Unreal Eye CandyOne of the major updates to this series is the switch to using the Unreal Engine by Epic. This immediately gives Raven Shield a degree of polish and refinement seen in very few games this past year. The screen shots do not do this game justice; you have to see it in motion to truly appreciate how good it looks. The atmosphere is fantastic.
High-resolution textures and lots of polygons combine to deliver one of the better-looking games on the Mac. I don't think anyone will complain about the graphics in this game.
Thankfully, the story takes place across the globe. This provides us with good variety in level design and a broad color palette. The settings for your covert operations are never boring or dull looking.
This degree of eye candy comes at a price of course; you will need powerful hardware to run the game with all the eye candy turned on. I am reluctant to say too much about game performance on the unreleased code, but performance is comparable to other high profile first person shooters released recently on the Mac. I am not sure if the recent tweaks to the Mac version of the Unreal engine were in the build that I played.
The nature of this game, it being less of a run around the map twitch-festival, means that a lower frame rate will not adversely affect the experience as it might in a pure action game. On my machine (PowerMac G4 1.25GHz, 1GB DDR and RADEON 9000) I found the experience roughly equal to playing a bot-match in Unreal Tournament 2003.
I think this will be a must have for any G5 owner. If you really want to show your system off, this is a great way to do so.
Raven Shield boasts terrific physics accuracy. This includes 'rag doll' physics applied to in game characters. For example when you shoot a terrorist, they will slump over realistically. Maybe it's kind of sick to get excited about this degree of accuracy when depicting the death of an in-game character, but it is the first time that I have seen this on the Mac.
Audio is great too. I highly recommend playing Raven Shield with headphones. Ambient sound effects are nice. Guns have a crisp metallic sound and bullets hit you with an unmistakable thump.
ConclusionIf you were playing the original Rainbow Six on your 604 based PowerMac, then you probably don’t need any more convincing. Your mouth has probably already started watering.
As these games have evolved through sequels, their appeal has broadened. Each generation is more accessible to a larger variety of gamers and Raven Shield aims to deliver something for every action gamer. My opinion at this stage is that it will succeed at doing this.
I liked how Raven Shield’s 15 single player levels are tied together by a typically believable Clancy story. The background of the story closely mirrors current events; the early missions involve clearing up imbroglios in exactly the sorts of places you would expect to see them.
Take the best video game engine on the Mac, add an almost legendary franchise and top it all off with challenging single and multi-player squad based tactical combat and you have a very promising upcoming Mac game.
Keep an eye out for this one - you won't be sorry.