I’ve been a fan of the Rainbow Six franchise since it began in the late 90′s, as a novel, then spawned into one of the most successful tactical shooters in history. And in fact I have the actual novel with me, and I was crazy enough to do a paper on this during high school… which was post 9-11 at the time.
Given the uniqueness of the game being a tactical shooter, unlike Counter Strike at that time, Rainbow Six has its own quirks. Instead of being a run and gun shooter like Counter Strike, Rainbow Six presented a whole new realism where we actually plan our assaults through reconaissance report, mapping, and staging nav points on where the troops should be going and what they’re going to be doing. This was the formula in Rainbow Six and up to Rainbow Six: Raven Shield. But with the following release of Lockdown, Rainbow Six changed course and became more of a run and gun shooter… like Counter Strike (which is the King for that part), and so Lockdown bombed out. However, things changed with the arrival of the XBox 360 and improved PC hardware. The new Rainbow Six coming out for this generation had to both cater the heavy action without compromising its roots of being a tactical shooter. Though I have to warn people that this game, actually requires a very hefty set of system requirements. (I had to overclock my Pentium D 805 to 3.0Ghz, making me need a new cooling fan for the processor.)
Graphics wise, the game is leagues ahead of the last Rainbow Six on the PC, and it closely resembles that of Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. Environment is very nice, through the use of HDR, Shader effects and all other nice DirectX9c goodies. Though I find the character design a bit rough, same with the gun models. But as for the smoke (particles), lighting, the motion blur, it all looks beautifully done. And when screen capped correctly, it’ll look it was taken with a camera in a real location! (Score: 4.1)
Sound wise, the game actully lessens the background music we’d typically hear from other games. It focuses more on the team chatter, environmental sound (the falling pieces of coins from blown up slot machines, plaster getting chipped off from walls). Gunfire is crisp, and very much real. (Score: 3.5)
Controls this time around is much simplefied, but then it doesn’t have the support for joypads – or is it? I saw my update 1′s readme to have some kind of support from the XBox 360 controller, but since I don’t have an XBox 360 controller yet on my PC, I had to settle with a keyboard and mouse (actually works for me). The first stage actually introduces us the functionality of the hide button (Right mouse button to us PC gamers) for hiding in just about any hideable place on the map. The controls are very user friendly. The spacebar controls just about everything you can do: climb, open doors, command your team… R is still used for reloading, but holding it down gives us access to the menu for switching on our sound suppressors, or our laser pointers, as well as reload. The E key lets us to quick browse through our inventory, holding it gives us a menu for selecting our inventory. the 1-3 keys switch between guns, and 4-5 switches explosives and grenades. Z and X controls the Thermal and Night Vision goggles, but in reality, Thermals are better than NVGs. G controls the rules of engagement of the team, between assault and infiltrate. All in all it’s pretty much simplefied from before, giving us quicker response and better action sequences. (Score: 4.5)
What Redstorm Studios created was a mesh between having a fast shooting gameplay - yet it has the feel of observing, thinking of a plan and executing it on the fly, which its core quality. And we have Rainbow Six Vegas. Additional improvements were smarter AI, they don’t just shoot, they try to sneak or outflank us, they know how to hide and most importantly they do know how to shoot back. The same goes for my team mates. Commands are intuitive, point at a location and press space they go there and act according to what the situation dictates (to the best that they can), or stack-up on doors, or even prepare to rappel downwards.
Take this situation: In "The Spire" level, I have to bust through to a bi-level casino floor/room where many (about 10) terrorists were scattered amongst the slot machines and tables. There are three doors of entry, two on the lower level and another in the upper level. What I did was I placed my two men upstairs to do a sweep of the 2nd level, while I break into the ground floor and provide heavy return fire (c/o a light machine gun I swapped with my sub-machinegun at the weapons cache a room before). Once my team mates are in place I targetted the two tangos perched on the balcony overlooking my entrance. Once I say break in and clear, my two team mates took them out (while I was looking through the snake cam, a cool new feature of looking at enemies inside a room from the outside). Then I break in, but before actually entering, I had to take care of the mounting enemy precence near the door. I did several quick pop and shoot moves from the side of the door to take out two tangos from my view. after doing it, I ordered my guys to sweep the second floor while I made a mad dash to the corner under the 2nd level’s area. I whipped out my LMG and suppressed the tangos that were trying to outflank me at the side. I ordered my team from above to also take out an annoying tango hiding behind a cart as they try to link up with me. We then preceded in cleaning up the entire ground floor with me covering the left side and they the right. I then swapped my LMG with one of their own assualt rifles and used it as an SMG, a very powerful SMG (A SIG552 Commando hehehe) (Score: 5.0)