People keep banging on about how the PS3 launch game is a return to the highly tactical, slow-paced Rainbow Six games of old, but this PSP version refuses to play ball and stubbornly continues where Lockdown's more arcadey leanings left off on PS2. Maybe it's the handheld's limited capacity or its button layout restrictions, but Rainbow Six Vegas is one arduous shooting gallery of a game.
There aren't any tactical planning options or squad-based shenanigans that would have brought some much- needed depth; instead you take control of new ops Brian Armstrong and Shawn Rivers, alternating between the two at fixed points in each mission when one needs the other's help to progress.
Usually this assistance means opening doors remotely, but occasionally you'll give more direct help by picking off snipers and covering your team-mate's or a hostage's movements as they take fire. The constant switching works well enough, but it doesn't make the game any less straight forward or bland.
Yes, bland. Considering you're supposed to be in the bright lights of Vegas where the only time people stop gambling, drinking and partying is when they pass out in their own puke, why does everything look so drab and lifeless? Every level seems to take place in the same grey corridors and dull warehouses, and bar the odd hostage there aren't even any civilians wandering around, which would have given you something to worry about. We know that the PS3 version goes inside packed casinos so the blandness is a bit of a let down on PSP.
HOLD TIGHT AND WAIT
Taking down the terrorists is a test of patience rather than skill. Any object can be used as cover, and much like Miami Vice The Game the idea is that you wait with your back up against something until an enemy shows himself before stepping out to pop him in the head. Enemies will always grow impatient and make the first move away from safety too, so you never have to break from your own cover to avoid a shootout stalemate. As if you needed any more help, you can lock on to a terrorist by pressing L and then get a more precise lock on to the head by hitting Triangle. It looks pretty slick and it's very satisfying when you spin out, cap an enemy and return to cover all in one move - it's just a pity that's all there is to do for the entire single- player game.
Later missions do up the difficulty quite considerably though, and since objectives are divided into short sections designed for on-the-go gaming, it's back to the start for you if you bollocks things up rather than being bailed out by a nearby checkpoint save. The balance is about right to stop things getting too frustrating. As long as you stick to cover and bide your time, you won't have too many problems anyway.
Your reward for completing story missions is unlocking the throwaway Terrorist Hunt mode, which is basically just like normal missions but without cut-scenes breaking things up. Survival and Team Survival modes are the sole multiplayer offerings, but the good news is you can play them online. The extras are still a bit half-hearted overall, though.
Ultimately, Rainbow Six Vegas is a bland, ugly and dreary game - which goes against everything you're used to after playing the series on PS2. There's a certain compulsive quality to sniping but after a couple of levels, you'll develop a strange sense of deja vu and wish you were playing a better shooter.
Loses all the excitement of the series despite being set in the most exciting place ever.
- Sniping enemies is satisfying
- Bite-sized missions
- Everything is just so bland
- Gets repetitive very quickly