One of the bigger surprises for me at this year's E3 was Rockstar's upcoming project, Conflict: Desert Storm. A squad based shooter, similar in style to Rainbow Six, Conflict takes place in Iraq during the Gulf War, using real life events from that military action as inspiration for the game. In fact, Rockstar even hired on a former British SAS operative to create a more realistic atmosphere. While not a big fan of squad based shooters, I was greatly impressed with Conflict: Desert Storm, and in more ways than one.
Graphically the game is great, with a very realistic visual aesthetic. Sand storms swirl around, making it hard or even impossible to see clearly at times. The trucks and tanks and other backgrounds objects were fairly detailed, and you can even modify your surroundings. I was very impressed to see that I could use my sniper to blow out the tire of a car 100 yards ahead of me, showing a ragged hole being punched in the rubber causing the tire to deflate. There were some issues with anti-aliasing in certain parts of the game, but hopefully these will be worked out before the game is released.
From a gameplay perspective, Conflict is very solid. You take control of a 4-man squad, with certain objectives scattered throughout a level. Each member of your squad has different capabilities such as sniper or demolitions, and you can easily switch which soldier you are in direct control with by tapping the D-pad up or down. Depending on which obstacles you're facing you will need to use a different soldier. At one point my path was blocked by a tank, but not for long as I took control of my demolitions guy and blasted it to pieces with a bazooka round. Nothing lifts your spirits like blowing up Iraqi military ordinance.
Overall, Conflict: Desert Storm looked and played very well, and if the entire game is as solid as the level I played, then this game will definitely be one of the squad based shooter to own for the Playstation2.
5/28/2002 Ryan Hartmann