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Rainbow Six: Lockdown Review
developer: Red Storm Entertainment
PIV or AMD 1.5GHz, 512 MB RAM, 64 MB AGP or PCI-E vid. card
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Feb 15, 06 (released)
|» All About Rainbow Six: Lockdown on ActionTrip|
The latest iteration in the long-lasting R6 series, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Lockdown, finally made its way to the PC and in the knick of time too. I'd have probably gone out of my mind if I had to wait another week for a decent new title to hit the market.
Caught in your own trap!!
Hey, up here!
Bringing the PC version of Lockdown to life, Ubisoft and Redstorm opted to polish the game a wee bit as an improvement over the console versions. Well, for the past couple of days we've been playing both the single-player and multiplayer modes to find out if the development team did a good job.
Team Rainbow, a multinational task force, is obliged to put a stop to a series of terrorist attacks. As usual, the game provides a suitable storyline, offering quick and simple explanations as to why your team is being sent all across the world to fight against one of the world's most dangerous terrorist organizations. After various assignments on numerous locations, it becomes clear that the terrorists are planning to unleash a deadly nanotech virus and endanger the lives of many innocents. The terrorist organization, named The Global Liberation Front, turned out to be well-equipped, organized and quite capable of using Rainbow's tactics in their merciless endeavors. Their ultimate goal is to deploy the lethal virus at the NATO summit in Spain. Obviously, it will take persistence and great skill to overcome such a force.
You'll be traveling to many different parts of the world (Paris, Algeria, Scotland, The Netherlands, South Africa and so on) to handle hostage situations, bomb threats and so on. Each mission requires your team to accommodate to a completely unique environment, which denotes a different tactical approach every time. The goal changes dynamically throughout the course of the assignment. For example, in a particular mission your squad has to infiltrate a university under terrorist control, cut the power to the building, and find and rescue the hostages. Without power, most areas are dark, so your safest bet is to use night vision goggles to make out terrorists lurking in unlit corridors. To make things even easier for yourself, you may use "special vision" that detects any body heat on the opposite side of walls and corners. These gadgets are mighty useful in combat and can help you plan the attack and execute it more efficiently. As luck would have it, the gadgets are part of your standard equipment, so you'll get to use them whenever you wish throughout the game. Of course, prior to each mission, you can take the time and choose the appropriate weaponry and additional gear.
This is where my first disappointment arrived. Prior to every assignment, players can hear out the mission briefing, which is usually... well, very brief. Satellite reconnaissance or supplementary data regarding your foes would be a welcomed addition to the campaign. In Raven Shield, for example, players were able to plan out their attack via the handy map system, available before each mission. You could put up waypoints and devise a line of attack using a 3D map and an intuitive route planner. This helps you decide what would be the appropriate primary weapon for a particular assignment. In Lockdown you are sometimes forced to quit the mission if you didn't bring an adequate weapon along. So, you have to exit the level, switch weapons and then load the map all over again. Somehow, I got used to planning my moves in Raven Shield, so I guess I really missed that option this time around. Then again, some of you may not be bothered by this.
The game is relatively fast-paced, challenging and requires you to think and act on the spot. You have to select your gear carefully, since, like I said earlier, you're not allowed to switch primary weapons during the game. Rainbow Six: Lockdown features a diversity of submachine guns, such as the P90TR, the PP90M1, the MP5/10 and others. Also, you may choose from a wide range of rifles and light and heavy machine guns. During combat, players may often find themselves resorting to handguns near the end of lengthier missions. The primary weapon has limited ammo and there aren't any extra clips to be found along the way. In light of that, sometimes the idea is to save your bullets and aim carefully, or you'll be left to fend off a group of crazy AK-47-wielding terrorist with nothing but a mere handgun.
The AI in the game works very well. Your opponents find cover behind walls and pillars, peeking out and firing periodically at your squad. Also, they often lob a few grenades in your general direction, causing serious injuries to you and your team - sometimes, a single explosion from a grenade can wipe out your entire team, so be careful where you position your squad. Terrorist have subtle ways of fighting. They frequently use smoke grenades to conceal themselves before entering the fray. Once they create the ideal cover, they'll split into groups and attack you from all sides.
Teammates are similarly skillful in combat and are able to handle themselves well when things get hot. They can be ordered to open doors normally or by planting breaching charges. You can also instruct them to blow off the hinges... but no matter which order they are given, they regularly carry it out with ease.
One of the things that impressed me was the apparent effort that went into creating some detailed outdoor and indoor areas. It appears that the level designers went all out to make the surroundings authentic and pleasing to the eye. The PC incarnation of Rainbow Six: Lockdown presents the usual improvements over the console versions, like high-res modes and slightly richer backdrops. There's no doubt in my mind that the development team did a swell job on bringing some of the character models to life. Terrorist models could've looked nicer though, as well as a few indoor sections. Lockdown doesn't exactly provide next-gen graphics, but it certainly doesn't fall behind the times in terms of overall visual quality. Sound effects are not bad either. Each weapon produces authentic gunfire sounds, which in turn increases the rush of adrenaline and makes you enjoy the ride even more.
8.1 Very Good
Worthy of the R6 series, solid single-player and multiplayer, good visuals and sound;
A few AI glitches, slower framerate on mid-range rigs, lacks more in-depth mission briefings.