It’s been ten years since the original Rainbow Six started the whole Tom Clancy videogame thing. I fell in love with the series with the sequel Rogue Spear and gave up on it when the series leaped to consoles, not too successfully in my opinion. I never played more than the demo of the first Vegas title, so this is a return to the series for me. Based on the first mission, it’s surprisingly good.
It looks pretty enough, with convincing animation and attention to detail, although the first stage is so bland it could be in an original Xbox title. If you have boring level geometry, you should make up for it with textures or something, people. Especially considering that I was expecting to get to vibrant Vegas, it’s not an ideal setup for the rest of the game. I applaud the IR goggles’ heat vision effect – the cool fisheye distrotion is so disorienting it really makes you use the goggles as little as possible, which is good in my opinion.
Leading the team is easy and fluid. They seem competent enough, although the enemies don’t really feel like live targets.
There are two elements which really make me want to continue the game. First is the personalization. You can outfit your character any way you like, stocking up on the heavy guns and armor right from the get-go if you feel like it. What sets this apart is the amount of customization you have – you can select from all sorts of attachments and paintjobs to make your avatar your own. As an example, you may opt to only wear parts of your armor, and mix and max different grades of armor.
Of course there’s plenty to unlock, as well, which segues into the experience system. You get experience points for playing in different styles (close quarters battle, assault, infiltration), and these unlock more gear for you. This doesn’t mean that the starting equipment is less than what you’d expect from an anti-terror strikeforce, either. Experience systems have been around before, but I like the way this is setup to encourage different approaches to play.