Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Rogue Spear Mission Pack: Urban Operations has got to be one of the longest names in the history of gaming. At first glance, it seems as if the amount of new content in the actual game doesn't prove equal to the large number of words jammed into the title. But spend some time with Red Storm's first expansion for its popular Rogue Spear, and it becomes apparent that while the mission pack doesn't provide a huge quantity of new maps, it does include a lot of different ways to play on them.
Here are the raw numbers: four new weapons, two new mini-campaigns each featuring five maps, and eight new multiplayer maps.
Red Storm's use of "mini" to describe the two new campaigns should be taken literally. The first campaign, called Urban Operations, includes five new maps set in five different cities across as many countries. While each of the environments is well designed and looks great, the campaign itself has no real plot. It's essentially five unrelated levels covering all the standard Rogue Spear mission goals except recon. It won't take you more than a few hours to complete them. In addition, even though the description on the Urban Ops box stresses the fact that you'll be shooting at terrorists while trying to avoid innocent bystanders, only the first mission actually includes any pedestrian traffic.
Classic Missions, the second campaign, consists of five maps that were originally included in Rainbow Six and converted to run under the Rogue Spear engine. Other than some graphical improvements, the missions remain unchanged. Again, this campaign offers no story; it is simply a set of unrelated missions that can be blown through relatively quickly.
The brevity of the two new campaigns would make Urban Operations not worth purchasing for single-player gaming, if it weren't for the new custom-missions option. This feature lets you replay any of the game's maps with different mission goals against up to 50 terrorists. The mission goals are the five available in Rogue Spear (assault, lone wolf, terrorist hunt, hostage rescue, and recon) plus a new one called defend.
Defend requires you to hold a position against an onslaught of Tangos, all of whom desperately want to press the button you're guarding. Although the game's packaging claims that some enhancements have been made to Rogue Spear's enemy artificial intelligence, the only place this is really evident is in defend missions, where the terrorists display a nerve-wracking tendency to toss grenades at your location. Defend is an excellent complement to the hunting style of the standard mission types. It's tense and a lot of fun.
Not every map is available in every mode with the custom-missions option. The eight new multiplayer maps can only be used for lone wolf and terrorist hunt, and defend can only be played on the five Urban Operation campaign maps. But between the 18 maps included in the game, there are about 60 different missions that can be set up using the custom-missions option, adding a lot of single-player replay value to the game.
Since there's no true map editor for Rogue Spear, user-created maps for the game are nonexistent. With that in mind, Urban Operations' 18 maps are like gold for reinvigorating the online experience. The eight multiplayer-only maps are all rather small, but none of them seems like a total dog. One of the best ones, called "old train tracks," is set up like a paintball arena with two sides separated by a bridge, each having lots of wooden uprights for cover.
The realistic bent of Rogue Spear kind of limits the amount of creativity and surprising features that can go into any new weapons. None of the four new weapons shoots a metal ball that attaches itself to a victim's throat, drains his blood, replaces it with formaldehyde, then turns him into a zombie before causing him to explode. Instead, they offer slight variations in firing rates and handling characteristics that will only excite hard-core Rogue Spear fans.
Urban Operations isn't a radical rethinking of Rogue Spear, but it packs enough new content in both single- and multiplayer modes to be worth purchasing. And unlike some other recent expansion packs, it's priced to sell at under 20 bucks. Hell, the excitement of two-player co-op defend is worth that much.