I don’t have much to say about this one except how disappointed I was with it. First off, the graphics were pretty horrible. They looked like fuzzy, PS2-era graphics, and I’m not sure why. I’ve seen clips online in what looks like HD, so perhaps that’s the PC version; but I played on the PS3. This is a game that came out during the beginning days of the PS3’s lifespan, but still, the graphics shouldn’t look as bad as what was at the time previous-gen. Also, compare it to the very similar Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 that released about 2 months after Rainbow Six, and the differences are dramatic. I played that game a couple of years ago, and that was about what I’d been expecting from Rainbow Six— nothing spectacular, just a pretty (for its time), competent shooter.
Not only was there a substantial difference in the way the games look, there was a substantial difference in the way the games played. The gameplay was very similarly designed, with you the player heading up a small squad of soldiers that you could move around and order to operate in either a defensive (don’t shoot first) or offensive (assault everything they see) mode. One of the problems with Rainbow Six and is that the guns just weren’t as dynamic, and I never found a gun with a zoom on it. This meant that you couldn’t really snipe from a distance. You had to get close enough to your enemies to take them out from behind cover, and usually you’d only get one or two enemy soldiers down before you’d have a small swarm on you. And that made the gameplay very limited. You could go into rooms through one door while sending your soldiers through another door to overwhelm the room, but it was a rare situation that trying to take on the majority of the enemies by leading the assault yourself paid off. More often than not, the only really worthwhile tactic was to send your troops in, let them pick off several soldiers, and then head in to support them and kill the remainders. Often this meant that the better tactic even included you entering a new zone several minutes into a firefight and healing one of your AI teammates, and certainly not taking the lead yourself. Which makes for a pretty boring game, and is a very, very different experience than GRAW2. Instead of a shooter, Rainbow Six functioned best as a tactical puzzle game, with you issuing orders to AI troops.
Luckily the campaign is fairly short. I tried to get in there and do as much shooting as I could, but I did defer an awful lot to the kind of gameplay that functioned best within the game’s design. And without any kind of sniping option, my only real shooting option was usually just repetitive duck and cover. In addition, the maps aren’t big enough to allow for many tactics, which limits options even further. On top of everything else, there are simply a lot of bugs in the game. A mission near the end has the player assaulting a bunch of enemy troops invading a warehouse, and breaking the code on a fire door so that you can kill one of the main baddies in the game. Because of glitching, you can only move certain places in the warehouse or the game will think you’re in the same spot on another level of the floor and create a circumstance that makes you have to go back to a previous save. Saves are problematic as well, since you can’t save wherever you want. Save points happen automatically at certain checkpoints, and while sometimes the checkpoints make sense, other times I’d go through what I imagined were several checkpoints and then make a mistake or suffer a death due to a glitch, and find myself having to repeat a lot of either dull or annoyingly glitch-riddled gameplay. The same glitchy circumstance in that warehouse also affected certain AI that the game then confuses for you, and again the game becomes unplayable if the AI walks through certain areas of the warehouse. Additionally, the entire part of the mission was very finicky and glitchy in general. I played that part of the mission at least 50 times, growing increasingly frustrated with the game, until I learned how to tweak and finesse what I was doing so that the mission wouldn’t glitch out based on either my or the AI’s movement. And even then, once I was doing everything I could to compensate and control all movement, there was still an amount of randomness in the glitching that required me to play through that part about 10 times before I got lucky and the game didn’t glitch on me for one of several other reasons. Nothing else in Rainbow Six Vegas was as bad as this, but there were multiple other scenarios throughout where the game glitched to a lesser degree.
Substandard shooting and AI, a rather uninteresting story, no trophy support (not that I’d want it for this lackluster gameplay), an abundance of glitches, and probably the worst graphics of any game I’ve played on the system… all combine for a really lacking experience. And finally, to add insult to injury, the game has no ending and finishes with a “to be continued” leading into its sequel. I already own the sequel, so I’ll probably be playing it at some point, but I’m really hoping that it’s at least in line with Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 if not an improvement. If the quality of the sequel is as bad as this first installment, I doubt I’ll finish it, even for the trophies included with the sequel. If it weren’t for the shitty graphics, the glitching, the generic storyline, and the lack of an ending, I’d probably have rated Rainbow Six Vegas three points higher and have thought of it as a competent, moderately enjoyable shooter for its time.