Rainbow Six Vegas Single-Player Preview - Rumble in Sin City

A terrorist threat has Las Vegas in its grips, but Team Rainbow is on the case in our exclusive look at the next-generation single-player game in the fifth Rainbow Six.

What happens in Vegas will make international headlines in the upcoming fifth installment of Tom Clancy's popular tactical shooter series Rainbow Six, slated to hit next-gen platforms in November. The stripped-down, back-to-basics game is currently in the final stages of development at Ubisoft's Montreal studio, and it will see you leading the crack operatives of Team Rainbow against a well-equipped terrorist force that has barricaded itself and some high-profile hostages inside a series of (fictional) Las Vegas casinos. It's important to note that no real-life casinos will be harmed during the playing of this game--but after getting a solid look at Rainbow Six Vegas' single-player component, we can say that won't be from a lack of heavy action and general mayhem, which you can see for yourself in a pile of new high-def gameplay movies.

At the core of the development team's efforts to revise Rainbow Six is a smaller and more efficient R6 crew composed of entirely new faces. This time out, you'll take control of a three-man team led by your character, all-around tough guy Logan Keller. Demolitions tech Mike Walter and recon expert Jung Park will round out the trio, and you'll be supported by your eye-in-the-sky information officer Joanna Torres, who's hovering in a chopper over Las Vegas as you carry out your mission on the ground. Longtime Rainbow Six fans wondering about the absence of original protagonist Ding Chavez will also be heartened to know that he's climbed the ladder and is now in charge of the entire Team Rainbow operation.

The team in Montreal desired to make Vegas the most immediately engaging, accessible Rainbow Six game yet--no small task, since this has traditionally been one of the more densely tactical and realistic shooters on the market. One of the new ways the game will grab you is through a streamlined narrative technique whereby the storyline and contextual information will all be embedded within the action of each mission. No more stuffy, text-based mission briefings or incongruous CG sequences between missions--this time, the storyline will play out entirely before your eyes, theoretically making it easier to absorb.

In place of those antiquated plot devices, the game will use more modern methods of moving the story along. The designers have taken a cue from one of their primary inspirations, the TV series 24, with a new picture-in-picture video display that will pop up at key moments in your mission. At times you'll receive briefings from Joanna Torres in this video window, while at other times you'll get a television news feed relaying the current events of the crisis as the world is viewing them.

You'll also find more scripted dramatic sequences within missions than in past games. At the end of our demo, we found a group of terrorists with a video camera, threatening to kill a hostage live on the air. We pulled off the ol' breach-and-clear with characteristic efficiency, preventing the hostage's death. But in the midst of conversing with her, a frantic message came in from Torres warning us that a large number of enemies were inbound...right before they all started descending from the skylight in a haze of gunfire, ending our demo.

The new third-person cover system makes it easier to return fire to the bad guys from relative safety.

In another nod to 24, all of Vegas will take place during the course of a single day. Past Rainbow Six games have given you one disjointed, self-contained mission after another, each taking place in a different location--but Vegas will present a more logical, cohesive mission progression based on the events of the storyline. That means you'll move naturally from one environment to the next based on the events that are happening to you at the moment, receiving updated instructions and objectives as the situation develops. The developers also claim you won't just be shooting through one row of slot machines after another. While much of the action will take place within the casinos themselves, you'll also fight through back rooms, kitchens, and other behind-the-scenes areas of the Vegas locale.

Once you're on the ground in Las Vegas, you'll find this installment plays a lot like its predecessors--at least, at first glance. As per the series' unflinching focus on tactical realism over run-and-gun bravado, you'll have to stick behind cover and carefully plan out your team's next moves before jumping into a firefight. As usual, one wayward shot to the head and you'll be reloading the last checkpoint. But the designers have added some new features to aid and streamline your strategizing, while simultaneously giving Vegas a more immediate, action-oriented feel that should appeal to those who were previously squeamish about Rainbow Six's realistic nature.

Past games in the series had you locked to a first-person perspective, which made it a bit awkward to peek around corners and pop off potshots at enemies who are themselves using cover. But in Vegas, taking cover has become more automated and subsequently easier to perform under pressure. You can walk up to any wall or barrier and hold the L trigger, which will immediately make you back up against the wall while the camera pulls out to a third-person perspective. Then you can move in the appropriate direction to lean around or over top of the cover to aim shots. Or, you can simply blindly fire around the corner, which keeps you more protected but is naturally far less accurate. We got used to this new feature very quickly and found it gave the firefights we played a quicker pace and a more movielike quality, in addition to making it easier to take out the bad guys from relative safety.

