1-1: First Steps (Prologue)
After you slot the game you are presented with a dark and foreboding screen and prompted to push the start button. Doing so brings you to a fork in the road where you must choose your Game Mode -- either Campaign or Multiplayer. Unless you have already cut your teeth on this game, the correct choice is Campaign, because that is where you are going to learn what you need to know and acquire the skills to be a Special Ops Operator.
Selecting Campaign begins the loading process, starting with a notice about the auto-save feature of the game. Hit the action button to get past that, and you are presented with the Campaign Menu, where at the moment all that you can do is select a New Game, or select Tier 1 Mode to take a look at the Leaderboards for Campaign, which display the Top-11 Operators for each mission broken down by classification.
In the Tier 1 Menu you can view the Top Ranked Players for Accuracy, Longest Range Kill, Frozen Time, Completion Time, Headshots, Melee Kills, and Grenade Kills, all of which are broken down by mission. Getting on that list is quite an accomplishment!
The Options Menu contains exactly what you would expect it to, but unlike most games it actually has settings you may want to alter, starting with inverting the X/Y axis and tweaking aim sensitivity. One setting that you should alter before playing is audio -- access that menu and lower the bar settings for Music Volume and SFX Volume so that they are one or two points lower than Dialogue. Doing so will make it easier to hear what is being said in he game, an aspect that greatly assists in the process of immersion.
Under the Extras Menu are selections for Movies and the Credits -- and while hardly anyone every actually watches the credits, in this case you might want to check it out anyway, because the folks at DICE used some images and background sound for theirs which are rather interesting. As for the Movies -- the only one that is presently unlocked is the Prologue -- you need to play through the missions to unlock the rest.
From the Campaign Menu select New Game, and then pick your difficulty. If you are an old hand at this type of game, you can safely select Hard, but if you are not, or you are even a bit rusty, you are better off selecting Medium. If you are new to combat, Easy is the way to go!
After selecting the difficulty you are treated to the Prologue video, which has some intense action in it and nicely sets the tone for what is coming. Tier 1 is a unique outfit that is as comfortable driving into a combat zone armed to the teeth as it is doing a HALO night drop armed with only a knife, an MP5, and a target.
As the Prologue movie plays out they are clearly talking about the events of 9/11 and what followed, and the dialogue offers you some clues as to what you are about to do. When the movie transitions to the pair of armed pickups -- called Technicals -- and the next movie plays out until you are ambushed by Chechnyans.
After your partner does an amazing job of executing a tactical retreat by driving the Technical backwards though a building you find yourself outside, with the enemy approaching. You are given the opportunity to invert your aim -- do so if that is a more comfortable configuration for you -- I kept mine as it is. Now find some cover -- the B-Button will allow you to crouch -- and quickly get familiar with your kit.
A quick run-through of your options:
• A: the Action Button / Jump -- can be used to stand from a crouch
• B: the Crouch Button -- allows you to take cover. Hit it again to stand.
• X: the Reload Button -- an important one to remember!
• Y: the Weapon Button -- hit this to change weapons.
• L Joystick: Movement
• L Joystick Push: Sprint
• R Joystick: Orientation
• R Joystick Push: Melee Attack with Knife
• RB: Throw a Grenade
• LB: Peak & Lean from cover
• R Trigger: Fire your weapon!
• L Trigger: Iron Site / Scope for aimed shots.
• D-Pad Up: Personal Sitrep
• D-Pad Down: Night Vision Scope On/Off
• D-Pad Right: Fire Select -- change from Full Auto to Single-Shot and back.
• D-Pad Left: Grenade Launcher -- You do not have one.
OK you got it down? Excellent! Now look on the screen and you can see a marker -- that is the direction of your partners location, so head for him but do it all stealthy and ninja in case the bad guys are close!