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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Ubisoft

 

Developer

Ubisoft Montreal

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

November 2006

 

 

- Manageable controls!

- Teammate AI that doesn't go all Rambo every time they see a tango

- Interesting storyline

- Great production values

 

 

- Cover feature has its own quirks to contend with

- Some rooms have to cleared in a specific manner

- Multiplayer is practically a different game

 

 

Review: Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (360)

Review: Gears of War (360)

Review: Quake 4 (360)

 

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Rainbow Six Vegas

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

Rainbow Six Vegas is one of those games that actually managed to surprise me.  It’s a squad-based game – you control two teammates for most of the game – which lead me to believe that the controls would be overcomplicated.  Thankfully, it’s not.

 

rainbow six vegas          rainbow six vegas

 

The magic of the A-button was reconfirmed – most of the commands are handled directly by the A-button: go there, breach that door, crash through the skylight, etc.  The rest of the commands are kind of spread out across the controller – down on the D-pad tells your squad to regroup/hold, the right shoulder button switches their “behavior” between weapons free and infiltrate, the back button marks targets for them (while in snake cam mode) –  and they’ll also follow your cues (put your silencer on your squad does the same).  Your squad is also smart enough to take cover and is far, far less prone to “going Rambo” by running and gunning off by themselves, unlike Gears of War which practically lists this problem as a feature.

 

Rainbow Six Vegas follows a basic premise: clear a room and move on.  It’s repeated ad nauseum throughout the game however it still manages to be compelling each and every time because the approach can be handled in different

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ways.  While not so apparent during the opening level set in Mexico , once you hit Vegas the ways you can enter a room open up dramatically – and the tactical thinking takes over.  And because it’s so easy to control your squad you can set them up at a door/skylight/ rappel point then you can head over to another access point and complete a coordinated assault.  With you breeching a 

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window while your squad provides a distraction so you can blast the bad guys in the back.  Most areas are akin to 3D puzzles with guns.  What often happened during the course of play was coming across a room which seemed impossible to clear.  That is, until I found the “correct” solution to the puzzle.  Not every area is set-up like this though – sometimes it just comes down to proper procedure.

 

Procedure is probably the wrong word to use in this case.  It makes Rainbow Six Vegas sound a little like a turn-based strategy game.  There is plenty of action here but it includes taking full advantage of cover and making sure your teammates are in a good position.  Going in with guns blazing has its place though.

 

And while I mention that, the arsenal of weapons is extensive, with most of them being freely upgradeable, but you’ll find yourself sticking to guns that you’re comfortable with for most of the game.  You can only carry three guns at any one time – two big ones, one handgun – and a small number of smoke/flash bang/frag grenades.  (In the course of most of the levels a supply crate is conveniently left for you to pilfer and change weapons if you feel your current combination isn’t working.)

 

rainbow six vegas         rainbow six vegas

 

Though some have reported that Rainbow Six Vegas runs with the Unreal 3 engine, it doesn’t but it does manage to look just fine, even exceptional in some cases.  There’s one area that’s a multi-level opera theater that is just gorgeous and the casino environments are full of detail.  The night vision and thermal vision modes are also spot on.  Helping to capture the feel of Vegas though is the sound design which is great, particularly with a surround setup.

 

My only real complaint with Rainbow Six Vegas is that save points are far enough apart to make it frustrating to die.  You could finish clearing a sprawling casino floor over the course of ten minutes only to get killed by a lucky shot in the next room, which forces you back to the last checkpoint.

 

Okay, I’ve got one more complaint.  Taking cover doesn’t always work like it should.  It’s possible I complain about this because it’s not quite on par with the cover system in Gears or War.  In that game you could jump and slide to cover, from one place to the next seamlessly.  Vegas isn’t quite as seamless.  You snap to cover which switches your view to a 3rd person perspective, but to swing to nearby cover requires you re-enter first-person mode scoot over then snap back to cover.  It doesn’t sound cumbersome but when you’re under fire it’s a pain in the ass.

 

The multiplayer portion of the game is practically a game unto itself.  Most matches quickly develop into fragfests – gone is any semblance of tactical approach.  It’s close to Counter-Strike in that a team that sticks together has a better chance of survival than one that splinters into individuals.  But you can’t control anyone!  “Hey buddy, can you cover me as I run across this giant open stretch of bare ground?” I ask.  “Not a problem,” he says as he runs the other way.  Online play was just frustrating for me.  But obviously some people really enjoy it because their avatars show it.  The longer you play online – whether or not you’re any good – the more customizable options for your online appearance become available.

 

While Rainbow Six Vegas won’t necessarily hit the jackpot for everyone, it has enough going for it, as detailed above, that I’d recommend it to any shooter or action fan.

 

- Omni

(January 3, 2006)

 

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