You'll find the new snake-cam a valuable tool for prioritizing targets before you issue the open-and-clear order.

The designers will also let you get all Sam Fisher in Vegas with a "snake-cam" that's basically identical to the optical, under-the-door camera seen in Splinter Cell. This comes in handy for spying on the tangos that await you in the next room, especially when used in conjunction with Vegas' new enemy-tagging system. When you've got a view of unsuspecting foes in the next area, you can tag up to two of them to give Walter and Park an attack order of priority. Flag one tango as target one and another as target two, and when you give the open-and-clear order, your team will focus on those targets first. More than once in the single-player demo we played, our squad was so efficient that they took out not only the two tagged targets but also all the other enemies in the room before we had a chance to properly attack, ourselves.

As if Sam Fisher weren't enough, you can also emulate Spider-Man to an extent with the new rappelling feature, which will let you hook a rope to the appropriate harness and descend slowly downward to spy and eventually gain entry through an outside window. You can even flip yourself upside down for a measure of extra cover and a less-obstructed shot at any enemies who may be hiding inside. You can imagine the possibilities for using these new tools in tandem. At one point, we used the inverted rappel maneuver to descend the side of a building and spot three tangos on a lower floor. We then tagged two of the enemies and gave the breach order to our team at the exact same time that we squeezed a round into the back of the middle terrorist's head. By the time we swung ourselves in through the broken window, Walter and Park had cleanly dealt with the other two tangos, letting us proceed unhindered.

Though we only got to play firsthand a segment of one mission from the final game, Vegas' designers promise that you'll see a logical progression in the skill and threat of the terrorists who've overtaken the Strip. Enemies at the outset will be merely grunt level, but later you'll find better-outfitted and more-skilled troops, culminating in a set of enemies who (almost) rival the skill of Team Rainbow itself. As mentioned, this chaos will play out against a series of fictionalized Vegas backdrops, including Mayan- and Asian-themed casinos, not to mention Fremont Street (OK, so they're not all made up). The mission we played was set in an unfinished, hellish structure called Dante's Casino, so we had lots of firefights amidst scaffolding and construction areas to deal with here.

Keep your eyes here for a report on Rainbow Six Vegas' multiplayer modes in two weeks.

As one of the first games to ship based on the third-generation Unreal Engine, Vegas is naturally looking pretty fab. The character models and environments are as detailed as you'd expect--you'll see Keller giving hand signals or voice commands when you perform them in third-person, for instance, and the nighttime view of the Strip from a helicopter is breathtaking--and you've got all manner of reflections, smoke and particle effects, full-screen filters, and more to accentuate the action. We only saw the Xbox 360 version, which sported the expected high visual fidelity, but it was a little choppy in places--though the developers have a good couple of months to optimize the current version. Development on the PlayStation 3 game is said to also be on track for a November release, if not day and date with the 360 game.

So far, we're way into the direction Vegas is going under the auspices of its 150-person-strong development team--the core of which, it's worth noting, is the same team that made Rainbow Six 3 so popular. The new tactical abilities gave the battles we played a faster, more visceral feel, and we were never a big fan of those verbose mission briefings anyway. But how about the Rainbow Six series' vaunted multiplayer? That's back in force, too--and we'll have a multiplayer-specific report on Vegas in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, don't forget to check out our single-player videos for a taste of the story mode.

