Release Date: June 26, 2007 (PS3)
Systems: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Metacrtic Score: 86
“Rainbow Six: Vegas” is a game that is so close to being good that it’s almost depressing to learn that it’s really not. There’s enough fun to be had to where I can’t say it’s awful, but through out the game it was always clear just how much better it could have been.
I’ve accused more than a few game story’s of being little more than set dressing for the game play, but compared to this mess they all look like lost works of Shakespeare. I mean honestly, the only way the game story could be any worse is if it was aiming to be offensive. The only way I could think any less of this story was if it was more akin to “Zog’s Nightmare” (please, don’t look this game up. It is pure racist hate and neither it nor it’s creators deserves any web traffic.). But as it is, the story of the game is just stupid, and worse, it thinks you are too.
The game starts with you in either New Mexico, or the Mexican border. Normally when I cant remember plot details like this, i’d check the games Wikipedia page, but that would be acting like me or you will actually care about anything the story will have to offer, and you wont. Anyways, you are sent in to arrest a woman named Irena Morales for the crime of…being the bad guy. Honestly, I don’t remember why you are after her other than she’s a terrorist ring leader. To make a stupidly long story short, she gets away, and captures the two men you came in with. Instead of going after them, instead of trying to rescue your teammates and bring down the terrorist leader, you are then deployed to Las Vegas were all hell is breaking lose.
Here we come to my first major criticism with the games story: all hell is breaking lose, is a major America city, home of nearly 600,000 people, as well as being a major financial center, yet you never see any police or military. Every now and again you are told that a S.W.A.T. team is waiting in the wings, but apparently nothing is happening that a three man team can’t handle. Let me repeat that for emphasis: a full scale terrorist invasion of a Major American City can be stopped by three people. On top of that just being stupid, we learn latter on that the point of this invasion was to draw the military away from the real target. That means that 2010’s (that’s when the game takes place) military consists of one three man Rainbow team and a few S.W.A.T. units.
What’s worse is that that admittedly kind of interesting twist isn’t revealed until the last mission of the game. That mean that the plot of the game only becomes important for the last hour or so. And then the game has the balls to end on a cliff hanger.
The presentation is also another annoyance. Every mission start in the exact same way: you get on a helicopter (this is at the end is each mission), then you are briefed on what’s about to happen, the you fast rope out of the copter. The only variations on this is the very first mission, as you are already on your way to the mission, and the very last, where the copter is downed before you can get on. Then the game cuts to black.
I paid about 5 bucks for this game, and honestly, I think I paid too much. And I can only apologize for anyone who paid the full retail price for this. And Ubisoft should be ashamed of themselves, charging $60 for what is basically no more than an Act 1, then another $60 for the sequel nearly two years latter. As seeing that the people behind the “Modern Warfare” games have literally reused cut scenes (although they were reskined) I can’t say that this is the laziest story i’ve ever played through, but it’s right the hell up there.
Here things get better, but that only makes the flaws and missteps that much more obvious. The game calls itself a “tactical shooter” and the first thing i’d like to ask is: what makes a game “tactical”. I’ve played a few “tactical” games (“S.O.C.O.M.”, “Speck Ops: The Line”, ect) and they all play somewhat similarly: you have two buddy’s that you can order around, but there aren’t that many options or “tactics”. Here the only real tactic I ever used was to have my team stack up on a door then clear the room. I found that to be a rather useful, if I made sure to tag targets using the snake cam first. When I did, my team took out full rooms with little effort. But every time I didn’t each encounter turned into a full scale battle. This includes times when there were only two people clearly in sight on the other side of the door.
But talking about the snake came leads me to one of the main frustration with the game play. Most of the “tactical” options were all mapped to the X button, leading to a lot of frustrating mishaps. For example, with the snake cams that allow you to see the other side of the door: you use this by going up to a door, looking at the bottom and hitting “X”. But if you are looking even slightly higher than you are meant too, you will simply open the door. And if you are even a little too far away, you will tell you teammates to stack up on the door and get ready to clear. You also use the “X” button to tell your team where to go in order to find cover. The entire time I was playing, I couldn’t help but remember the “Splinter Cell” games. There, when you went up to a door, you’d hold the “X” button and a menu would come up, allowing you to decide then “do I want to open this door or use my snake cam?”. As these are both made by Ubisoft, there’s really no excuse to not use what is known to be a better system.
The Lack of a proper tutorial also doesn’t help. I played through almost the entire first mission in being either almost blind or seeing only in heat vision before I learned how to change into nigh vision goggles. But that wouldn’t have been so bad if I could up the brightness, right?WRONG. That’s not an option. Or if there is, the game never tells you how.
But with all that said, I can’t say I didn’t have fun. When everything feel into place, when I was acting as “tactically” as I could, I was having a lot of fun. Once I figured out how to change all my equipment and how to get into cover and basically how to play the game (again, a better tutorial would have made this game much better) I was having fun. And like I said at the start of this section, the amount of fun I was having is partially what made the flaws seem so much worse. It was always on my mind just how easy it would have been to fix most of the issues, but nothing really stomped me from being able to over look those issues as well.
Game Play: 3/5
Music and Sound:
This is a seventh generation modern war shooter. It sounds just like you are expecting. But Ubisoft was determined to make their game stand out, so they added one unique element: irredeemable bad voice acting. It doesn’t help that the voice actors have nothing to work with here, but bad is bad and this is about as bad as it gets. However, I didn’t notice many obviously foreign accents, so you could make the case that this is the least raciest modern military shooter. But, that’s really the least we can ask for, so I can’t really give the game too much credit for that.
Music and Sound: 1.5/5
Overall Score: 1.8/5
Who is this game for:
For people who want a tactical shooter, but don’t want to deal with the emotional punch in the gut that is “Speck Ops: The Line” or who don’t want the fun of the original “Splinter Cell” trilogy.