reviews\ Jan 15, 2007 at 7:00 pm

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas - PC - Review

Taken directly from a big-budget Hollywood action title (penned by Tom Clancy of course) - the situation grim, the time is now and the threat real; terrorists are taking over the city of Las Vegas, destroying the casinos one by one. It's time to send in the elite team of anti-terrorist specialists, codenamed Rainbow Six and led by Logan Keller, a leader of one of the many three-man teams that operate under the Rainbow Six banner. After a mission goes down poorly in Mexico, the team is forced into action in the city of Vegas where they systematically must move from casino to casino in order to take down the immediate threat which just happens to include the proverbial superweapon, which just happens to be in the terrorist's possession.

Just so you know, this game is a real booger as far as being a demanding game. You need, repeat NEED a smoking hot, beefy system in order to play this game the way it was intended. It is a seven-gig monster that really needs a 3.5 P4 system with a hot graphics card. If you do not have this system, then don't bother buying this game; of course, if you have an Xbox 360 then you could go that route, but that's an entirely different review. So, please be advised that while an excellent title, the game does need a strong up-to-date system. Plus check out the patches that are already out for this game here:

 "I'll show that slot machine who's the boss!"

OK, so now we're rolling. R6 takes us back in time to when the franchise was based squarely in reality, I know, you could argue that all the games have been firmly rooted in the plausible world of Tom Clancy, but in this title, the developers chose to go back a step or two and really involve the gamer in the whole mission-based experience. Recent versions on the console have dumbed down some of the gameplay that was once only found in the PC versions and R6 brings the series back to these roots. With two R6 members running along with you as you gun your way through the casinos you notice a couple of key gameplay issues.

One, the various objects located in and around the casinos make for excellent cover points, I know plenty of games use objects as cover, but in R6 there is a heavy amount of design going into the whole run-and-gun, cover-and-shoot gameplay. It's a relatively easy thing to poke your head out from cover, take aim and pop some bad guy in the head from 40 yards quickly ducking back down behind the slot machine, or car or whatever. Going along with this is the necessary use of smoke grenades and tactical diversions, not using them while running across open ground will result in a very painful and messy death.

Second, the A.I. of your squadmates is really developed well. R6 features fellow special ops soldiers that navigate the terrain well, take cover when needed and follow what would normally be complicated instructions to the tee. Selecting a soldier and indicating where you want them to go is as easy as a point and click. Breaching rooms from two points is done with superb precision as is doing all those cool things you see special forces types doing in the movies. Repelling down the side of a motel and busting through the glass with bullets flying is all par for the course in this title. That being said, thankfully the game's terrorists were also given a generous helping of A.I. Baddies will set up sniper points, use the motels' large rooms to their advantage and kill hostages if you blow it. A well-balanced game in terms of having things be a fair fight. There will be the norm of a terrorist shooting you from somewhere that you have no idea where it came from (a staple in R6 games).

Vegas, the city that never sleeps is about to get a rude awakening.

Which brings me to the game's only real beef: the save function. In past games, you could save where you wanted and pick things up right before a really hairy situation. In R6 Vegas, that is not the case; the game has checkpoints (not unlike other adventure games) that you can load back to when you die. Now of course you are going to die in this game, probably a lot if you are like me. At which point I should mention that the game has an unrealistic damage quotient meter. If you take some damage you can regain it by taking cover and waiting a few seconds. I can't say I cared for this since it doesn't follow some of the previous titles, but I also understand the need to make an action title that you don't want to have to reload all that often. You can ratchet up the difficulty and that does increase the realism tenfold, get popped a couple of times and you go down for good. This makes the missing quick save function all the more frustrating. There's nothing worse then having to have to play five minutes of game over and over just to get another attempt to take out a terrorist who has burrowed into the world's tightest sniper point. 

The sound in the game more than satisfies as it does feature PC Dolby Digital sound. It comes across very full and realistic sounding. I enjoy the fact that you can tell different rifles are going off due to their pitch and, of course, explosions, glass breaking, all the good stuff you would expect to hear in a top-level actioner like this one. Again, having the high-end PC will make everything seem right as one of my test systems was a mid-level PC and the sound did not dial in with the action.

On another note, there is a pretty cool trick where you can go revive a fallen teammate. It is kind of like the function in Gears of War where you can run up and help an injured teammate. In R6 you run up to them and inject them with what must be adrenaline because it's some sort of miracle cure that gets 'em up and moving even after multiple gunshot wounds. Strangely the game does not allow you to be revived by them though; kind of silly, but maybe your character is the only one qualified to administer a medical syringe.

 "The lights, the entertainment, the highly trained mercenaries running around with machine guns."

Where the single-player campaign is only a weekend's worth of play, the game does have strong multiplayer longevity. There's the ability to play through the game with up to three other friends, a clever capture-the-flag style mode called retrieval and a clever action-heavy mode called terrorist hunt, which is exactly what you think it is. Plenty of love out there for those who enjoy online gaming is found in this title.

Review Scoring Details for Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas

Gameplay: 8.8
Jump out of a helicopter, order your men through two different doors, sneak a camera under a closed door, repel down the side of a building, it's all really dialed in and all really fun to do.

Graphics: 8.6
You need a real beefy system to squeeze out the really pretty eye candy, but if you do then expect all the glam and glitz of sin city wrapped tightly around machinegun fire and explosions.

Sound: 8.0
It sounds pretty tight; the effects are spot on and the game does not suffer from atypical canned phrases.

Difficulty: Medium/Hard
Set the game to the realistic mode and you will have your hands full.

Concept: 8.3
Remember that cheesy movie "The Taking of Beverly Hills?" Me neither, but the game has a slick big budget action movie feel to it, and I like it.

Multiplayer: 8.5
Fast-paced action online with your friends and a strong selection of modes. I wonder why they made playing through the game with friends kinda difficult with you having to have to set the level each time?

Overall: 8.5
It's a solid action title and really gives a shot in the arm to a franchise that needed a shot in the arm.


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