Reviewed by Jimmy | 12.20.06
Ubisoft brings their third Tom Clancy game into the next generation with Rainbow Six Vegas. Set in Sin City, Nevada, The Rainbow Team faces a formidable group of intelligent terrorists. Check out our review to see how the odds play out for Rainbow Six Vegas in the city that never sleeps.
Rainbow Six Vegas brings out elements from the last Rainbow Six game and meets Raven Shield half way. I was expecting a more of a strategic element in Rainbow Six Vegas, but I guess Rainbow will never return to its more planning methodical roots. The new generation of Rainbow games have picked up the pace with a plot line that moves along quicker, refined the game areas and mainly has you gunning, taking cover and flanking. Not to say one style is better then the other because it really comes down to personal preference, at least the changed the game up enough that it didn't shadow last years Rainbow Six Lockdown.
Rainbow Six Vegas for the Xbox 360 is easily the most flashy and detailed of all the Rainbow games. Ubisoft Montreal did a great job bringing to life each area in the game with a keen eye for the little details. If you've just already jumped into R6 Vegas and wonder why you're not in Sin City its because you have a plot building experience in Mexico first that takes you from the city streets down into the mining area deep below the city. After Mexico, Vegas pumps up their game and puts right on Las Vegas Boulevard inside the fictional Calypso Casino. From there you'll be moving along the strip and even make your way up to Fremont Street . The game comes to a climatic ending at the Hoover Dam along side the Nation Guard.
In Rainbow Six Vegas you're not in control of Domingo "Ding" Chavez, you're in the skin of Rainbow leader Logan Keller. Ding isn't written out of Vegas because you will converse with him and he'll let you know that you're a little too experienced and set you on the casino gig to get more stars. In a change you don't get to pick your crew because they are appointed to you in a scripted sequence. I half to keep these details a little brief because your crew has a big impact on the plot development during the game. I kind of have a little sigh because I used to love putting together my own team of specialists, that's not the new Rainbow, it's all handed out and predetermined. I guess I'm just going to accept the new version of the old.
Speaking of changes besides not being able to form your team you will have a smaller three man assault team to do the dirty work. This breaks the game up and gives you a little more control over the action. I'm not a hundred percent sold on this formula, but for what the do in Vegas it seems to work. Vegas also use the now popular regenerating health system while also giving a wall hugging third person camera view. Similar to Gears of War you are able to hide behind cover, popping out to disperse of enemies, and also like Gears you can blind shoot around and over obstacles in hopes to land a lucky bullet. No complaints here on these facts, the new duck and cover viewpoint helps bring a new level of realism into Rainbow Six and it works wonderfully.
One aspect that hasn't changed is the use of real life weapons trademarked and high replicated to their real life counterparts. From Pistols to Shotguns, all the militaries hand held killing machines are included. If you're into the details of the real weapons you should be pleased with Ubisoft's duplications. In R6 Vegas they have finally included the ability to pick up weapons off of fallen enemies. This is handy if you're running low on ammo and it's also just fun to use some less sophisticated guns like the old standard AK-47. The terrorist's weapons are usually bare bones, but hey they all are proficient boomsticks.
Besides the picking up weapons, Ubisoft Montreal took lead from Ghost Recon and made Rainbow Six a seamless game experience with a continues plot line. Just like GRAW you will updated on the fly through your HUD link, or on a helicopter as you fly to a new location. In Ghost Recon I felt like the story benefited greatly by using this formula, in Rainbow Six, I like my missions and different locations and objectives. I really did like the constant flow of the game and hope they don't try and sneak this into every Tom Clancy game. Splinter Cell was kept cool the old school way of broken down levels and I still believe Rainbow should be preserved in the same fashion. I would take a less dramatic plot line if I could have more locations worldwide in a bunch of interesting and broken down missions. For me that is Rainbow Six, this new formulated feels more like Ghost Recon Rainbow Six.
Rainbow Six besides an entertaining storyline has always been a multiplayer heavy game and things haven't changed in that respect. Like Halo, Rainbow Six is a game that is sometimes bought just for the multiplayer aspect. Even with Halo standing tall on the multiplayer mountain there is something that grabs gamers in Rainbow Six and I wouldn't be shocked if this bumps off the all mighty Halo 2. The big story this year is Co-Op online which is huge for the series and one of the best ways to experience Rainbow. I was overly pleased with the continued work towards multiplayer end of Rainbow and once again they keep with the tradition of being one of the best multiplayer games available.
This year's online mode takes advantage of the Xbox Live Vision Camera which allows you to map your face onto your online character. It's almost freakish how well the game pastes your details onto the game model. It's a cool feature and because it works so well, you'll want to paste your friend's faces into the game, just so you can have some good fun wasting them. Hopefully Ubisoft keeps this feature rolling; it would be great to have it the other Tom Clancy games as well.
Rainbow Six Vegas has the gameplay nailed this year and even though it might not sit totally perfect, I can respect their new direction and effort. The controls are simple and intuative and the games plot keeps you moving on through the story. Hats off to Ubisoft for keeping Tom Clancy franchise of games interesting over the years.
Rainbow Six Vegas is using Epics Unreal 3 engine the same engine as in Gears of War and it looks great. Like Gears, Ubisoft has detailed each level and tried to add as much as they could to make the environments seems as real as possible. The in game characters look up to par, but maybe not as good as some other top games. Still, I wouldn't be one to complain, Vegas is amongst the top ten graphical games this year. The lighting also plays an important role, it's not as strong as Double Agent, but it is impressive enough when they use more diverse situations. Overall, the graphics stood out to me, but didn't strike me like a game like Gears of War.
The real story in Rainbow Six in this category is the sound which is strong and piercing. This is an area that Rainbow always cuts through on and this year is no different. From the subtle background music to the voice acting and sound effect, Rainbow delivers. You really need to crank this one up with surround sound to get the full impact. The weapons really have a distinctive sound and punch right through the mix. Definitely Rainbow Six Vegas has the best sounding gun reproductions this year. Even though the graphics didn't impact me like I expected, the sound came through and pushes Rainbow Six Vegas up to one of the best of the year.
Rainbow Six Vegas turns back the page and makes up for the black sheep of the series from last year, Rainbow Six Lockdown. Although, I'm still a fan the older, broken up styled gameplay, Rainbow Six Vegas tries to capitalize on G.R.A.W.'s success and made Vegas a continues mission. This sucks a little life out of Rainbows epic and international feeling, but it does make for a more concentrated storyline.
Besides favoritism towards the Raven Shield, Rainbow Six Vegas has a host of new features and an updated team structure that all are welcomed changes. Include some amazing fun multiplayer with co-op added and Rainbow Six Vegas becomes a game that is hard to resist. Rainbow Six Vegas is sure to be a favorite for a lot of gamers for months to come. I highly recommend Rainbow Six Vegas for any gamer who loves to get behind the gun for the sheer joy of wasting some tango's. Rainbow Six Vegas might not be the crown jewel of the series, but it's still one of the year's best shooters.