Tom Clancy's Rainbow 6 Vegas originally debuted on the Xbox 360 last December. It was a huge end of the year for shooters on the Xbox 360 but Vegas still managed to stand out as one of the best. It wa a huge return to form for a series that had begun to slip into mediocrity. Here we are several months later and a PlayStation 3 version of the game has been released but is Vegas still a great title or is it pushing its lady luck?
Vegas centres around Logan Keller and his two teammates Gabriel Nowak and Kan Akahashi. Keller and his squad are on a mission in Mexico to arrest Irena Morales who is a terrorist ringleader. After being briefed by Rainbow's intelligence officer, Logan fast ropes down a helicopter but shortly after, the helicopter is attacked and Logan is seperated from his squad. You'll start off chasing a terrorist through Mexico but eventually you'll find out that the terrorist has captured two of your teammates and fled to Las Vegas. The storyline is basic but sets it up the Las Vegas location.
The PlayStation 3 version of the game isn't all that different from the Xbox 360 edition. The downloadable red and black packs released via the Xbox Live Marketplace are both in the retail PlayStation 3 version. The red pack includes two new gameplay modes, Assassination and Conquest. Three new maps are also included - Doscala Restaurant, Mashalling Yard and Roof. The black pack features five new maps - Red Lotus, Wartown, Neon Graveyard, Streets: Redux and Presidio (which was originally released in Rainbow Six 3).
Rainbow 6 Vegas is primarily a tactical first person shooter but the game also features a few new additions to the franchise. The main change is the cover system, which has been completely overhauled. The game lets you lean against walls and barricades which you'll find throughout the levels. You can take cover by pressing L1 and at this point the game will switch perspective and you'll be able to see the action from a third person perspective. Whilst you're in cover you can aim where to shoot but you can also blind fire, which is a bit more risky. The cover system isn't flawless though, occasionally you'll find objects that seem like they are able to be used for cover but ultimately aren't. Generally though the new cover system works well and the levels are designed to take advantage of the new cover system.
Majority of the time you won't be alone in Rainbow 6 Vegas. You'll also be controlling your two teammates. It's surprisingly simple to control your teammates and all you have to do is point to the area you want your teammates to move to and press X. The D pad is also used to command your teammates to stay behind you or stay where they currently are. Vegas also features Sixaxis support which feels extremely tacked on. When trying to look underneath doors to see what is happening in the room you're about to enter you need to move the Sixaxis to move the camera around. Unfortunately the controls are extremely sensitive so looking underneath doors soon becomes a chore. The health system has been overhauled, there are no health packs to be found in Vegas, as you take damage your vision begins to blur, but all you have to do is take cover for a few seconds and your health will rejuvenate. It is worth noting that the PlayStation 3 version doesn't include the face mapping feature that was present in the Xbox 360 edition, which is obviously to be expected.
The multiplayer options in Rainbow 6 Vegas are sure to impress. You can play either split screen or via the PlayStation Network. If you'd rather team up than shoot your friends then you can actually play co-op via the PlayStation Network, which is pretty impressive. Before you can jump into the online modes you'll need to create your player. The basic character customisation options are featured, such as how your face looks, your facial features and your gender. The character customisation isn't exactly deep, but it does the job. In total there are ten multiplayer options and more than ten maps. Up to fourteen players can play at once, but it is recommended only twelve players play, so things don't get too crowded. At times it took a little while for us to connect to a host and there is a little bit of lag in the games, but overall the online play is quite solid.
Graphically Rainbow 6 Vegas isn't as impressive as its older Xbox 360 cousin. The character models look very average and the game overall doesn't look as bright or impressive as the Xbox 360 edition. That isn't to say the game is an average looking title though, and Rainbow 6 Vegas still provides a few breathtaking moments. Overall, the game sounds rather similar to other first person shooters. The voice acting can become repetitive but the weapons do sound pretty impressive.
The single player campaign in Vegas isn't all that lengthy and the fact that your health rejuvenates means that as long as you learn to take cover you'll be able to breeze through the single player campaign in under ten hours. However, the realistic mode is a big challenge and is enough of a reason to play through the game again. Vegas is also a lot of fun in multiplayer and with such an incredible amount of multiplayer content Vegas is definitely a title you'll come back to.
The PlayStation 3 version of Rainbow 6 Vegas may be coming out a little bit later but thankfully the game is just as appealing now as it was last year. The PlayStation 3 version doesn't include the face mapping feature of the Xbox 360 edition and the graphics are a little bit less impressive but with a brilliant cover system and unprecedented multiplayer options Rainbow 6 Vegas sets a new benchmark for first person tactical shooters.