I wonder if it possible to be retroactively furious at a release. As an individual who enjoys his mix of socio-political conspiracy narratives, the ham-handed narrative should have been something to my taste. The classic heart-warming tale of terrorist paranoia realized through attacking our country’s most vital assets, that being casinos, is a wholesome tale of patriotism and shameless propaganda that is good for the whole family. My written eye-rolling aside, there is something that can be said about good game design, of which this game possesses little.
The interface is clunky, the cover mechanics feel as though one is rowing a kayak underwater, and the AI is spastic and glitchy. I cannot count the number of times my teammates broke their logic, shuffling between crate and wall and refusing to listen to commands, nor can I remember how many times they ignored orders, deciding to take cover behind invisible walls that made them little more than bullet suppositories. For as god-awful as the ally AI is, so much more schizophrenic the enemy AI is. Terrorists shuffle between bullet sponge volunteers to eagle-eyed Gogol 13-esque snipers, picking me off from halfway across the map. Did I also mention that the damage in this game is erratic and nonsensical? I’ve had half a clip lodged in my face with minimal damage, just to turn around later in the level, take a single shot to the back, and die without any warning.
The seemingly arbitrary attack patterns and damage calculation makes level progression feel like pulling an arm on a slot machine, where you have only two bucks left and you put it all on a single line. The guard positioning appears to be semi-random, which makes every encounter less of a tactful plan and more of an attempt to limbo on egg shells, never knowing if someone is going to blind side you with a spiked bat half way through. There is something that can be said about creating tension in a game, but the tension created by the game is less cause for careful planning, and more staving off the eventual death back to the start of the level. Checkpoints are few and far in between, so the random game of chance becomes even more frustrating, as most deaths mean you have to restart the entire level.
The plot is indicative of its setting, a drunken stumble through random events that have little cohesion or bladder control. I like paramilitary wank material as much as the next red-blooded neck-beard, but there is something wrong when I forget my purpose in the middle of a mission. Not to mention the fact that the entire campaign mode is a massive slap in the genitals when the main villain is revealed as one of your inept comrades, a guy who looks less grizzled special ops and more Hess from Sealab. It did take away the sting of the ending’s cliffhanger, as I imaged Hess stealing my helicopter, twirling his invisible Syndley Whiplash mustache, leaving me to figure out how I was going to leave this nondescript dam I liberated for some reason.
This game is certainly a Rainbow, in that it is a spectrum of bad caused by the tears of the programmers who had to code this pile. If this is the kind of crap that happens in Vegas, I am certainly glad it stays there.