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PS3 Fanboy review: Rainbow Six: Vegas [Update]

After much delay, PS3 owners are finally able to taste the dish Ubisoft first baked for Xbox 360 owners back in mid-November. Has the extra six months in the Ubi incubator, provided PS3 gamers with a far superior version? Does the PS3 version blow its Xbox cousin out of the water? Does the PS3 rendition give you superhuman powers?

Rainbow Six: Vegas weaves an interesting-enough plotline, centering around southern boy Logan Keller, a recent rising star amongst the ranks of the Rainbow team and whose face you'll become intimately familiar with as you duck him behind crates or crane his neck around doorways to spot and eliminate bad guys. One of our hero's first missions starts the Rainbow team off in Mexico, where you're being sent to eliminate a terrorist threat led by international terrorist Irena Morales. The game's plot is riddled with conspiracy-a-plenty, taking twists and turns while leading the Rainbow team to locales like Mexico, Vegas (of course) and later, an expansive hydroelectric dam.

This is not for players that favor run-and-gun style of play. It's a tactical shooter, and gives you up to two squadmates to control, direct and ultimately, be responsible for throughout the campaign. These squadmates don't require a degree in babysitting, thankfully. The A.I. works exceptionally well, with your teammates returning fire, utilizing cover and more. During an assault on the Calypso Casino in the game's Vegas campaign mission, we ordered our Bravo team towards the back of a pickup truck, where they discovered "tangos" and immediately focused to eliminate the threat, all the while remaining behind cover in order to minimize injury. In other words, your teammates don't run out in the open to get a better shot. Also, when ordering our team to "clear the room" we were happy to see them do just that, walking around tables and obstacles to effectively make sure all tangos were cleared before making the announcement. No fear that bad guys were going to pop a cap in our backs when we later joined them, they effectively cleared the room completely, not just eliminating bad guys in plain sight.

Controls, thankfully, can be adjusted to better suit your style of play. Right off the bat, players may want to choose something more akin to the default Xbox 360 control scheme, which is easily selected under game options (we would've preferred the Map on L1 instead of Select but we can deal). Learning the controls are crucial, since they will be your "eyes" on the field, controlling your squad placement, reloading your weapons and popping on night vision goggles. It all better be precise and laid out in such a way were you don't have to think about what button to press when the moment comes to pop a cap into a terrorist's head. Thankfully, we can report the controls are top notch and responsive. Sixaxis works perfectly, which is ideal for a precision shooter like the Rainbow series. The tacked-on Sixaxis functionality, however, doesn't fare as well. Using the Sixaxis for the snake cam (a device employed to "look" under doors) is an exercise in frustration, as the Y invert does not carry over to the snake cam and the sensitivity is through the roof. You'll likely want to forego the tilt-function gameplay element altogether in favor of the R thumbstick when it comes to controlling the snake cam.

The graphics are crisp and well detailed and shows Vegas in all its glittering glory. The game does have a rather annoying graphical setback when attempting to play in 1080i resolution. When the game plays in either 1080i or 1080p, the textures appear super "muddy" and the text becomes extremely blurry. Players will probably think they're playing a PS2 game at these resolutions, which is sure to frustrate those looking for the true next-gen Rainbow experience. We'd recommend heading to the XMB before booting the game to disable 1080i (and 1080P) to lock the resolution at 720p, where the game looks its best. Quick comparisons show the PS3 version looking sharper and for the most part, on par with the Xbox version. Textures up close sometimes tend to get a little muddy, even in 720p, but judging from the intense firefights you will be encountering, we'd have to reiterate that even this is not a game-breaking setback. As we started out on the Mexico map, we noticed the rather impressive view distance, which allowed for easier scanning for bad guys. Also, the terrorist animations are exceptional, with lifelike rag-doll physics contorting fallen bodies in unique and often, amusing ways. On a few occasions, corpses would "shake" after we dispatched bad guys atop stairwells. We found it amusing, but hardly game-killing.