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Discussion

58 comments
A5H19
A5H19

I've just played this game over at my friends house and this is BY-FAR one of the MOST tactical games I've ever played. I thought BF2: Project Reality and Counter-Strike was tactical enough, you haven't seen anything yet. This game made me cry "He's by the flag," or "Behind that collumn!", and random statements like "Take cover!", "I'm gonna flank", "Reloading", "You got em", and "Hoo-ah!". Graphically the game is really crisp, theres certain inconsistency with the framerate but it's hardly noticeable. The gameplay is really hard, no seriouly, I had to take several breaks because of the intensity of the game, and although it can get fustraiting, the overall experience is amazing. This was a review for the 360 Version. As for the PS3 version, no one can truly know how things are so far. I looked the screenshots and noticed the jagged edgings, but I soon found out they were 360 screens which surprised me. Although it's not AS hyped as before, it's still a game I will be adding to my library when I get a PS3. This game is a MUST-BUY for those of you who enjoy tactical shooters.

datniccah187
datniccah187

Rainbow Six Vegas is a bomb game. I enjoy playing it very much.

zux2000
zux2000

it will be a cool game... i think

ryanthegamer
ryanthegamer

Um bp johny maybe think before you speak because psp is supposed to be the most advanced system and its got all good games wii has only got little kids games like pokemons so sorry if ive offended you but ps3 rocks and wii might still be good but think first next time.

far-cry
far-cry

and ass normal no pc info this suck why o why o why :( its going to be lockdown all over again :( and btw good Graphics woint mean the game is good eswel it only looks good on the Graphics part but not in game play this is not what rainbow is hollywood story sucks it will be liniar and arcade style the way i se it and what up whit the dam 3d person view that really sucks :( i really think this again wil be a letdown just like lockdown whas, ubi sucks for letting the pc gamers again on the letf side of it all, and olso gamespot kinda sucks atm becase the forgetting us to again, the only have info for the console it just suck it is a, o no wait, it whas a sim fps now it just a arcade game for stupit ppl its R.I.P for rainbow six PC i think :(

luisnunezjr
luisnunezjr

i never was a huge rainbow six fan but this game is shaping to be a awesome game.

marolia
marolia

this game is gonna be awesome!

danielson
danielson

never heard of a 3 man swat team all of the tom clancy titles with the exceptioin of splinter cell have blowed since reiterated from the pc

BP_JOHNNY
BP_JOHNNY

X-box blows....but not as hard as a ps3 lol......Nintendo Wii is gonna be the hotness

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

Graphics looking 2nd generation GRAW to me. Yay!

durial117
durial117

Awesome... if its as good as G.R.A.W. was than im definately buying this one. Looks pretty nice. The only thing im regretting is the $60 price that im probably going to have to pay damnitall....

pathogenb
pathogenb

"ColdZero54 I don't know why they keep saying Rainbow Six is "tactical." Ever since RS3 it became a more action shooter and I just didn't like it at all. Now, when it first came out in 99 or so for the N64 and PC, that was an awesome tactical shooter. I was hoping RS Vegas would return to the game's roots but I guess that was too much to ask. I had a lot of hopes for it, but after reading this it's sounding more and more like a spiffyed up RS Lockdown with a door camera and rappelling rope. Whoopee. But I guess we'll have to wait and see how it is when it comes out. It'll be a rent-before-buy game here." cool. don't buy it. one less tool on XBL = yay!

tecknautic
tecknautic

It does look to have a G.R.A.W.'ish look to it but just a bit more refined, for sure looks better and i love the location. Here's hoping you can repel down the Luxor :D

_Sam_
_Sam_

looks good so far

vince956
vince956

The BEST Rainbow Six was the one released on the N64. 1 player was great but when you played 2 players split screen on that game it was AWESOME any chance of that happening again, LETS HOPE!

noodles12345678
noodles12345678

Real720 theres more to tactical than how many times you can be shot before you go down...i'm sure in real life you could be shot several times before you actually die..depending on where u get hit of course. but besides how many times you can be shot theres movement speeds depending on what your equipment is, range and accuracy of weapons, time it takes to reload and lots of other stuff u kno. i hope they dont make this game with the new trend of being able to press the left trigger and magically pull the pin off a grenade and throw it in like .7 secs with one hand and still holding a gun.

Real720
Real720

Wow ColdZero, you're ignorant! You call getting shot twice and dying not tactical?

stevespag101
stevespag101

ColdZero54 had it right. the rainbow six series peaked at r6 3 for the PC. note that I dont include the ps2 and xbox versions, which were a completely different game using reworked levels from the pc. multiple level entry points? gone. calculated pre misson planning? downgraded to merely selecting your gear(even the ammount of weapon choices have been reduced. multiple squads with individual unit selection ON THE FLY? gone, gone, gone. I'm of the opinion that ever since SOCOM was a great success on the ps2, ubisoft has done nothing but try to emulate them. granted, they have done so to great success, and the mulitplayer in the rainbow six series is as good as ever, but man do i long for the old days....

