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Single Player

The single player component offers a series of training missions, or you can start the first campaign mission. I opted for the training missions, in the SAS Regiments famous ‘Killing House’ (It looks similar to what I’ve seen in other tactical shooters to be honest). In the training missions you have to achieve a certain grade (A to C) before it unlocks the next one. I think people will have the same reaction as myself, they’re bloody demanding and quite hard. In real life, the SAS Regiment uses Speed, Aggression and Surprise, for its counter terrorist operations. This is basically what is drilled home in the game. You have got to be extremely fast and deadly accurate at the same time in these training missions. It took me several attempts. As you achieve a grade, you also get rewarded with the unlocking of video material with an ex-SAS guy known as ‘Mac’. The first campaign mission places you as a member of one of the 3 assault teams to storm the Iranian Embassy through the backdoor. Each mission is introduced by ‘Mac’, who attempts to lend a degree of realism to the scenario. This first mission recommends an ideal time of something like 1.46 mins to complete. The best I’ve managed is 3.11 mins, which gave me a grade C and unlocked the ability to play as Assault team 2, and enter from the roof of the building and clear the upstairs floors. The friendly AI is pretty competent, but will get confused if for example, you’re standing in an open doorway and pointing at another, telling them to assault it. Just make sure you walk right up to the door that you want assaulted before issuing the order. If the door is locked. You can get one of your AI team mates to automatically breach via using a Shotgun and blowing the door hinges off, or you can do it yourself. I’ll discuss team loadouts, hostage behavior and the enemy AI in the next section.

At the end of every mission (both on and offline), you’re given detailed feedback on your performance, for example, the number of Head, Body or Limbs shots you’ve made. The time it’s taken you to complete the mission. How many Terrorists have been killed or incapacitated and, if any, how many Team mates or Hostages have suffered etc.

Multiplayer

Now as some people will know from the forums at SimHQ, I’m not a huge fan of multiplayer. However, all that has changed with The Regiment. The game offers two modes of online play. COOP and something called Sabre Squad. Let’s get Sabre Squad out of the way first. In Sabre Squad mode, players are divided into two opposing teams; the numerically superior Terrorist force or the better equipped SAS-Sabre Squad team. The objective of the game is to earn ‘dagger’ points, but these are only awarded for terrorist kills made whilst playing as SAS. At the end of each round, all terrorists who have killed an SAS player switch sides to replace them in the next round. Killed SAS troopers switch over to become terrorists.

Ok now, that’s done, lets talk about what really matters, COOP gameplay. COOP allows 4 players to connect together and play as a team. Surprisingly, there is no dedicated server option. However this really isn’t a problem. I have frequently hosted several games (and joined several games), and there has been no lag present whatsoever. This is probably due to the max allowance of 4 players (a good design decision in my view). Also because there are only 4 players allowed in a COOP game, it’s relatively easy to fill your team out. There are 4 main maps, Embassy, Farm, Metro and Parliament. Each of these maps are further divided into 3 sub-maps that cover the differing entry points, giving a total of 12 maps to utilize. There are no team loadouts to organize. Everybody gets an MP5 primary weapon (with Flashlight), 4xMagazines, a Pistol, a Shotgun, 2xHE Grenades, 5xFlashbangs and 2xCS Gas Grenades. Everybody on the team is also equipped with night vision. However, there’s nothing to stop you from swapping your gun for one of the X-rays (terrorists) weapons. There’s one guy who I now know, online, who’s an expert at room clearance with an M60. I will breach, and then he will stand there in the doorway, blazing away. I’m always amazed that he survives.

As I said, each map has 3 entry points (sub-maps) assigned to assault teams 1-3. The person running the server decides which entry point (sub-map) they have listed in the cycle and consequently, which team you’ll be in. There are no waypoint (R6 style) things to follow, but you are given an objective, like extract 5 hostages from the basement, etc. It’s up to you how you assault. BTW, you hear the other friendly AI teams above you doing their assault, shots ringing out, explosions, screams, commands being issued, etc. It’s a very immersive environment.

There’s a random spawn placement of certain enemy, they’ll duck for cover, pin you down whilst others try to flank you. They’ll even grab a hostage as a shield, requiring a carefully placed head shot to dispatch them. Likewise, hostages will panic and sometimes run around like headless chickens, requiring a swift punch in the face to calm them down. The terrorists will also kill hostages, if you loose the element of surprise. The one thing that still amazes me, is that the terrorists will sometimes play dead then suddenly grab their gun and start blasting away, hence the reason for making sure they’re all dead before you move on (you could waste time, handcuffing them, but the element of surprise must be maintained). You’ve gotta move fast, swiftly and deadly through the rooms/areas. It’s quite a macabre thing to witness, as you watch your team mates walking over to groaning terrorists and dispatching them with a shot to the head. This is hostage rescue the no-nonsense, dark, ugly way.

One thing I have noticed, is that you don’t get any idiots online (apart from me). You know the type that think they’re John Wayne and can take all the enemy out themselves without their team and then run off on their own. People like that will simply die. You have, and I stress the word ‘have’, to play this game as a team to win. Voice comms are really needed I suspect to get the most fun out of the game. So far I haven’t been using comms, but I’ve been having a great time online anyway.

Summary

Speed, Aggression and Surprise is basically what this game is all about when summed up. The need to be ultra quick and deadly accurate when playing this title is foremost in the list of requirements for attaining the key to success. Imagine R-6 Rogue Spear, but played out a lot faster, mixed with SWAT4 on steroids… that’s kinda what COOP is like online. I’ll fully admit to being really surprised by this title. I’d mentally prepared myself for some Call of Duty arcade shooter experience. What I got was a hardcore (I hate using that word) tactical shooter. The game echoes all that I’ve read about the SAS in counter terrorist operations. This game really shines in COOP play, I’ll freely admit that I’m now a convert to online gaming. I just can’t get enough of playing The Regiment in COOP mode. In the 8 years I’ve been visiting SimHQ, this is my first game review. I hope it was informative and also an enjoyable read.

Note: The Regiment will not be commercially released in the USA.


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