INTRODUCTION

Due to some bugs and feedback from the initial release, Ubi Soft decided to release a patch for the Raven Shield Multiplayer Demo, bringing it from 1.0 to 1.1. Included in the patch are several bug fixes, tweaked player and reticle speeds, a new map and a new game-mode!

NEW MAP

The new map looks great. Big – much larger than the other two – plenty of routes, lots of opportunities for every play style. Sniping? Got that. Camping? That too. Head-on assault? You betcha. I like the level interaction (“killing” phones and puncturing fire extiguishers – pity the latter doesn’t make you cough or anything). My framerates aren’t as optimal as they are on the other two maps, though, and I don’t really want to imagine playing it with tons of AI stuff eating up my CPU cycles as well..

NEW GAME MODE

I’ve had limited experience with the new Pilot game-mode so far. The objective for Green team is to escort their pilot to one of several extraction zones marked with green smoke. Red team has to stop them, and the round ends when Red team is eliminated or the pilot is either dead or at an extraction zone. The pilot himself is only equipped with a secondary weapon and equipment to make things a little more interesting.

MOVEMENT SPEED

The slightly sped-up movement is great, it feels a lot smoother now and less ‘clunky’ than before, yet it’s not too fast either. Allegedly, the speed increase is microscopic, but it’s still significant enough to be noticable.

RETICLE SPEEDS

To be honest, I haven’t noticed much difference. I play the same way I did before the patch and I get more or less the same results. They definitely feel more like they did in Rainbow Six/Rogue Spear – whether that’s a good thing or not depends on your personal preference. I liked it the way it was, but I don’t have any problems with it now either. After all, the Rainbow Six games are, without doubt, the games that have been (and still are) installed on my PC(s) for the longest amount of time. For me, it’s a good change.

This change is also quite small. In fact, it’s not the speed itself that has been increased, they’ve just reduced the amount the reticle pips spread. Basically, 1.0 had five different spots the reticles could be in. Very wide, wide, tight, tighter, tightest. In 1.1, they’ve removed the widest one (which was about at the edge of the screen) so the pips never expand more than about a screen-lenght apart. This means that all weapons are more accurate when on the move (but still no good for shooting on the run unless in close quarters) and the pips take less time to return to the tight positions.

In the end, there’s not much difference. It’s a tad easier to “run-and-gun” in close-quarter battle now, but you still have to slow to walking speed (or stop alltogether) if you want to hit anything at extended ranges.

FRAGS

Fragmentation grenades are finally useful. Not much more to say about that. They increased the range to approximately what it is in the previous Rainbow games, so the grenades are efficient without feeling overpowered.

CONCLUSION

Overall, the game feels a lot more polished and solid now, much thanks to the removal of minor annoyances such as floating items. (It really kills the immersion when you stumble upon a helmet floating mid-air.) I still have one of the bugs from before – sometimes I’ll start a round with no reticle and no mouselook. Nothing works apart from the WSAD movement keys and the movement is choppy. Not sure what causes it, it appeared seemingly randomly on the Import/Export map earlier, twice, with two “normal” rounds in between. After that, I haven’t had it happen again. Did spot a guy stuck on a ladder, though, so there are still a couple of bugs to iron out, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it used to be – at least not for me.

I’m impressed. The speed changes are all good, in my opinion. The new map is great. The Pilot mode is fun. Apart from the few remaining bugs, I have no complaints. All in all a good job on Ubi Soft’s part. There’s still a lot of discussion around the reticle, however, so it’s hard to tell if this will be the final system or if they’ll tweak it yet again. They appear to have based the changes on the results of the polls in the official forums not long ago, which were pretty clear as to what most players (voting players, anyhow) wanted.

I guess time will tell how the final version turns out.

Daywanderer
“Fortune sides with he who dares.”