Headshots and Flashbangs
June 26, 2007 – Are you looking for a shooter that’s more than just run and gun? Do you long for ultra realism? How about squeezing off a double tap into the brain of a terrorist while suspended upside-down from a rappelling rope? Do you get giddy at the hollow, suppressed thud of a well-silenced weapon? Maybe you like to give orders and death commands to well-trained assassins in the name of liberty? If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, then Rainbow Six: Vegas for the PS3 will be perfect for you.
For those of you who have not picked up the game for your 360, or for those Sony fanboys out there that refuse to succumb to the evil empire, Rainbow Six: Vegas will have you begin the game playing as Logan Keller, squad leader of the clandestine Team Rainbow. Your goal is to thwart the best laid plans of one Irena Morales. Irena is the leader of a well-organized gang of smugglers based in San Joshua del Mosquiera, Mexico. You will first try and root her out south of the border, but will have to back pedal a bit and challenge her in the city of lights – no, not Paris – Vegas, baby, Vegas!
The story is interesting, but not fabulous. It is sufficiently well-devised, however; that you will find yourself eager to keep playing just to find out what happens next. This really helps the game produce a sense of accomplishment. Especially, because this is a very difficult game even when normal difficulty has been selected. If you’re a masochist or just want to find out what urban warfare’s really like, up the ante and go for the realistic setting. Don’t peek your head around a corner though, because you’re going to get it shot off.
To guard against such a horrible tragedy, Ubisoft Montreal has outfitted you with a host of weapons and armor, as well as fellow combatants that will obey your every command. The weapons you have to choose from are both lethal and realistic. They look like the real thing, they sound like the real thing, and heck, they even load like the real thing. My suggestion would be to play around with the weapons in the beginning of the game and find out which work best for you. You will be allowed to customize each weapon you carry in order to come up with perfect combo of lethality. My personal favorite armament selection is a silenced 552 Commando with laser scoping, accompanied by an MP5N submachine gun, flashbangs, and frag grenades. This combo is accurate, and allows me to fight in close quarters, at a distance, and in hostage situations.
You’ll love your teammates and the control you have over them. They are not useless by any means. If you analyze each situation correctly and issue the proper orders, the bad guys don’t have a chance. For example, say you come upon a room with two closed doors. Tell your boys to prepare for entry while you cruise to the flank and scope out the room. You’ll then use your snake cam and see where the targets are. You can then set which targets have priority, and then have your boys chuck in a flashbang, take out the tangos, and secure the hostages in less than two seconds. By the way, did I mention this game is realistic? You will feel as if you are Logan Keller, leader of a covert government hit squad. The command controls are very easy to use. Depending on what you have told your squad members to prepare for, you will have a number of command options mapped to the D-pad. To expound upon the previous example, you can tell your boys to enter the room with guns blazing, with a flashbang to stun, or a frag grenade to clear out a hostage free room. This is a tactical, squad-based shooter that will have you scratching your head and laughing with joy. It is very easy to control and play, but difficult to master. You will find yourself dying frequently, and having to restart from the last checkpoint until you find a tactically sound solution.
If you think you can just move around like Schwarzenegger and miraculously come out unscathed while taking out 25 terrorists, you’re sorely mistaken. If that’s the kind of shooter you’re looking for, then you will be frustrated. This game requires patience and calculated maneuvers. In order to help you remain stealthy, and keep your gray matter in tact, Ubisoft Montreal has developed a system for cover use that makes “Gears” jealous. It is an absolutely dynamite control scheme, and is the kind of thing that will be standard issue for all FPS games in the future. Like Gears of War, you will be able to use available cover by holding down on a button (the button varies depending on what button mapping you choose). You will then be taken to a 3rd person view. You can choose to fire blindly without any risk, but also without any accuracy, or you can set your virtual crosshairs on the tango, tap your analog stick, pop out from behind the wall, send the bullet flying toward your enemy’s cranium, and hop back into cover all before the tango hits the floor. The execution is silky smooth and oh so lethal.
If you don’t use cover appropriately, you’re going to die…a lot! That’s because the game is based heavily on realism. You can’t just run out into the open and cross your fingers. Luckily for you, if you do get over-anxious and throw caution to the wind, with enough time you will regenerate your health. Your vision will blur and your movement will slow when you take fire, but you will be able to find cover and quickly heal as good as new. If you’re unlucky enough to get hit squarely with a headshot then there is no coming back, and the screen will turn a bloody red, demarcating your untimely, yet well-deserved demise.