Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas Review

After a few pedestrian efforts the Rainbow Six series brings us Rainbow Six: Vegas, a game worthy of rubbing shoulders with the seriesí best. Rainbow Six: Vegas is tense, exciting, and downright difficult, which are the aspects of the original game that made its fans fall in love with it in the first place. Rainbow Six: Vegas isnít for everyone, but if itís for you Ö itís really, really for you.

If youíre not familiar with the Rainbow Six squad, it is a multinational elite counter-terrorism unit whose primary specialty is hostage rescue. While in many special forces games youíre supposed to kill anything that moves, in Rainbow Six you need to protect the civilians first and take out the terrorists second. This is especially so when you operate in a place like Las Vegas, which a bajillion or so tourists visit on any given day.

Bright lights, Sin City.
Rainbow Six: Vegas is a realistic tactical shooter. What this means is that if you screw up, youíll die. If you fail to utilize teamwork, youíll die. If you try to run and gun your way through any stretch of a mission, youíll die. Iím sure that you get the picture Ė only sound tactics will get you through the game alive.

Your first friend is cover. Concrete blocks, walls, nooks, cars, Ö anything that you can put between your body and the enemyís bullets can save your life. The game has an excellent cover system which is relatively easy to use and will get you through a mission alive. Whenever you run up to any type of cover like the aforementioned objects, you can give the left trigger a squeeze and youíll take cover behind the object. The camera will then switch to a third person, behind-the-back view that will allow you to see where the enemies are without the need to put your body out into the open. From behind cover you can simply pull the right trigger and blind fire, or you can use the directional stick to lean around or over and take a shot. Itís quite satisfying to keep crouched down while a terrorist empties a clip into your cover and then pop-up and kill him with a quick burst when stops to reload.

Cover is good, but your best asset is your team. Youíre the team leader in the game, which means that you can order the other squad members to do the dangerous work. Giving orders is easy with the gameís context sensitive interface. Simply point at an object such as a door or wall and the A button can then be used to issue the appropriate order such as a breach and clear command. The AI of your team is excellent and they are both coldly efficient in killing terrorists and adept at not getting lost. Donít laugh, wandering or lost squadmates are the bane of many a video game squad leader, but thankfully not here.