Voice Module








In Memory
Sean Pettibone


Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas
(Ubisoft for Xbox 360)

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas is an intense tactical shooter with amazing graphics, deep gameplay and brilliant level design. You command an elite anti-terror squad and must use your wits to outsmart terrorist forces before they can inflict major damage on Las Vegas. As in previous Rainbow titles, you need to think ahead and scout the surrounding area before you rush into combat. An improved cover system and health regeneration adds to the game's intensity and realism. Its outstanding visual design makes this a completely immersive and exciting combat experience. Look inside to discover why Rainbow Six Vegas' superlative production values, intuitive controls and engaging online modes make it the best installment in the series to date.

Set during a nightmare scenario of a near-future where terrorist forces have unleashed a series of devastating attacks on Las Vegas casinos, Rainbow Six Vegas is another superb installment in the tactical combat franchise. Once again, players take the role of Ding Chavez, an elite commander of the Black Ops Rainbow Team. This elite infiltration force is charged with the task of killing and stopping terrorists in their tracks. A long prelude begins in a South American city where a small group of insurgents has taken hostages and is threatening to destabilize the government. Things move quickly and the Rainbow forces quickly find themselves battle these same terror forces right in the heart of Glitter Gulch. As in previous games, your main objective this time around is to command a three-man force through a variety of levels. Your mission is to clear out any terrorists and reach objective points without losing your fellow soldiers or causing damage to any innocent bystanders. The game's overall structure and look is fairly consistent with the previous games and allows you to issue commands, change weapons and tactics fairly easily. When you enter into confrontations with the terrorists, you'll need to take cover behind an object to prevent them from hurting you. If they are able to hit you, the screen will blur and turn darker as you take damage. Instead of looking for health capsules as in many other games, you can find cover, rest for awhile and your health will gradually increase. A similar approach applies to your other soldiers, since you can help them recover or make the other Rainbow soldier help them with a quick injection. It's not the most realistic approach to combat ever seen, and does make the game feel easier than it should, this approach helps keep the gameplay moving along at a good pace.

Rainbow Six Vegas gives players an impressive arsenal of weapons and tactical maneuvers to choose from. As usual, all of the guns are based on real-world weaponry and include an array of sniper rifles, machine guns and pistols. Each weapon allows for both standard and secondary fire which makes targeting enemies easier. When you reach the side of a wall, you can lean against it and aim the gun independently as well, which reduces your exposure to enemy fire as well. You can also call up a variety of infra-red and night-vision goggles to spot hidden foes and use snake cameras to look behind doors. Rainbow Six Vegas also allows you to use your Rainbow forces as scouts to move ahead and clear out any enemies, with either an offensive or defensive posture. You can command your team to fire at will or go in carefully to avoid detection. The player can use the onscreen pointer to direct the movements of the Rainbow team and use them as scouts to weed out any terrorists. When the Rainbows reach a locked door, they can use several different tactics, trying to breach the wall with a grenade, go in silenty or go in firing. Depending on what waits on the other side, this can wipe out an unsuspecting terrorist or alert others nearby to your presence if you're unlucky. Unlike many other FPS titles on the market, the enemy NPC's are surprisingly intelligent and can anticipate and react to your movements. They'll change tactics and flank or surround your team if they're alerted to your presence. They won't always be in the same locations either, so you need to be on your guard constantly. Rainbow Six Vegas' controls are fairly intuitive, with movement controlled by the left analog stick, while other actions such as crouching, crawling and running are mapped to the shift buttons. Changing weapons and reloading requires you to hold down one of the face buttons while other tactics can be changed on the fly, which makes the missions feel more elastic. The game unfolds at an excellent pace, and the realistic maps and levels are large and expansive, reflecting the layout and organization of the locations where they're set. The casino floors feel like a real casino, the rooftops are appropriately chaotic, giving the game an intensity and realism that helps to immerse you into the action. Each area of the game offers opportunities for cover to hide behind as well as open areas where you can spot terrorists. As always in Rainbow Six games, patience and intelligence are rewarded, while recklessness only leads to an early exit and frustration.

