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Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas (PC) artwork

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas (PC) review


"From the moment I started playing through it, Rainbow Six: Vegas made me its bitch. I consider myself a connoisseur of first-person shooters. Iíve played dozens of them. But Iíve never really done tactical shooters and because of this inexperience, Rainbow Six: Vegas made me work to succeed. If I made any mistakes, the game capitalized by sending me to a game over screen almost instantly. And yet, I kept reloading the last checkpoint, chugging along at a snailsí pace, grudgingly re..."



From the moment I started playing through it, Rainbow Six: Vegas made me its bitch. I consider myself a connoisseur of first-person shooters. Iíve played dozens of them. But Iíve never really done tactical shooters and because of this inexperience, Rainbow Six: Vegas made me work to succeed. If I made any mistakes, the game capitalized by sending me to a game over screen almost instantly. And yet, I kept reloading the last checkpoint, chugging along at a snailsí pace, grudgingly replaying areas over and over again until I accomplished my objectives and was able to move on. Rainbow Six: Vegas and I had a battle that extended beyond the game. It was a battle with my patience and my determination. It was a battle that Iím glad I fought because beyond the steep learning curve is an incredible game.

After spending years playing FPS games, I was a little sad when I died during the tutorial level. Things didnít bode well for me. But I reconsidered my tactics after my second death and realized that I was approaching the game all wrong. I couldnít fight like I fought in traditional FPS games. I needed to use cover, go slow, and take careful, deliberate shots at foes from as far away as possible.

It was the cover system that helped me love Rainbow Six: Vegas. As I crouched through the dusty streets of Mexico that serve as the opening level of the game, I noticed some terrorists down the street. I ran up to a nearly destroyed car and pressed my right mouse button. The camera swooped out from the skull of my character as he pressed his back against the car. I was now looking in third-person, down the street, allowing me to see my enemies safely from behind cover. If I leaned out from behind the car or stood up, I was brought back into first-person, allowing me to aim for the skulls of my foes while still partially covered. I was quickly able to eliminate the enemies down the street while taking minimal damage.

While the old Rainbow games focused on tactics, the emphasis of Rainbow Six: Vegas is on firefights from behind cover. As the game progresses, the battles become even more intense as the locations expand, cover becomes more limited, and the amount of enemies increases. Enemies are constantly shuffling around, using an excellent AI system to move to more advantageous positions. Battles often forced me to go against dozens of well-armed enemies. Fortunately, I was rarely alone thanks to two AI teammates that I battled alongside for the entire game. While most games feature the most incompetent teammates imaginable, Rainbow Six: Vegas afforded my comrades with excellent AI. If I wasnít killing my enemies, they were. I could actually trust them to cover me. Issuing them commands was incredibly simple and I didnít have to mess around with complicated keystrokes or menus.

Rainbow Six: Vegas is defined by firefights. Every room is a struggle. While this could get stale, there simply wasnít a battle that I didnít enjoy. That isnít to say that I didnít die repeatedly, but every scene was memorable for some reason. The opening battle in the city of Las Vegas was absolutely incredible. Cars were overturned and burning in the streets. Terrorists were hiding behind anything that they could use as cover. I had to move quickly and efficiently, using cover, but constantly staying a step ahead of my enemies who were constantly trying to flank me and my soldiers. My teammates and I worked our way up the destroyed Vegas Strip, taking out any terrorist that presented himself to us with deadly headshots.

This isnít to say that Rainbow Six: Vegas isnít without fault. It isnít perfect. The checkpoint save game system is designed to force players to make responsible decisions, but the checkpoints are often spaced very far apart and forced me to replay unnecessary portions before I could get to the battle that killed me. And while I was able to heal my teammates if they fell in battle, if I died, they couldnít heal me. It was game over. I donít really understand why they couldnít heal me, but I imagine itís along the lines of making responsible decisions. A real counter-terrorist only has one shot, so I suppose the developers wanted me to feel that urgency. But I easily forgot these faults as I triggered the checkpoint and began the next tense firefight.

It would have been incredibly easy for me to stop playing Rainbow Six: Vegas. I could have uninstalled it and never bothered with it again. But Iím glad I didnít. Rainbow Six Vegas has landed itself in the rare category of one of the best games that Iíve ever played. The final level of the game is essentially a massive firefight through the Hoover Dam and it was arguably one of the best experiences Iíve had in video gaming. While it isnít without faults, Rainbow Six Vegas is a finely tuned shooter and I cannot wait for the next game in the series.

Rating: 10/10

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Community review by asherdeus (March 27, 2007)

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