XBox 360 Reviews
Xbox 360 Review: Rainbow Six: Vegas
By Casey Lynch Dec 29, 2006, 17:58 GMT
Delivering the trigger-happy goods with a new cover system and rich online modes, Vegas is the best Rainbow Six title in years, and the probably the best shooter of 2006.
Thank you Tom Clancy.
You’ll probably never really understand how much your games (or at least games that have your name on them) were directly involved in helping the Xbox 360 to become the current leader in the next-gen market coming into 2007.
But really though, we should be thanking Ubisoft. Seriously, simultaneously reinventing three venerated Clancy franchises in one year - Ghost Recon, Splinter Cell, and now Rainbow Six, is no small task.
Thankfully, Ubisoft has completed the Tom Clancy trifecta of 2006 tactical goodness with Rainbow Six: Vegas, the first Rainbow Six title to hit the next-gen, and arguably the best Rainbow Six title since Rainbow Six 3 and the Black Arrow Expansion that we all played the crud out of on Xbox LIVE a few years back.
Who knew terrorists have such a gambling problem? Apparently, Vegas is the soft-target of choice for terrorists, as they’ve all converged upon Sin City for some serious dirty business. As Logan Keller, counter-terrorist commando extraordinaire, you and your burly Team Rainbow will battle baddies, routing terrorists and rescuing hostages from Mexico to the Vegas strip, concluding atop the Hoover Dam, all of which is underpinned by some truly remarkable new gameplay mechanics.
Revamped controls = wowza
Topping Rainbow Six: Vegas’ long list of great features is a totally revamped control scheme with one of the best cover systems this side of Gears of War.
Similar to Gears "A" button action, when you want to take cover behind a wall, a slot machine or any number of commercially well-placed Dodge vehicles (talk about product placement, every vehicle in the game is a Dodge… well, except for the helicopters,) you pull the "L" trigger and you’re immediately sucked into an over the shoulder third-person perspective. You can move around in cover, blind fire, and angle your camera to get a bead on a tango before leaning out for a quick headshot. Bottom line, after playing with this cover system, you will notice it missing on every other first and third person shooter, and it probably won’t be long until every shooter adopts some derivative of it.
Another nice feature is the command system. You can order around Team Rainbow, who you can get to do everything from stack up a door for a quick breach and clear, or fast rope into a hostage rescue situation, all with the tap of a button or two. You can literally use your reticule to mark rally points by pressing "A", which sends your group ahead to set up a flank or to provide cover for you to get out of a pinch.
Rappelling = smiles
While there are plenty of grin-inducing moment sin Rainbow Six: Vegas, there none quite as awesome as the first time you invert, upside-down, and rappel-walk your way down the outside face of a sky-scraper, lining up a tango in your sights. It’s a beautiful feeling, and a great twist on the typical run-gun/tactical action of most shooters.
Speaking of shooting, the weapons are as realistic as they come. You’ll use sub-machine guns, machine guns, light machine guns, assault rifles, sniping rifles, and they all look and feel exactly like they should.
Visually, everything looks top notch. While the majority of shooters take place in warehouses, on docks or in steamy factories, it’s a welcome change to charge through neon-laced and slot machine-filled casinos. The character design is especially good as well, mixing great modeling detail with realistic animations, all of which creates a visual feast for the eyes.
As good as the singleplayer game is, Rainbow Six: Vegas really shines in its varied online multiplayer modes. There are both competitive and cooperative games. We guarantee, online game modes like Attack and Defend, Sharpshooter and a variety of others will have logging long hours on Xbox LIVE.
Coming into this holiday system we thought we’d be Gears of War whores, but as it turns out, we just can’t put down Rainbow Six: Vegas. The more you play, the more weapons you unlock, you can even customize your player by adding your ugly mug via the Xbox LIVE Vision cam.
As good as the online competitive modes in Rainbow Six: Vegas are, nowadays, it’s pretty standard for most shooters to come with a comprehensive list of multiplayer modes. Rainbow Six Vegas doesn’t just stop there, though - the real gem in online play is 4 player co-op, which outdoes Gears of War 2 player co-op by a mile and runs circles around other shooter faves like Halo that have zero online co-op.
Playing with the AI Team Rainbow is cool, but there’s nothing like playing through the campaign as a team, deciding who’s breaching the door, who’s laying down suppressing fire and who’s going in for the hostages. Plus, you can chat about your day at work or that girl you’re trying to get to go out with you on a second date while you fast-lining your way to victory.
Our only real nit-pick about Rainbow Six Vegas centers around its standard storyline – find and shoot no-name terrorists, run, hide, find and shoot no-name terrorists, run, hide, repeat endlessly until you stop no-name terrorist from using wicked device to kill untold millions – and somewhat rote ending, which is pretty much a by-the-book mish-mash of every tactical combat shooter game you’ve ever played.
Now granted, since this game has Tom Clancy’s name in it, there are still plenty of twists and turns along the way, but the ending seemed to come up a bit "meh" for us. This is partially Ubisoft’s fault though – after all, they themselves raised the storyline bar with the whole NSA/JBA juggling act storyline in Splinter Cell Double Agent.
Also, keep in mind, this is still a Rainbow Six paced game, which is to say, it isn’t as frenetic as Halo or Call of Duty. It’s also very difficult, especially on Realistic difficulty (earning the achievement for finishing the game on Realistic difficulty is an achievement indeed.) For fans of Ghost Recon Advanced Warfight or even Gears of War though, this will be right up your alley.
Seriously though, a somewhat run of the mill story and a ratcheted-up difficulty are small beans to complain about when you get to spend the whole game reveling in a righteous cover system, popping out to pump hot lead into terrorist baddies with your trusty 552 Commando or performing real-time combat maneuvers with Team Rainbow on the fly with the flick of a button.
Bottom line, this game is hella fun, especially either online in multiplayer or in co-op. If you’re a shooter fan, you won’t regret this trip to Sin City.
- Great revamped control system
- Cover system as good as if not better then Gears of War
- Rich competitive and cooperative online multiplayer modes
- Rote story in singleplayer campaign
- Difficult and slow paced tactical gameplay