previews\ Nov 14, 2006 at 7:00 pm

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas - 360 - Preview

Last year’s Rainbow Six title, Lockdown, was a disappointment, to say the least. Some hardcore detractors might even say that the game tarnished the once-lofty reputation of the flagship Tom Clancy series. Therefore, the expectations placed upon the successor were lofty, as this would be not only be a chance for the series to redeem itself, but the first title to be featured on next-gen hardware. Luckily, all of the pieces seem to be falling into place for this entry to the long-running franchise, and fans will have cause to pick it up for their next-gen system later this month.

The team has done away with the standard briefing screens of yore. Instead the mission is laid out to you on the way there. This gives the missions more of a natural feel, and adds a sense of flow and urgency to the game.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas Xbox 360 screenshots

Like previous entries to the Rainbow Six franchise, Vegas puts a strong reliance on your squadmates. The squad command controls are very fluid. Whereas a menu would previously show up on screen with various commands, things are more streamlined this time around. By pressing the A Button, you can perform specific actions depending on what you point at, like sliding down a fast rope for example.

You can also command your units to attack certain enemies above others. The AI also seemed to adapt to situations a lot better without your intervention this time around, an improvement over previous games. All in all, the tactical element is shaping up quite nicely, and should be complex without being too difficult for someone to learn.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas Xbox 360 screenshots

Rainbow Six: Vegas also adds some pretty cool new items to the mix. One cool addition is the tactical shield, which protects you from light gun-fire. While the shield has its obvious benefits, it also has some limitations, namely vision and arms. You can’t see too well with the shield up and will only be able to wield one-handed weapons. You’ll also be able to customize the weapons that you choose to entry the fray with, adding things like sights and stocks to your weapon of choice.

The game looks very impressive, thanks primarily to the Unreal Engine 3 under the hood. The character models look very sharp, and well animated to boot. And what would Las Vegas be without the neon glow of the Strip? The game presents the city very well, with fantastic bloom lighting effects and detailed environments.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas Xbox 360 screenshots

Rainbow Six: Vegas is looking to bring the series back in to fine form after the somewhat extreme departure of Lockdown. The game has excellent graphics, deep gameplay and solid AI, making it a next-gen worthy entry and a breath of new life for the franchise.

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