version of Conflict: Global Terror.
There's a more contemporary storyline, involving the emergence of the March
33 group (a collection of super-fascists descended from the escaped ODESSA Nazis of WWII), intent on disrupting the governments of the world. As a result the band is put back together, and the original Conflict team - Bradley, Jones, Connors and Foley - step up in proper Rainbow Six style to combat the ensuing drugs/arms/international nuclear crises, across locales such as Columbia, South Korea, and a rather cool-looking snow-smattered Ukraine.
The first thing we noticed about Global Terror was the visual improvement. Every character now boasts an incredible amount of detail, from startlingly realistic facial expressions to individual eye movements and lovingly applied creases in the uniforms. The entire game engine has been rebuilt, and the results are massively detailed, dual-layered textures on every object in the game world. Character animation has been completely revamped as well, with a new IK (inverse kinetics) system ensuring your squad can go from running at full pace to crawling prone in one smooth and fluid movement.
And no longer will two-foot-high walls restrict this crack bunch of soldiers, as all your men have now gone through months of special training, and can now vault over railings, through windows and down ladders. "One thing that we, and countless other games, were guilty of was limiting gameplay by ridiculously silly barriers, like a small group of crates" muses Bambra. "Of course, any mobile person could easily navigate this. It was harder than you'd think to rectify it, but it was worth it."
But, as John Merrick will tell you, looks aren't everything; so how does the game actually play? Well, significantly differently, and in our opinion far better, than the previous titles. We were concerned the new urban environments would limit and constrict the squad-based gameplay, but that wasn't the case at all. For a start, the annoying auto-aim of Conflict: Vietnam is now replaced by an oh-so-subtle aiming assist that makes you really concentrate on your accuracy. Ordering your squad around is easier than ever, and the new quick menu system (L trigger) automatically selects all team members in one go - something the developers became aware most people were doing. Another top new feature is the Delayed Command option. Much like calling orders on Zulu a la Rainbow Six 3, this is best used in room-storming scenarios and the like. Players can simply select a pair of squad members and give them a command, before taking the remaining soldier along then executing the context-sensitive command. Positioning them around the game world is easier, with a simple point-and-click mechanic. Players can adjust which direction their squad will face as well, which is obviously a godsend when you need a certain corner covered.