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"Rainbow Six: Vegas"

2/27/07

Even though there have been a dozen iterations of Tom Clancy games in the "Ghost Recon" and "Rainbow Six" franchises, I am now on my very first one: "Rainbow Six: Vegas" for the Xbox 360.  And, I must say--I will certainly buy more of these puppies going forward, because I think I now own my favorite game on the system.

"Vegas" lets you command a Rainbow Six operative (I can't really tell if I'm working as a SEAL, or a Special Forces guy, or a Delta Force guy...it doesn't really matter in the scheme of things) as he goes after a Mexican terrorist bent on world domination.  Along with two teammates, you take your three-man squad from the streets of a Mexican village for two missions before you head to Las Vegas for the rest of the game, after this terrorist takes her gun-happy, well-funded enterprise to Vegas to take over the Strip and run her operations from there.  Using weapons from either your main load or from the hands of dead bad guys, you move through a number of scenarios to rescue hostages and eliminate threats while taking cover and using the strategy of running your team to outflank Joe Bad Guy.

The cover system in "Vegas" is slightly better than the one in "Gears of War" in terms of functionality; it also just looks really cool, as you take cover with one button and can peer over and around it to blind fire or aim at bad guys while popping in and out of cover.  Like "Gears", you basically have to use cover to your advantage in "Vegas"; running around shooting bad guys in the open will get you killed often, even on the Normal difficulty setting.  (My co-worker Javier told me soon after I got the game never to play it on Realistic; we're talking take-a-bullet-to-the-shoulder-and-you-are-a-dead-man hard.)  The difficulty is good on Normal because you'll die a fair amount, but once you figure out how to properly flank the bad guys, the game has a nice satisfactory feel of things; you might find yourself saying "Yeah, Mexican terrorists...you probably didn't see my boys popping your snipers from that office in the northeast corner while I was laying down a suppressing fire with my light machine gun on your henchmen on the first floor...bitch" quite a bit.  (At least, I was.)  Also, for maybe the first time in gaming history, your computer-controlled teammates are quite useful for clearing rooms, killing bad guys and helping you out; in other words, rarely will you die because your teammates blew it, but you will die often if you point your teammates in the wrong direction.

Multiplayer is even better than the single player campaign; there are ten maps that are just the right size for team or individual play, and with a mix of kill-the-other-team, CTF (capture the flag, which in "Vegas" is "capture the other team's radioactive canisters"), attack-and-defend and elimination modes, you will have plenty to do.  A ranking system allows for you to unlock goodies for your online persona while steadily increasing in rank; you can also design your character down to the face paint they wear in battle and the color of their bandanas, type of camo and body armor weight.  Highly customizable, to say the least.  And, there's a new map pack about a month away, which will add some maps plus two new modes of play, including a VIP mode where one guy on the team is a non-soldier type who must be escorted to a safe zone while under fire by the other team.

I have already logged two eight-hour, go-to-bed-at-4-AM sessions during the work week; I've got to get this puppy out of my system!!

Rating:  Opening Weekend

 

Feedback?  Comments?  Salma Hayek's digits?  justin@bellviewmovies.com

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  Buy this game right away, and don't ask me any questions as to why that's a good move.  A game experience that will almost guarantee repeated controller abuse, lots of ManScreaming and high resale value, you will assuredly play this bad boy for months on end. 

"$40":  Usually after games have been out for a while, they drop in price slightly, or can be bought for slightly cheaper in combination with other new games.  Usually, that's about $40.  You'll feel good getting the game for this price, since it isn't quite run-out-and-get-it-right-now good, but it has enough game in the box for a few weeks' worth of enjoyment.

"eBay":  This game is not too bad, but you'd be better off buying it used from either half.com or eBay.  You also might let a friend buy this game, let s/he beat it, and then try to buy it from them to make them feel better.  Yes, this does tend to feel like "Sloppy Seconds."

"Rental":  Like my cousin Ron, you should always rent games that you aren't sure about first, to make sure that your $50 is going towards something worthwhile.  For games in this category, this is the maximum amount of money ($5) and/or time (3-5 days) you'll need to either gain satisfaction from the game, or beat the game in its entirety.  Rental-rated games are also sometimes perfect for a weekend when you are going to be at home on your ass, with some time to kill.

"Dogshit":  Games like this should have never been released.  If you play this game for any reason, you will regret every second of the experience.  Further, if you can get this game for free, don't do it, because even for FREE, it will still be a negative experience for you!

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09