Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas

Review

posted 1/15/2007 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: 360
I have an idea, let’s completely forget Rainbow Six Black Arrow and Lockdown ever happened. Rainbow Six Vegas is a strong return for a series that has been marred by a few unfortunate misfires. With its exciting level designs, amazing graphics, easy control and robust online multiplayer modes, Rainbow Six Vegas proves to be one of the best games of the year. It’s an amazing accomplishment that everybody should experience … just as long as you can get over the enormously unsatisfying ending.
 
In Rainbow Six Vegas you take control of Logan Keller, the leader of a three-man counterterrorist team. The game initially starts you out in Mexico, but it won't take long before you're swept away to the colorful streets of Las Vegas, Nevada. As it turns out Vegas is the perfect backdrop for an exciting first-person tactical shooter, there are plenty of loud and colorful things blowing up all the time, there's a lot of diversity in the levels and it all feels authentic. And just as you start to get sick of the anything goes attitude of Vegas, you're transported to yet another state landmark that is just as exciting as the casinos.
 
But let's not get too ahead of ourselves yet, because Rainbow Six Vegas is a game worth savoring. This is a tactical squad-based shooter that rewards working as a team and calculating the right action for every situation. While that may sound slow and boring, Rainbow Six Vegas manages to offer just enough fast-paced action to keep traditional first-person shooter fans happy. 
 
Early in the game you are on the hunt for Irena Morales, a terrorist hiding out in Mexico smuggling unsavory types across the Northern border. As the trail to Irena winds down we learn about a massive assault on the city of Las Vegas, and just like that you're off to bright lights and high stakes action. As you might guess from the name, Rainbow Six Vegas is all about infiltrating casinos, flushing out bombs in clubs, and generally keeping the streets of Las Vegas safe.
 
While the story isn't going to win any awards for originality, it does do a good job of taking us from one interesting location to another. Anybody that has been to the real Las Vegas already knows that there's a new experience around every corner, and the developers of this newest Rainbow Six mission took the best of the city and crammed it into one amazing single player experience. You'll be visiting several different casinos along the way, each with their own look, style and theme. Thankfully this carefully crafted Las Vegas is more than flashing lights and promises of big money; you get to take the tour of the city that includes underground tunnels, office buildings, building tops and VIP parties.
 
The missions aren't quite as diverse as the locations, but they still do an excellent job of adding to the urgency of the situation. A lot of the tasks involve you locating a person, disarming a bomb, clearing the area of terrorists and getting your butt back to the extraction point. Thankfully you can go about performing these missions in a number of different ways. For instance, you will often have the choice between sneaking in behind the enemies by way of the stairs, using your rope to jump down the side of a building and then bursting in, jumping down a fast rope to surprise them, or using your backup team to do all of heavy combat. Along with the game's unpredictable AI, the ability to play these missions multiple ways really adds to the longevity of this title, this is the kind of game you actually want to go back and play through even after you've completed its lengthy story mode.
 
While the game may be presented in a first-person perspective, Rainbow Six Vegas has a lot more in common with Gears of War than Halo. In fact, people who loved Gears of War will feel right at home with this present-day counterterrorist action game. The whole idea here is to find cover, attack and then find more cover. Finding cover couldn't be any easier, all you do is hold the L trigger and you'll stick to the wall, ledge or row of boxes. And since not everything you use as cover is going to be the same, the new cover mechanic also does a good job of adapting for your specific situation. This control scheme makes it easy to go in and out of cover, open doors safely, and take shots at enemies with some protection in front of you. While Gears of War is no slouch, Rainbow Six Vegas really shows you how this tactical shooter thing should control.
 
Controlling your squad is also a breeze thanks to Vegas' control scheme. Instead of being able to give excruciatingly complicated orders to your computer-controlled teammates, Rainbow Six Vegas keeps everything simple. Now all you have to do is push a button and they'll do their thing, if it's something more complex (like opening a door) you will have a multiple choice question that you can answer with the D-pad. The rest of the actions in the game are pretty simple, so it shouldn't take most gamers long before they've mastered the controls.
 
The simplicity of the controls actually works to the game's advantage. Early on there may be a few times when you have to think about what you're doing, but what UbiSoft has managed to do is streamline these complicated maneuvers into just a few button presses. Although it may not seem like it at first, there's quite a bit of depth to the game's controls. Even when you're doing something as simple as using a rope to climb down a building, you have the option of turning upside down and shooting enemies. There are a lot of little techniques that come in to play in Rainbow Six Vegas that you may not even know about until mid way through the game.
 
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