A shaky start to a great series
My review ignores the fact you can use multiplayer and online, as the pitfalls and benefits still apply.
The game is good becuase...
It is realistic and is not a shoot-em-up game. When you are shot it can be fatal with just one bullet. Careful planning is required. This game allows you to strategically plan a mission. Yes, you can view the map and tell each team member where to go, step by step. At first, the commands can get confusing, wondering which keyboard button to press, but you figure it out in the end. You can use this part of the game soley, and sit back to watch how your plan is executed ; but forget that, because we want to play.
You can be given different objectives, one is bound to suit you. Be it kill the enemy or sneak in and bug the place. Trickier still is save the hostage.
Planning is very important, and you also need to decide who you want on your team (each has different skills). Then decide what they need to carry. Its cool that you can not only choose thier gun, but also thier pistol and also things like extra ammo or even a lock-pick set (yes, doors can be locked).
There is a huge array of weapons, the facts and realism behind this game are done well. Someone did thier homework. The weapons fire with a hint of realism, the firing pattern gets worse the longer you hold the trigger, as if your man is struggling to hold on to the gun, with its immense kickback.
The men are real; you can swap between each member, which is handy. You can see them breathing, backpack moving and breath on cold air. Foregive me if I am confusing this with the sequal, Rogue Spear. If your man is injured with a shot to the leg, he will limp and walk slowly, hence causing your problems, holding you up. You are able to switch between 3rd person view and 1st person, which ever you fancy.
The maps or locations are brilliant. Exploring buildings and working out hows best to meet your objective. The additional game packs, Rogue Spear / Urban Ops, have much better levels still, often outdoors.
The enemies (AI) are limited. Better than some games, not entirely predictable, yet stupid when they think they're hiding. Most of them seem to be a dead-eye with a gun, so watch out.
Onto the bad points... (made better in Rogue Spear)
The gameplay is annoying. Control is tricky and cumbersome, whilst clipping irritates me. The movements are jerky and slightly unreal. Climbing a ladder is a joke and will get you killed if seen. The gameplay lacks fluidity of most shootem ups on consoles (Timesplitters, Perfect Dark, Red Faction etc).
There are often glitches, be it clipping or worse - your men get clogged up and stuck; now you're dead.
Graphics are extremely shoddy for PC, compared to console games of its time. Maybe this prevents slowdown.
This game makes you think and will keep you occupied for many hours, days, weeks; but do buy the additional levels. Beware that this first installment has poor gameplay but gets better in the new levels. Remember this is game is not your typical blast everything in sight shooter.