Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas Reader Review
Tom Clancy games (Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six series in particular) are mostly a hit or miss experience. Getting the right balance of an arcade shooter and realism is never easy, but this Rainbow Six Vegas has achieved this delicate balance with utmost perfection. Rainbow Six Vegas (RSV) offers some fast paced combat, awesome graphics and some great gameplay innovations.
The main strength of RSV lies in its cover system. On the lines of GRAW and Gears of War, survival in Rainbox Six depends on the player finding cover in the midst of a fire fight, and progressing from cover to cover.
The controls are smooth and fluid, and the learning curve is extremely smooth and easy to grasp. The cover system works flawlessly, and dare I say it, is better than Gears of War on many occasions. Players press the LT to take cover, and use the left analogue stick to peek out and take shots. This feels a lot quicker and natural as opposed to say Gears of War, where you have to press the A button to take cover behind an object. The only downside to this approach is that you have to keep the LT pressed to stay in cover, unlike GOW where you can just press A and concentrate fully on the fight, but once you do get used to it, it clicks in much better with the players.
Another area which is extremely satifsying is the AI. The AI itself in this game has enough substance to make the players come back for more. You squad members are intelligent, take cover automatically in the midst of a fire fight, and actually kill enemies rather than just act as support. Even if you order your squad in the middle of a room with no cover around them, they will proceed with caution, shooting enemies efficiently, and will look for cover as soon as they realise they are in the open, or get shot at. And if they do get shot down, you can revive them within a certain time limit before they die, at the risk of getting shot yourself.
The game offers a regenerative health system, which seems like is becoming the norm for action shooters (which I agree is much better than health packs). So just like in GOW, GRAW, COD3 and numerous other titles, your health will regenerate if you can avoid getting shot for some time. However, this does not mean you will not die. On the contrary, you will die a lot. A close range shotgun shot, or a headshot will kill you instantly. This adds another level of realism for the game, and even though you will be kicking yourself when you die, it will teach you to proceed with caution through every nook and corner.
Alongside the firefights, RSV has a good amount of strategic depth in it. For example; you have numerous options on how to clear a room. You can order you squad to clear the room from one side, while you enter the room from another door and flank the AI by surprise. You also have the ability to tag terrorists, which basically tells your squad members which terrorist to take down first when the open the door. This is extremely useful if say there is a hostage on the other side, who is seconds away from being shot. You can assign the closest terrorist top priority, and rest assured, he will go down in a flash as soon as that door is opened. This allows you to concentrate on other terrorists in the room, while you team takes care of the immediate threat.
One of the aspects of the game which always enchants me is the ruthless efficiency of your team when clearing your room, quite like in real life situations. Your team is like a ruthless highly efficient killing machine, and if you have the perfect strategy, you and your squad can clear a room full of terrorists in a matter of seconds.
The weapons in the game are all based on their real life counterparts, albeit I presume they have been changed enough to reflect the game. You have a whole variety of guns, and they can be customised to your liking. My weapon of choice for e.g., is an AK-47 assault rifle, with a 6x magnifying scope attached to it. You unlock more weapons as you progress, including the shield, which in my opinion is one of the best weapons seen in any game. If anyone has played Counter Strike, they will know how the shield works. Basically you can hold a bullet proof shield in front of you, and will not get hit by bullets coming straight at you from the front. However, you can only shoot with a pistol, and you move really slowly. Also, you cannot take cover, and are still vulnerable to getting shot from the side or behind, and even on your arms and legs. So even though the shield might seem like the ultimate weapon, you can easily die if you're not careful.
RSV is easily one of the best looking games on the 360. Although not as good as Gears of War, the game holds its ground on the graphics department. Flying over Vegas, or over Mexico, watching the ground in realtime is amazing. Textures are nicely rendered, and the game features some of the best blood effects ever seen. Blood will splat behind on the wall, and makes for some satisfying headshot kills.
The only complaint in the graphics department would probably be the colours. For some reason, RSV is a very "red" game. All the casinos are rendered Red, including the lights and walls. This can get a bit boring to see at times, specially once you've gotten used to the level design.
The sound effects don't leave much to be desired in RSV. The voice acting is good, and adds that sense of urgency to stop the terrorists. The gun sound effects are good, the terrorists will shout at you and if you listen closely you might be able to pick up their attack plan. The casino sound effects are also excellent, and you can listen to the video poker and slot machines breakdown as they get hit in the middle of fire fights.
Definitely one of the best titles out there for the 360, RSV has a lot to offer series veterans and new gamers. Excellent AI and great sound and graphics almost guarantee that no two fights will be the same, so the replayability value is still there. The game encourages the players to think of different strategies to take down the terrorists, which adds a tremendous depth to the gameplay as well.
All in all, RSV is a neat package, with minor surface problems, which you will forget to even notice as you get immersed in the experience. Definitely worth a buy.. GO GO GO!!!!!
Gameplay: 9/10 Graphics: 9/10 Sound : 9/10
9 / 10