Initially, we found the default graphical settings a bit too dark for our tastes. Without an in-game gamma option, we had to brighten things up on our HDTV a good ten notches or so before the shadows began to soften, making bad guys easier to spot in darkened hallways. After we did, the game definitely hit its stride in the graphical department, allowing far greater depth in shadows. Unfortunately, jaggies make their presence known here on the PS3, notably popping up in areas with soft shadows. Again, not game-breaking but with that horsepower under the hood, we still have to wonder why recent offerings on the PS3 are still plagued by these pesky things, especially considering the Xbox version did a better job ironing out these things in their earlier release. Sound is top-notch, with authentic static-induced chatter between your commanding office and teammates. Gunfire is as impressive as we could expect. Though we couldn't compare the rifles to their real-life counterparts, we'd imagine the sounds are pristine ad authentic in their own right.

And that brings us to ... multiplayer: the meat and bones of any true Rainbow Six game. Happily, Vegas delivers in spades. With up to 14-player LAN, split screen, co-op scenarios and of course, PlayStation Network online matches, Vegas has you covered. Eight different match types give PS3 owners a chance to maim and pop adversaries in unique scenarios. The PS3 version includes two new game modes as well as the "Black Edition" and "Red Edition," map packs that are only available for Xbox owners via download off Xbox Live Marketplace. Match play over the PlayStation Network was happily lag-free but distressingly disappointing when it came to voice chat. Some player voices came in choppy and would sometimes, cut out completely for the rest of the match and we couldn't discern whether our Logitech USB headset was working as intended or if all players were experiencing this. Message boards seem to solidify this as a current bug, which hopefully, Ubisoft is working diligently on correcting. The voices we were able to hear came in crystal clear, a notch in clarity above Xbox Live, we dare say. Another strange bug occurred with the sound of gunfire repeating itself throughout the rest of the match. It only happened twice in our many online matches played, but was a touch annoying nontheless. Our online play was limited to a plethora of matches over the weekend and not once did we search for a game and end up not finding any to join (signs the community is already growing exceptionally fast). However, the game is in dire need of a lobby system, so players can select and choose which games to join. As it stands, you'll have to search for a game type and hope that the matchmaking system in place gives you a game you actually want to play. We ended up a few times in "Attack and Defend" with only one other player, or games already in progress with 20 minutes left in the match, leaving us to patiently wait for the round to complete. Having a lobby system (similar to what was implemented in Xbox Live) will allow players to select the match they want to play out of a list of available matches. Being able to select a lag-free, 12-player round of Attack and Defend will be welcome over spending five minutes playing "lobby roulette" and ending up with the short end of the stick in a match with a player attempting to host a match over a dial-up connection. We do expect the community to improve, which will certainly help late-night players with their frag pleasure quests.

Overall, we couldn't get enough of Rainbow Six: Vegas and imagine we'll be playing it online for quite awhile. We feel it offers players a visceral, intense and solid tactical shooter and is certainly a welcome addition to any gamer's PS3 library. Despite its very minor graphical glitches and multiplayer bugs, this next-gen shooter fills a sorely needed hole in the PS3 lineup. Gamers with both systems would do well in picking this title up for the PlayStation 3, considering that despite a few minor graphical setbacks, it offers additional value with two map packs included all on the same Blu-ray game disc. Overall, we heartily recommend Rainbow Six: Vegas to all gamers looking for a true next-gen tactical shooter.

PS3 Fanboy Score: 8.5

[Update: Changed the wording slightly to indicate the now-free Rainbow Six: Vegas content for the Xbox 360 version over Xbox Live.]

