Product Type: Ubisoft Xbox 360 games
Newest Review: ... fps but goes more along the lines of a tactical shooter. Careful planning has to be done to clear each room and complete each objective... more
Viva Las Vegas!
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas (Xbox 360)
Member Name: Stunt 101
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas (Xbox 360)
Advantages: Excellent cover system and tactical gameplay, beautiful visuals, tight online play.
Disadvantages: Underwhelming plot and sound, punishing for non-thinkers.
With the sequel coming out this week, lets reminiscent of its predecessor. Rainbow Six Vegas is the fifth title in the series, which has had a little bit of bumpy ride. From its illustrious beginning on the PC, to its disappointing Arcade counterpart on the consoles, to the absolutely dreadful Xbox game that thankfully didn't get released in the UK (poor Americans...). That was released in the same year as this game, by the way, so it's not surprising that people really thought 'holy crap, duck!' when this was announced. Now more than a year later though, it seems everyone who though that was wrong as it turned out to be a superb game in the same vein as the magnificent Gears of War, where anything you can hide behind becomes your best friend. And both were released merely weeks in between. But, another year has passed and many games have come out, most noticeably The Orange Box and Call of Duty 4. Does it hold up, or has time taken its toll on this tactical shooter?
You play as Logan Keller, a leader of a three man team from Rainbow. You are called into Mexico because things are going wrong. Terrorists are striking casinos and high-rise hotels in the bright city of Vegas, while hoping to find your two comrades who have gone missing. Unfortunately, the plot of the game doesn't really impress. There are a number of clichéd plot twists during the game, which seem to be ripped directly from other Ubisoft games. On top of that, the ending fails to satisfy, being slightly confusing, brief and unsatisfying, tying up almost zero of the knots of the plot. It also doesn't help that the acting isn't good really. It fails to motivate you to kill terrorists in RSV, not that you really need one.
The game controls excellently. You move with the left analog stick and aim with the right, like most shooters. Also like most shooters, you reload with the X button, throw a grenade with the B button, and switch weapon with the Y button as well as fire with the right trigger. You can take cover by using the left trigger. This is fine, though you do have to hold it down, so your finger can tire if you are in long gunfights. What makes the controls outstanding is how easy it is to use squad tactics. If you need you team to move to cover, you simply aim at the cover and press A and the squad will move. If you want them to come up to the door, you simply look at it and press A, from which you can press one of the directions on the D-pad to command them to do a move. It's all really easy to use, meaning you can use the squad tactics without frustrations.
Gears of War was a tactical shooter, but it didn't really involve much brain aside from using cover. Rainbow Six: Vegas is a tactical shooter that does involve using your brain, at least in the single player. The campaign is split up into six levels each with a few different areas. The levels in the game are non-linear, with multiple routes to take, even if the storyline is linear and the objectives must be completed in order, unlike its cousin Ghost Recon. The multiple routes mean that you choose how to play. If you are brainless, then it probably won't matter but if you are then this probably isn't the game for you. If you don't think, you'll probably die. These multiple paths mean you can set up assaults where you send your squad through one door and you go through the other, which is pretty cool. You can also rappel down windows and either smash into the room or shoot from the outside, which can be thrilling. There are also moments where you can slide down a rope into an elevator shaft or off your helicopter, as well as other cool commando moments which add a lot to the experience.
Speaking of squad, when you're alone you'll mostly have two squad members with you, with few levels where you're on your own. You can command your squad to move to cover, regroup with you and take cover at a door, which after they can throw a grenade in and clear, place a charge on the door and clear, or simply charge in and clear. You can also tell them to fire in two modes. The first is Infiltration, where they are more stealth oriented, putting silencers on their guns and only shooting if shot at. This is good if there are lots of enemies on the level, but if there's no reason to use stealth, your enemies may get shot down because they waited to fire. The other is assault, where their reflexes improve and simply shoot on sight, which may attract attention, but there is less chance of the opponents killing your guys before. The A.I. for your team mates is excellent, as they never get caught on the many objects in the environment, and will take cover when necessary. You can revive them if they die, but that can be problematic when there are tons of enemies, and if you don't get to them quick enough, they'll die.
There are a couple of things that make the game stand out from the dozens of other shooters is its excellent cover system and tactical gameplay. Like Gears of War, slabs of concrete, slot machines and any other solid object that you can stick your back to and hide behind to avoid taking lead into your body will be your best friend. You can take cover by getting up to an object and taking cover by holding down the left trigger, which as mentioned before, can hurt your finger in long battles. The game perspective switches from first-person to third-person both seamlessly and instantly, meaning it's really easy to get into cover. You can poke out of cover and shoot at enemies when they're reloading, or blind fire, though that has the accuracy of a blind donkey. It's best used when enemies are very close to you.
The tactical gameplay is also great, simply because it gets you more involved into the experience. Rather than shooting through bland corridors and making your way from objective to objective without a though, you need to plan out how you're going to play and think before you act. If you rush into open air without a though, you'll get a shock when you're full of lead. You can check the game's map by holding down the select button, which highlights you, the alternate paths and enemies that you are currently fighting. It would have been nice if you could see enemies you have yet to cross.
