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Preview: Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Lockdown (Xbox, PS2)


By Michael Palisano

Ubisoft is set to give players another dose of counter-terrorism and strategy with the release of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Lockdown for the Xbox and PS2 this fall. The game features the same solid team based combat players have come to expect with excellent visuals to match. There are also several new features including dual-perspective gameplay, which allows you to switch between two characters and unique multiplayer modes for each console that should offer exciting online play. Overall, Rainbow Six Lockdown promises to be the best in the series to date so join us as we look at the latest installment in this popular franchise.

Set several years in the future, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Lockdown once again focuses on the elite counter-terrorist unit known as Rainbow. As the game begins, the team is facing an unusually tough mission when things go horribly wrong. They lose contact with one of their members and find themselves thrust into an entirely new challenge. Their mission immediately becomes more personal, and they have to face an even bigger issue. The Rainbows discover that the terrorists who attacked were up to something much worse. As they begin their mission, the world is facing a potent threat as new terror networks seek to acquire bio-weapons that they'll use to create a terrifying nanotech bomb. While the threat is quickly evident, what isn't known the exact location of where the terrorists are looking to unleash their attack. It's up to Rainbow to find the terrorists, uncover their plans to prevent them from taking millions of innocent lives. As in the previous titles, players will find themselves once again in command of the Rainbow teams as Dingo Chavez. However, there's a twist this time, in that you can now switch perspective during the mission and play as the Sniper character, Dieter Webber. This dual perspective approach should add even more depth and tension to the missions, making them more realistic. Before each mission, your objectives are explained in a pre-deployment briefing at which point it's up to your team to go in and take out the terrorists.

The game's basic mechanics should be familiar to veterans of the series and the single player campaigns should offer the intensity and action players have come to expect. Each member of the team has a unique specialty and they must work together to take out the terrorists. You can command their team to go to a specific location, change tactics from stealth to attack modes and take out the terrorists using a variety of techniques. Rainbow Six Lockdown's maps will feature the same attention to detail and realism players have come to expect. Ubisoft is promising an increased level of AI where enemies will become smarter as you get deeper in the game. They'll start with straightforward and predictable tactics, but they'll quickly become more lethal by using flanking maneuvers, room-clearing attacks and use of suppression fire. This will make them much harder to kill and make the combat much more intense. Rainbow Six Lockdown is also promising to implement a more elaborate close-combat system, where you battle foes with your fist at a much closer range. This close-combat system should give the battles a grittier edge than in previous titles. Going in with guns blazing isn't usually the best idea, and players will have to strategize and think ahead in order to complete most of the mission objectives. For example, one of the main things you'll need to do is gather intelligence, which means you'll have to capture terrorists alive and get them to disclose what their plans are. Other mission objectives require you to rescue hostages while being careful not to harm them by alerting their captors to your presence. You'll also receive updated reports as situations change along the way. The Rainbows are equipped with a variety of weapons with rifles, shotguns and more at the ready. Players will also be able to view the action using a variety of visual enhancements such as night-vision and heat-sensitive goggles. However, Rainbow Six Lockdown will include several new weapons including battering rams and motion tracking devices. There's also a new weapon called the MTAR-21 that is a micro assault rifle.

From an aesthetic standpoint, Ubisoft's Clancy titles have always featured state-of-the-art visuals and groundbreaking audio. This installment is no exception, as you can see with the richly detailed environments, brilliant light-sourcing, realistic textures, and life-like animation. This attention to detail pays off with the creation of a beautiful environment that should heighten the sense of realism. In addition, the developers are promising to place a greater emphasis on the game's sound, with incredibly immersive sound effects, such as creaking floors, whispers, and screaming hostages that should build tension while allowing you to hear threats that might lurk behind the next corner. Rainbow Six Lockdown should be another feather in Ubisoft's cap, with outstanding visuals that push the current consoles to the limits of the capabilities. The game will also include numerous upgrades to the physics engine, with new rag doll techniques that allow an even greater sense of realism. While the single player mode will sport a robust graphics engine, one of the series' biggest draws over the past few installments has been its intense online play, and Rainbow Six Lockdown looks to deliver this in spades.

While the console versions of Rainbow Six Lockdown share many of the same single player components, both editions of the game on the PS2 and Xbox will include unique online modes. For the Xbox, the main attraction in the online mode is the fact that players can create and use their own operative in the Personal Elite Creation Mode. Each character will have their own unique look, with gender, weaponry, faces, camouflage, armor, headgear, and equipment. As you play through RS: Lockdown, you'll earn points which you can then use to upgrade your character. The most impressive aspect of this feature is that since they exist in a persistent state that's stored on Xbox Live, players will be able to watch these characters evolve over time. The custom characters will have four unique classes, each with their own unique abilities: Spec Op, Engineer, Commando, and Combat Medic. These classes all have their own defining skills that players can further customize them with skill points. You can use this feature in standard multiplayer mode and the character will be used then, however if the option is turned off, the players will play with a default character. PlayStation 2 owners will also have a unique online mode called Adversarial where they can battle other groups of players in team mode, retrieve an opponents' flag, or play through a Rivalry with another team where you need to complete a series of objectives, such as capturing or releasing hostages, before they can win the mode. In addition, the game will include co-operative modes and supports up to three players using split screen with both LAN and online support.

Rainbow Six Lockdown's online modes are looking quite impressive at this early stage, which should please fans of the series who love battling online opponents. Despite this emphasis on multiplayer, the game's solo campaign is looking good as well, with an immersive storyline that looks to offer more character development than previous Rainbow Six titles while not losing sight of the authentic military weapons and tactics that have made the series so successful over the years. While it's still a few months away, Rainbow Six Lockdown already looks like another solid sequel for Ubisoft and Red Storm, fans of the series shouldn't miss it.


Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Lockdown
Platform: Xbox, PS2 
Publisher: Ubisoft 
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal (Xbox), Red Storm Entertainment (PS2) 
Genre: Squad-Based Military Shooter 
Release Date: September, 2005


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