By Roger Gude
Ca-chink. My weapons loaded, my hearts racing, and I'm hastily following my teammates. We make our way up the stairs, and through a narrow corridor. My team then splits off into different directions. Suddenly — Bam! I’m hit. Dead. Now I have to wait 20 minutes, or wait for either of the teams to get completely wiped out. Great, I’m sure my team likes having me on board.
Rainbow Six: Vegas, the next installment in the compelling Tom Clancy Rainbow Six franchise, pits players in the boots of Logan Keller. As the newly appointed leader of his three man team, Logan must quickly learn what it takes to be an effective leader in combat.
In a good move, Developer Ubisoft Montreal, took their queues from previous Tactical Shooters like GRAW, and incorporated them into Rainbow Six: Vegas smoothly. Having Logan tell his squad mates to move up to a bit of cover, is about as boring as it was in GRAW. However, R6: V does more. Now, instead of just having your team be your back up, they can actually clear a room all by themselves. How do I know this? Well, let’s just say, “I didn’t know what I was doing.”
After a brief tutorial, explaining how to control my squad mates as well as myself, I found myself spending more time using the “Snake Cam” at every door, then I did actually blasting people away for the first few levels. The Snake Cam, allows the player to slide a camera under the door, which then allows the player to assign targets for their squad mates to eliminate once they breach the door. This does a lot in terms of comfort. No longer do I have to run blindly into a room going “Guns Blaze.” Instead, I can handle all of the enemies with a few quick taps of a button.
The cover system in R6: V is often debated when compared to Gears of War. In Gears, a simple tap of the A button would allow for a player to pin up against a wall. In R6: V, in order to post up onto a wall, you have to press and hold the L trigger. This allows for more versatility on the wall. You no longer get stuck on a wall, instead you can enter and leave at your will. As good as this cover system is, it’s not fair to compare it to Gears of War. Gears and R6: V are two completely different games. Gears is fast paced, while R6: V is much slower. Slower isn’t a bad thing, but I guarantee Gears wouldn’t be as fast paced if the L trigger was the cover system, instead of tapping A.
The pacing in the single player campaign is great. You definitely find yourself being forced to improve, due to the difficulty of the levels. From a nasty little stand off of three on three, to an all out fight for survival with — lets say forty on three, your heart will be racing.
Without a friend to run through the single player co-operatively, you’ll still find those annoying AI bugs. From your teammates blocking a door, to dying due to your teammate posting up on the wall you wanted to post up on. However, the AI is much improved from other shooters. The enemy will flank you, they’ll have one man cover everyone while the rest move up. Shot gunners will come in close, while riflemen will stand at a distance. The on-the-spot strategy is a must. Only rarely, after about four strait hours of gaming, would I go all out, and see if BY CHANCE I could actually win the fight by running around all Halo-esque.
The long lasting appeal of a tactical shooter in general is the multiplayer. P.E.C., also known as Persistent Elite Creations, is your muse for multiplayer. Upon selecting X-box Live, you’ll be prompted with a screen describing P.E.C.’s. P.E.C.’s, are entirely customizable. Selecting a gender, face, and all different types of clothing accessories, will add to the connection between you, and your character. You’ll find yourself coming back to this screen every couple matches to change something about your outfit. From tank tops, to only having armor on the left side of your body, there is a lot you can do.
With each piece of armor equipped, there are two bars that show you the amount of protection you have, and your mobility. A lot of mobility, means you lack protection, therefore you’ll most likely die in about two hits. While having a lot of protection means you’ll be a turtle who can take some hits. It’s nice to find a balance. Also, each round you play, grants your P.E.C., a certain amount of points. These points are given to you whether you win or lose, and allow you to upgrade your rank. From going to a Private First Class, to just a Private, other clothing options, as well as weapons become available to you.
At times playing this FPS is almost like playing a RPG. Gaining experience grants you access to better weapons and armor, just like leveling up in an RPG gives you more power/spells/ stats. If you own a X-Box Webcam, then you will be able to take a picture of your face, and scan it onto your model. An interesting feature. It’s nice to play with friends, knowing them by their face instead of just their name.
As well as having a P.E.C, there are eight multi-player modes. From the, “1 life 1 round” survival matches, to participating in a Co-op terrorist hunt, there are a lot of options. Survival, as mentioned above, is one of the most nerve-wrecking scenarios you can play. You don’t want to die, especially when you have to wait roughly 10 minutes before the round ends. Therefore, being in any fire fight forces you to think twice about popping your head out to aim. Sharpshooter is your standard FPS rule. Allowing for the player to re spawn every eight seconds or so, and the other rules are pretty self explanatory.
If you aren’t a fan of tactical shooters, then steer clear of Rainbow Six: Vegas. With a compelling offline story, fun co-op, and an addictive online multiplayer, it would be hard not to like this game. I often find myself playing online to increase in rank so I could unlock new types of armor and weapons, just to enjoy all of the options. Overall, this is a great game that shouldn’t be overlooked.