It definitely feels good to clear a room when you're clearing enemies on the higher level and your squad is helping taking enemies down on the lower level. Unfortunately, the squad tactics will definitely split the players into two camps. Fans of the previous games, Tom Clancy games and tactical shooters will definitely love Vegas as it's what it's all about. But fans of games that use little brain will find this to be a punishing shooter that requires too much thought. As a fan of shooters like Gears of War, The Orange Box and CoD4, I had a hell of a lot of fun with Vegas. It was immensely satisfying throwing smoke grenades into rooms and taking out evil terrorists. That said, if you're not sure, play the demo available on Xbox Live.
There is also multiplayer available via Xbox Live, split screen and system link. You can either play competitively for up to 16 players or four player co-op. That's right, four player co-op on a game released around the same time as Gears of War. Unfortunately, it's not as good as Halo 3's co-op as none of the plot elements are here, and the levels aren't organised in what order they are in the single-player, but in a random order meaning you'll either have to remember the order or just jump into the last level. Still, it's immensely fun with four players and it's not just the thrill of four people. The game is seemingly built for four, as playing with your mates meaning that you can have much more tactical precision.
The competitive modes are just as good. You can use the Xbox Live Vision camera to create your own custom avatar, as well as use unique gear to customize them. It makes each player look unique, though the interface for the Vision Camera is questionable at worst. There are six modes available, with the standard deathmatch and team deathmatch. There's also Survival where there are no respawns and the last man standing wins. Attack & Defend is where one team defends an area and the other attacks it. Retrieval is where the two teams must locate and deliver biohazard canisters to score points and the winner is the team with the most. Aside from some issues connecting to Ranked Matches, Vegas' multiplayer rounds are some of the best.
The game is rated 16+ for violence and language. It's not over the top, but I think that younger players should stay away from it because it requires so much tactical precision. Not saying children are stupid, but more often that not they will just go charging into a level and not think. I played with my younger cousins and they struggled immensely because they didn't understand what to do. So I put them back on Kameo and let them be. But really, if younger players have had experience with these games then they will be find obviously.
Graphically, Vegas looks incredible. The thing that stands out most is the vivid attention to detail. Unique slot machines in the Casinos, the sheen that bounces off comrade's helmets and more really make the experience beautiful. Character models look great, especially the comrades as each piece of equipment on the character's looks really and stands out. The animation is good, though a couple of times you see some stiffness. There is some excellent lighting here, making all the bright neon lights of Vegas come to life. The multiplayer is toned down a little bit, but it still looks great. The frame rate can chop up a bit in intense situations, and the blurry effect that comes on when you take damage can be distracting, but for the most part Vegas is one of the best looking games on the system.
The sound is good, despite some uneven voice acting. It never gets so bad that it will make your ears bleed, but it's never award winning. It's just, well, there! The music is great, with blood pumping riffs coming into the game at the best times to create a tense experience. It may be disappointing though that the excellent Elvis hit 'Viva Las Vegas' is nowhere to be found here, which would of made Vegas feel even more like Vegas. The effects are top notch, with guns that sound about as loud as an aeroplane. It is like being in the middle of a huge gunfight!
-(The Replay Value)-
The game has tremendous value. The single player value will take you about 15 hours to finish, which is a good length for a shooter. You may replay it at least once by yourself so you can get the 100 point achievement for playing it on the Realistic difficulty, which is definitely a challenge. There are also the online modes, including the awesome co-op mode and the terrific multiplayer modes. These could last a few months, well at least until Vegas 2 is released. The achievements here are pretty good, the only bad one being the achievement which asks you to use the Xbox Live Vision camera to put your face on your multiplayer character for 30 points. Put it this way, giving the same amount of points as completing the tough single player levels when all you have to do is put your face on some camera and take a shot is stupid really. Aside from that, the achievements are good.
Controls=9-Easy to use squad tactics.
Gameplay=9-Excellent tactical gameplay, though it's hard!
Graphics=9-Beautiful Vegas scenery.
Sound=7-Uneven voice work and no 'Viva Las Vegas' playing in the background!
Replay Value=10-Tons of value for money.
-(The Ending Comments)-
Rainbow Six: Vegas definitely puts the series back on top form. It looks stunning, is incredibly intense and has excellent controls, top notch co-op, great competitive multiplayer and cool weapons. It definitely is a showcase for the 360. While you will have to get over a poor story, a steep learning curve and having to actually use your brain in a shooter, once you realise this is tactical shooting at its finest, all is forgiven. If you're a fan of the game and have yet to play this, get it, and then pre-order the sequel coming out in March. And if you haven't played this and are comfortable with the likes of Gears of War and Ghost Recon, Vegas will be the best deal ever. With the sequel coming out this week, now is the best time to quickly go through this before you can go through number 2.
-(The Extra Info)-
This was published by Ubisoft and developed by Ubisoft Montreal
This was released on December 1st, 2006 and is also on PC, PS3 and PSP.
This is available from Amazon for £24.98 (classics version)
Summary: The best Rainbow Six game.
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