Popular Mechanics has an article on the balance between realism and gameplay in military shooters like Rainbow Six Vegas 2 (R6V2). (Via Instapundit.) It’s a good article, but I get the feeling the author is not a serious gamer. The article gives the impression that R6V2 makes great strides toward realistic gunfire, except for a few compromises. My impression, having played the game, is that R6V2 is actually less realistic than its predecessor.
It may well be that they calculate accurately the amount of damage done by a bullet after penetrating cover and/or armor, but there’s another side of the equation, which is how much damage a soldier can take before going down. In reality, a soldier would go down quite quickly, but in R6V2, a player can endure quite a lot of punishment. Its predecessor was less forgiving.
Now, I don’t care all that much about realism for its own sake, but I did enjoy the unique gameplay that arose from the Rainbow Six Vegas’s realism. In R6V, a player firing first from cover would nearly always win, making it possible for sneaky old guys like me (I’m 36) to beat the kids, despite their vastly superior videogaming skills. That style of gameplay has not been duplicated in any other game, including its sequel. In R6V2, players are tough enough that run-and-gun becomes a viable strategy, which puts the kids back on top.