"Rainbow Six Vegas is not a Rainbow Six game. Sure, it shares the same title, but Ubi has thrown out pretty much everything that defined Rainbow Six. Instead, this entry is more akin to Splinter Cell than anything. Bad move, right? Actually, itís the best thing to ever happen to the series. "
Rainbow Six Vegas is not a Rainbow Six game. Sure, it shares the same title, but Ubi has thrown out pretty much everything that defined Rainbow Six. Instead, this entry is more akin to Splinter Cell than anything. Bad move, right? Actually, itís the best thing to ever happen to the series.
Vegas puts you in the shoes of the generically named Logan Keller, the leader of a three-man counterterrorist squad. So where in Sin City does Logan's adventure begin? Mexico. Yes, for the first hour or two of Vegas, youíll be in the same bland Mexican setting that appears in seemingly every game in the Tom Clancy series. While it might seem that this game is an immediate disappointment, the Mexican level is a surprisingly enjoyable jaunt that serves as a training mission and effectively introduces the terrorist leader, Irena. In your journey through the abandoned streets of Mexico, it will become very clear that this latest Rainbow Six has abandoned the emphasis on realism and methodical pacing that previous games in the series offered. Instead, this game feels far more like a standard FPS, but with one key addition: cover. The gameplayís defining characteristic is the brilliant cover system, which allows you to cling to walls, crates, or any other object, in order to shield yourself from a hail of bullets. From there, you can peek out and fire away at your enemies, or you can simply blind fire and remain well-defended. This wrinkle adds a surprising amount of depth to the familiar shooter mechanics, and youíll certainly need all the cover you can get because enemies are more than capable of ending your mission by force.
While the core gameplay has changed dramatically, this is still a squad-based game. As the leader of the Rainbow team, you have two underlings at your disposal. You have a decent amount of control over them as you can order them to move to a specific location, have them assault a room, or issue a variety of other commands depending on how you want to approach a situation. Older Rainbow Six games were never praised for their squad member AI, but that trend is finally reversed in Vegas. Your teammates will take cover intelligently and reliably follow your commands, so you never feel like youíre babysitting them. As a result, this is the first game in the series to offer truly enjoyable team-based gameplay since you feel like youíre working with your squad rather than contending with their stupidity.
All of these basic gameplay mechanics are introduced to you during your mission in Mexico. Unfortunately, things go horribly awry for Logan & Co. as soon as you meet face to face with the terroristsí leader. Your teammates are captured and the terrorists flee the scene believing that theyíve managed to kill you. Of course, the game would be awfully short if they succeeded, so it turns out that Logan remains among the living. When you get back to your chopper, youíre informed of a situation in Las Vegas which is believed to be connected to the incident in Mexico, and the real battle finally begins. Like the gameplay, the plot has received an overhaul as it is not only more prominent than in other Clancy games; itís far better. Bits of the plot are effectively sprinkled throughout your missions and the story always feels like more than a mere excuse used to tie together the levels.
Immediately upon reaching the streets of Las Vegas, youíll be greeted by countless glowing lights scattered everywhere you look. The developers nailed the look of the city and the whole area feels alive. You wonít have much time to admire the sights, though, because the second you hit the ground, youíre in the fray. Terrorists are hidden everywhere around you, and cover becomes a constant necessity since you never know where you might get shot from. Las Vegas composes the perfect playground for these shootouts since itís littered with objects that both you and your enemies can hide behind. Luckily, youíll have a fighting chance against the terrorists because Logan is armed to the teeth. You carry three guns with you at a time, and thereís quite a variety to choose from. Every weapon has strengths and weaknesses that are displayed when choosing your arsenal and you can also select from a variety of scopes for your weapons. Best of all, the guns are fun to use. Every gunshot has a distinct, deep sound, and the recoil of the weapons also adds to the feeling of power behind the guns. There are few things more fulfilling than peeking out from behind your cover, firing a few, well-placed rounds, and seeing your enemy collapse as a spray of blood hits the wall behind him. Vegas nails the intensity that so many shooters lack, and it makes the combat constantly enjoyable. It might be a dramatic change of pace from previous Rainbow Six games, but the developers were remarkably successful at reinvigorating the series with this combination of quick, brutal combat and cover tactics.
Featured community review by Daisuke02 (September 28, 2007)
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