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Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. i'd like to point out that xbox live players do NOT have to pay for the extra map packs. since these were announced for the PS3 for free, live owners are being reimbursed and newbies to Vegas can download them for free.

with that out of the way, this is a great shooter on any platform, the graphics being different is a developer issue i'm told, where the spu is being used and not the cell (i can't really remember what Andir3.0 said so forgive me if i'm wrong lol).

developers should be fixing this prob in the future as more learn how to port 360 to PS3 and vice versa.

just thought i'd clear that up.

Posted at 9:56PM on Jul 2nd 2007 by ryano

2. At least, they're free NOW. I wonder if that had anything to do with them being free on the ps3 version...

I picked this up last week, but haven't actually fired it up yet; been lost in The Darkness. That game really seems to grow on you. When I first started playing it I wasn't too impressed with the game, and although it still has it's issues there's just something about the way your powers are able to rip through a room (or a church! The humanity, where's the Church of England to save us!) with the help of your little darkling friends that's just satisfying and quite fun. Once you get into it, and the oh so appropriately dark story, it's pretty damn fun.

Posted at 10:00PM on Jul 2nd 2007 by mccomber

3. "And that brings us to ... multiplayer: the meat and bones of any true Rainbow Six game. "

So what's the single player campaign? Skin and fat? Am I the last gamer on the planet who enjoys kicking back with a good single player campaign? I deal with people all day long. I rather enjoy some solitary time with a good game at the end of the day. Guess that's just me.

"The tacked-on Sixaxis functionality, however, doesn't fare as well."

I'm not surprised there. I can't wait for this "motion sensitive controls" fad to pass. They ruin more games with this crud. I'm glad there's an option to skip it here.

Anyway, I'm trying to figure this review out. A lot of time is spent discussing problems with the game. But then the last paragraph says the reviewer can't get enough of it... but even then uses "Despite the.." in 2 sentences in that one 'graph alone.

So bottom line, would I be better off getting this on the XBox 360 or the PS3? I don't much like the idea of having to tweak the PS3 to force it into 720P mode, and I like the idea of fiddling with my tv settings every time I want to play even less.

Not trying to start flames, just wanting to make sure I get the version that's better for me. When all else is equal I'd go for the PS3 version because every time I turn the 360 on I hold my breath hoping it isn't going to roll over and die... :)

Posted at 10:40PM on Jul 2nd 2007 by GRT

4. I'll pass; seems like the single player campaign can be blown through in a day. And, im not into multiplayer FPSs.

Posted at 10:46PM on Jul 2nd 2007 by humpty

5. @GRT: I was thinking the same thing! The reviewer seems to indicate that much is wrong with this port, and yet states that they couldn't get enough of the game. I'm actually starting to think that they are trying not to say: "great game, stinky port job" to every Ubi game that comes out. It may not seem fair, but I think it may be the truth. Then again, I didn't write the review, so I don't know for sure - I can only conjecture about what the reviewer meant. But being an Ubi game, I'll take my guess for now. =/

Posted at 10:53PM on Jul 2nd 2007 by Consolcwby

6. one MAJOR issue - the cruddy 1080i implementation.

I hope Ubisoft release a patch that locks the game in at 720p, as it looks terrible in 1080i...

Plus if you have 720p, 1080p selected, but not 1080i,
the game STILL runs in 1080i

it's quite frustrating manually setting your ps3 down from 1080p just to play one game, to tell the truth, i haven't been playing it much because of this!

otherwise game is kewl, much better port than most i've seen recently.

Posted at 11:01PM on Jul 2nd 2007 by stirlo

7. I am really hoping Ubi holds up with their new gameplan. Which if you haven't been following along is delivering exclusives which work best on certain consoles. Rayman for Wii. Splinter Cell for 360. Haze for PS3(it will be exclusive)

Way to go Ubisoft my new fav devoloper (if all things go as you say!). Sorry Insomniac I want to dream. Damn that line worked well.

About Rainbow Six.

I really should give it a try because I have never tried a tactical shooter. I like Ubisoft as a dev. I still play Rayman on my computer and I might actually get the PS1 version now that I have a PS3.