KronikKilla
KronikKilla

Obviously, they will fix frame-rate problems. This game will be one of the best shooters out, hands down. This looks to be a much more intense GRAW, which was an awesome game.

Money-Mo
Money-Mo

The FPS looks horrendous....

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

they will fix it or they will screw a great game in the making

Rossdaboss777
Rossdaboss777

Framerate looks good until someone shots and it looks horrible like 10fps they better fix the framerate for lanch

ColdZero54
ColdZero54

I don't know why they keep saying Rainbow Six is "tactical." Ever since RS3 it became a more action shooter and I just didn't like it at all. Now, when it first came out in 99 or so for the N64 and PC, that was an awesome tactical shooter. I was hoping RS Vegas would return to the game's roots but I guess that was too much to ask. I had a lot of hopes for it, but after reading this it's sounding more and more like a spiffyed up RS Lockdown with a door camera and rappelling rope. Whoopee. But I guess we'll have to wait and see how it is when it comes out. It'll be a rent-before-buy game here.

spydrman5472
spydrman5472

I like the new action-oriented aspects of the game. I was always weary of the Rainbow titles 'cause I knew they were known for being very realistic and I'm not a huge stealth/tactics kinda gamer. I'll hafta wait and see but this looks like it may be a little bit more up my alley. Can't wait.

payback_56
payback_56

this game looks great, I can't wait, the only problem I have is should I get it for my kick-azz PC, or get it on 360 to get the achievments on my gamer card???????

nuttybar
nuttybar

I hope this will be better than lockdown...

Sanguis_Malus
Sanguis_Malus

Always good to see a series developing in a positive and more creative way.

DeusExMathias
DeusExMathias

Man, I hope they keep voice commands in. That was pretty fun. (when it worked :lol: )

TintedChimes
TintedChimes

Yes, SHOT FIRST, ASK QUESTIONS LATER! SWAT 4 got to me.

jd14
jd14

i really want to play this

dhjohns
dhjohns

This game looks like it will continue the strong franchise of Rainbow 6!

Jokul
Jokul

Wow the graphics on this one looks stunning and im really glad they got rid of the old RS6 team, they drove me mad with their annoying voices!!

oo769er
oo769er

Can't wait to play this on XBL.

diablo1000000
diablo1000000

Cannot wait for this! Roll on March for my PS3 bundled with this great game!

GFofgaming
GFofgaming

Alas!! The Rainbow Six 3 PC edition is cleary being reflected in this game, I love it. Also things like 3rd cover and tagging tangos will give a tactician like me better and efficent ways to neutralize the threats inbound.

ickysweat
ickysweat

Looks to be a first good step into bringing this franchise into the next generation. The third person wall cover is a great addition and could influence more gamers into buying RSV.

DanBal76
DanBal76

"Sounds like a copy of Ghost Recon" Hell yeah! The thrird-person cover system of GRAW is everything the single player of RSV needs. Perfect!

Qwertz82
Qwertz82

sounds like a copy of ghost recon...

kaziechameleon
kaziechameleon

wtf are you talking about brute, what a retard if your talking about pixel hunting that shouldn't be in this game, and that was a GRAW problem any ways.

Brute_Tartarus
Brute_Tartarus

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

kaziechameleon
kaziechameleon

well rainbow six was at it's best in two i think, but three had great multiplayer, lockdown, though beautiful, just sucked hard core. this looks to be the best one with the streamlined, though still tactically solid nature of rainbow six 3, the beauty of unreal engine 3, and the single player evolution we've been waiting for in tactical shooters. it's actually funny that swat 4 took the mantel away by being the best tactical shooter ever, and offering near infinate reaplayability through the random character spawning and behavior paterns. taht game rocked. can't wait for swat 5, and in the mean time vegas.

PerfectDark0Fan
PerfectDark0Fan

Im looking foward for this. Im hoping it will be as realistic as Rainbow Six 3 for the orignal Xbox.

ZosoFan
ZosoFan

looks awesome every time i see it!

True_Blu3
True_Blu3

Visuals looks amazing and gameplay looks intense. I might just give it a try if I got an Xbox360.