Rainbow Six (PC) Review – Tom Clancy Tribute

It’s amazing I like Tom Clancy at all. Anyone who knows me knows I tend to think American writers are a bunch of uncreative hacks, barely worthy of the trees sacrificed to print their drivel. But Tom Clancy was a rare exception, an author genuinely worth reading.

Sadly, he passed away on the first of this month.

I wanted to do a tribute, a video review of the Rainbow Six games (the ones I happen to own, anyhow), but the original Rainbow Six for PC was refusing to cooperate, so I wound up with just a video of me talking. And if I’m gonna do that, why not just write a text entry?

So, fuck it. Game doesn’t wanna cooperate, fine.

What I mean by “not cooperating” is that the game would start behaving strangely any time I recorded it. For example, I tried to do a Lets Play weeks ago, and in the first mission the terrorists would keep shooting the hostages before I even entered the building–in effect there was no way in hell I’d be able to complete this mission without cheating. So I gave up. I tried again just now, with a completely different mission, one where you have to disable virus canisters. I had just about succeeded at this, when suddenly the game booted me to the failure screen, even though I had not actually failed the mission. (In fact I was literally three seconds away from succeeding!)

This game does not want to be recorded. Period.

Now, for those of you who are thinking maybe I just suck, I have beaten both Rainbow Six and its expansion pack, ON ELITE DIFFICULTY. So I know what I’m doing.

Since I did that “first impressions” post awhile back, the only question is if I still agree with that post and if there’s anything I discovered since last time.

Okay, so things I said last time that I still agree with:

– There’s no reason to use a named character, Reserves work just as well.
– Still love the feeling of immediacy from potential instant death.

Things I’ve changed my mind about:

– The planning phase isn’t completely useless, although it could still be better implemented.
– Your teammate AI isn’t stupid, you just have to account for its quirks. In fact I’ve found a reliable tactic that involves flashbanging a room, quickly running in there and then switching to a completely different team–the now-CPU-team will take down bogies with speed and accuracy humans can’t rival.
– I’ve now discovered that “Elite” difficulty is not much harder than “Recruit,” and often the exact same strategies work.

Things I didn’t mention last time (likely because I didn’t know):

– Ladders suck. It’s possible to get stuck on a ladder if you start climbing up while someone else is climbing down–there’s no way to force the other climbers out of the way and if you’re sandwiched between two going opposite directions, you have no choice but to restart.
– The game has rare crashes, but that may be something to do with my PC.
– Kinda lacking replay value. There’s nothing more once you’ve done all the missions.
– The terrorists can often be unrealistically skilled. They can see you and land headshots from extreme distances (to be fair, so can your dudes if under computer control).
– Outside of the stealth missions, you can use similar tactics to get the drop on bogies.
– The heartbeat sensor is a godsend. You make sure to give your guys this baby in the prepping stages and most missions become fucktasmically easy, especially the two stealth missions (ironically, someone on TV Tropes whined that there’s no radar, but that’s essentially what the HBS is–hey, TV Tropes got something wrong, whodathunkit?)
– Sometimes terrorists will surrender if you damage them then let them run around, or do non-lethal amounts of damage. This seemed to happen more often in the expansion pack.
– There seemed to be some situations where the bogies could shoot around corners. Sometimes you can do, but its more reliable when they do it, of course.
– Frag Grenades are often better than Flashbangs.
– Another thing that sucks the challenge out of the game is that the map in the planning stage (but not the in-game map) will show you precisely where mission objectives and hostage locations are, so you don’t have to explore the level. The only reason its not reliable about terrorist locations is because they move around.

The Bottom line:

Rainbow Six is worth a spin, but its definitely not a game for everyone due to its tactical/”realistic” nature and real-world setting. If you need sci-fi or fantasy elements, stick to Doom or Heretic.

I’d give Rainbow Six a B+ overall.