Rainbow 6 Vegas 2 (2008)
Platform Played: PC
Price $9.99 on Steam
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
[Save your time and skip to the end if you want to see my main point]
Background: Rainbow Six (1998) was a superb book. Tom Clancy was superb author until he decided to own a football team, but that is neither here nor there. We’re talking about the franchise and the property. Not his personal choices as a celebrity author. Frankly, I adored the novel. And the computer and console games that followed. This is my second play through of the game. The first time I played through this game was on my Xbox 360. Playing this game on pc was a trip back on memory lane. The story is rather forgettable in regards to this installment, but if you are curious about that visit here.
Gameplay: The developers have really engineered a pleasant and action packed single-player experience. The player commands two other Rainbow commandos in the counter-terrorist unit. The player can command them to use infiltration tactics (suppressors, flashbangs, etc..) when this is necessary. Or the player can command them to ‘go loud’ by using assault tactics (breaching charges, fragmentation grenades, or merely open a doorway to clear a room. The player can tag enemies to be eliminated through the use of a fibrescope (snake cam) slid underneath doorways to be an extra set of eyes for the commandos he or she leads. Yes, you can choose your gender in game.
The player can also order the commandos to hack computers or diffuse bombs. Although, in regards to the computers it appeared they were just using them, rather than hacking them. The player and the team can rappel, fast rope, climb ladders or low walls, and employ earlier mentioned methods of entry to carry out classic ‘Rainbow Six Objectives.’ These are but not limited to: rescuing hostages, infiltrating industrial facilities, capturing subjects, diffusing bombs, etc… Classic Rainbow Six, right? With the above, yes. With the following, not really. But this is still a good one.
Roleplaying mechanics are introduced. Experience points are rewarded by how terrorists are incapacitated. Consult the wikipedia article if you are interested in learning more about this as in the interest of time, I’d just as soon not explain. These experience points unlock equipment for the player’s use. Body armor, weaponry, and uniform items are unlocked through this process. This makes it starkly different from prior installments in the series. The roleplaying mechanics also give this game a distinctly ‘arcade’ feel rather than a tactical one like the earlier games.
The equipment ‘crates’ throughout levels certainly change things too. You can switch out your MP5 for a SCAR or a TAVOR for a Raging Bull. This is a departure from the more tactical games in the series. Again, this provides a more generic FPS feel than a Rainbow Six feel.
Atmosphere: I have never been to Las Vegas. This city is on my list of travel destinations though. I’m not a gambler, but I would adore going to Battlefield Vegas, and that one place on the history channel. All in all, the level design ranging from the airport, the convention center, to the casinos has a starkly different feel than other games in the series. The player will find themselves taking cover behind slot machines and bars rather than low walls and other bland fixtures. This is a Rainbow Six game for people who aren’t really fans of tactical shooters.
Final Analysis: To the best of my knowledge this is the last Rainbow Six installment to have a single player campaign. This is shameful. People agree with me. Yeah, yeah, I get it. I realize that multiplayer gaming is becoming the central focus of gaming as a whole now. I miss the 90s and the early 2000s when multiplayer was just the added bonus. The side dish, the chaser, rather than the sole selling point of a game.
When I first played the Rainbow Six series, I am sure some readers will share my memory of storming the strongpoints of the eco-terrorists on the N64 port of the original game. This was a single-player experience. Earlier, I reviewed Jedi Knight and Dark Forces, those games have some of the best single-player campaigns ever devised. Those games were great with or without multiplayer.
Are developers and publishers forgetting that some of us play computer games to get away from people and just blow off steam? Or are the gamers of this generation changing the industry to the point of where single-player gaming is becoming a distant memory? The answer unfortunately is that the campaign in gaming is becoming a piece of ancient history and no more a common sight in AAA gaming. Perhaps one day this will change? Or maybe people in the AAA gaming industry believe that multiplayer is all that matters? I love this spoof. It says all that I believe when it comes to multiplayer gaming.
Play Rainbow Six Vegas 2. This is a good game, with ample challenges, and you’ll go back to it as I have. If you enjoyed the days of single-player gaming without the multiplayer hype, leave a comment.