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    Rainbow Six Vegas for Microsoft Xbox 360

    Rainbow Six Vegas borrows a lot from Tom Clancy's other hit war game for the Xbox360, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. The story is no longer told through cutscenes, it is instead told through the gameplay and headset feeds much like Advanced Warfighter. Also, the squad commands borrow a lot from the successes of the directional pad-issued system from GRAW. However, Rainbow Six is much more realistic, with more modern weapons and set primarily in a not-too distant future liberating a terrorist-held Las Vegas.

    The story, as is the case with most Tom Clancy game plots, is very intense. You are the newly appointed leader of your squad, and your first mission is to liberate some hostages from a trainyard in a border town just inside of Mexico. A few spectacular explosions later and you are extracted from the resulting pile of rubble with your comrades missing in action. You must meet up with a new team to save Las Vegas from a terrorist attack, and in the process do all you can to save your captured comrades. As always, a beautifully rich and detailed story with gripping suspense and plenty of tactical bloodshed. As in GRAW, it is best to take the game slowly and secure each area before moving on. Running through the levels firing at everything that moves will get you killed over and over, trust me. It took me forever to slow down to a pace that didn't kill me every minute or so. For creating a very realistic scenario for a squad trained in the impossible, this game deserves an 8.

    This game is a first person shooter, which normally doesn't feel right for me. However, this game allows for third person views when you peek around corners to precision fire at enemies, and provides enough squadmate coverage to make it something I can get used to easily. The Y button switches weapons for you, and the right bumper changes your view, allowing you to see with different goggles to filter out smoke and dust to keep hammering at the enemies who are surprised to see a plume of smoke come from nowhere. The AI in this game is very quick, and tricks like that wear off very fast. You have to stay moving and on the alert to avoid the enemy flanking you before you know what hits you. Another added benefit is the ability to fit a snake cam under doors to help you pick the right moment to infiltrate. Such as the moment a guard turns his back on the doorway. If you use everything at your disposal, you will quickly get used to the game's control system, even if it is just a little bit complicated. For producing a control setup that allows for combinations of skills to be put together to take an enemy out and coordinate multiple entries into a room effortlessly, Rainbow Six Vegas gets a strong 8.5 out of 10.

    Graphics come easily to this Ubisoft game. The multitude of weapons and maps are incredibly detailed. Windows on cars can be blown out to provide lines of site to hit the enemy, and windows in buildings can be blown out for alternate intrusion possibilities. That takes a fine attention to detail, and this game does it all effortlessly. The only thing I have to complain about is an easy fix. For the helicopter briefings, the cityscape should be more detailed. It's nothing more than a stubborn refusal to admit how fun the game is, and the fact that this is my only option to do so should clue you in to how well this game is made. Talking to people who have been in these sorts of urban firefights, it apparently doesn't get any closer to the real thing until bullets start flying at you from all around. For capturing reality well enough that real infantrymen tell me how much it reminds them of work, Rainbow Six Vegas gets a 9.5 out of 10.

    Sound is almost always good in Tom Clancy's games. Vegas proves no exception. The background music is full of slow drums and bass lines, interestingly slow music. There are also screams of hostages begging to be saved, terrorists talking loudly in different rooms to let you know there are people inside. The kinds of things you would expect a highly trained special forces soldier to pick up on. That kind of realism and focus for a game doesn't come often in the games of lesser quality. I'll give Vegas a strong 8.5 for sound.

    Overall, Vegas holds up very well despite being a first-person shooter, which I normally tend to stay away from. The game is fun, it's exciting, and has a ton of options to keep someone busy for a long time. Especially if you get involved in an online multiplayer game. Those can take a long time to complete, with everyone outflanking each other. It's the biggest reason to own this game, really. Don't rent, buy this game and start having fun now. A strong 9 game like this can't be enjoyed to its full potential in just a few days.

    Written by MT

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