This is probably the most elaborate and engaging single-player shooter to carry the Tom Clancy brand to date. Its ripped from the headlines plot and storyline are engaging and believable which adds to the sense of urgency that makes the game so immersive. The constant chatter between you and the other soldiers, along with frequent updates you receive in your HUD drives you forward into battle. Everything about the play mechanics has been implemented intelligently and the game strikes an effective balance between stealthy strategy and intense combat sequences. The game expertly creates a palpable sense of anticipation as you wait behind a door, not knowing what's on the other side. This approach makes it all the more satisfying to explode a grenade on the other side and wipe out enemies. Its realistic tactics and maneuvers are taken from actual combat techniques and this approach has become a hallmark of all the Clancy games. While it's been seen before, Rainbow Six Vegas' increased graphical realism makes this even more effective and polishes the formula to a high gloss. R6's missions unfold like a movie and come at you at an excellent pace that creates an ever increasing sense of danger. You're aware that the stakes are high and getting higher. As you go deeper into your missions, you'll face smarter and more lethal opponents that shrink your margin for error, making it imperative that you use different approaches to keep your opponents off guard. The game's use of health regeneration and cover becomes increasingly critical later on, and this strategy makes for an even more challenging title. This superb solo campaign is complimented by some impressive multiplayer modes with online, split-screen and system link modes. There are many different modes of play ranging from team co-op missions, hunting terrorists and all out dogfights, which gives things plenty of variety and depth. Many of the maps in Rainbow Six Vegas have been retrofitted from previous titles, which makes this portion of the game both familiar and immediately playable for series veterans.

Ubisoft's previous Rainbow Six titles have set a high standard of visual excellence, and this installment doesn't disappoint. Some of the cinematic sequences, like crashing through windows in a sudden assault are absolutely stunning. The game's richly detailed environments are saturated with color, elaborate light sourcing to create believable levels that feel incredibly realistic on a standard screen and seem to almost pop out of High Definition sets. Every element of the levels from slot machines to doorways and lamps has been rendered beautifully which adds to the sense of realism. The levels themselves offer plenty of variety and use expansive maps and layouts that make you feel like you're actually where you say you are. The use of light and shadow in the earlier stages is impressive, but the Vegas areas with their neon saturated hallways and floors are truly astonishing and create one of the best looking shooters to date. Rainbow Six Vegas' impressive motion capture and movements are evident in the believable character animation and movement is impressive as well and makes every character in the game feel very much alive. Your HUD is slick and streamlined and gives things an appropriately high tech appearance with the elaborate cut scenes and extensive voice acting adding to the sense of immersion. The game unfolds at a consistent 60 FPS rate, which makes things seem smooth and effortless throughout. As you'd expect, the rich production values and attention to detail that players have experienced in previous titles is amped up here, making for a dizzying sense of realism that creates some of the best production values in any Xbox 360 shooter to date.

Between the outstanding graphics, stunning cinematic presentation and immersive attention to detail, Rainbow Six Vegas truly stands out as a next-generation masterpiece. The game itself is superb as well, mixing stealth action and combat with a realistic plot that keeps you immersed in the game throughout. You literally feel like you're in command of the action with an intuitive interface and HUD that's transparent and allows you to focus on the task at hand. The challenging approach to combat makes you think ahead, look for cover and try to avoid battles. This makes for a more interesting and realistic feel that results in a deeper, more satisfying experience that feels grounded in reality, making for an authentic tactical combat shooter with a surprising amount of depth and nuance. You can't help but be impressed by this game on many different levels. Everything comes together cohesively to make Rainbow Six Vegas an absolutely stellar title that that delivers the most realistic tactical action in the series to date.

- Michael Palisano

Grade: A-

> Related Reviews

Prey (Xbox 360)
Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (Xbox 360)
Call of Duty 2 (Xbox 360)
Need for Speed: Most Wanted (Xbox 360)
Perfect Dark Zero  
Quake 4
 (Xbox 360)

< Back to Main Page