Happy belated Canada day.

Posted at 11:16PM on Jul 2nd 2007 by Andy

8. Rainbow Six: Vegas is a strange beast indeed. On the one hand, there were glaring issues that couldn't be ignored (like the 1080i bug, the abundant jaggies in certain locations and the lack of a lobby system for online play) but the game delivers such solid and addicting game play, it's easy to overlook them.

We didn't want to riddle the review with frequent Xbox 360 comparisons to keep the review pure in spirit to those that may be discovering Rainbow Six: Vegas for the first time. In the eyes of a newcomer, we instead focused on what one can expect coming into the game without any previous knowlege of its Xbox counterpart. That being said, we DID run side-by-side comparisons to the Xbox 360 version and fanboys of both sides may be disappointed to hear that the differences are minimal at best. Jaggies on PS3 are more noticable at times, but the draw distance was a little more deeper and clearer, so it was a trade-off of sorts. The Xbox 360 version has higher quality textures that you'll notice when crouching against walls and such for cover, but we also noticed colors appeared more washed out in general, when compared to the PS3's crisper color scheme. Again, minor differences at best.

Online is a bit different, but we can be a little forgiving to the still-free PlayStation Network over its more matured cousin, Xbox Live. With the recent outcry for a lobby system, we dare say the first patch for Rainbow will bring about that very feature, bridging the small gap between the PS3 and the Xbox 360 versions.

We certainly hope the minor issues we outlined in the review are corrected in future patches (and, there's hardly any reason to believe they won't be, after reading the recent threads on Ubisoft's PS3 Rainbow Six: Vegas thread on their website). In the meantime, we're still enjoying ourselves immensely with the multiplayer component. So, come join us online, will you?


Posted at 12:01AM on Jul 3rd 2007 by Peter Vrabel

9. I've read that as far as ports, this one is pretty much spot-on to the 360 version. Some small issues here and there, but I've also read in a few reviews that if you have both a 360 and a ps3, the ps3 version is the one worth buying; of course, that was back when the map packs were still $10 a pop, and this week Circuit City has it for $40.
If you have one system or the other, easy choice, just buy it already. If you have both and don't already own this on the 360... go with whichever console you prefer to game on.

Posted at 12:10AM on Jul 3rd 2007 by mccomber

10. Hm, it's great to give advice on running the game at 720p instead of 1080i, but you guys sound like Sony or sites like IGN - they don't seem to believe that there are people who have 1080i only TVs. I really would have figured a site like this would actually be conscious of that fact.

Posted at 12:54AM on Jul 3rd 2007 by Stef Geiger

11. whoa, that was alot to stomach Turian_Tim!

but like i said before it's the developers fault for not taking advantage of the Cell processor, and not the PS3 for it's hardware.

and what you said about the Fatal Inertia game holds true to this by them having "problems with the PS3 engine." this is more evidence that it is the developer's incompetency.

i won't say the usual "wait for the future of PS3's Potential" because, hell i'm not the mass collective of developer minds for the PS3. it's them that has to learn how to program games for PS3 not I.

i do know that done right the PS3 delivers. Heavenly Sword is BEAUTIFUL exclusive title and Ninja Gaiden Sigma is a GORGEOUS port of an XBOX game.

Posted at 1:47AM on Jul 3rd 2007 by ryano

12. wow tim.. you are by far the most dedicated fanboy i've seen.. i appreciate you making sure you said that the unreal engine doesn't perform as good on the ps3.. even thou most if not all of the things you said point at the developers' half ass job like we knew ubi was gonna do, you still managed to say the ps3 sucks in a nicer way

bottom line dude the 360 and ps3 are way different and devs keep trying to find a common ground and they wont, they keep trying to make crappy ports just looking for the quick buck and for now is bad for the ps3, but by next year when most devs use the ps3 as a plattform the 360 will be the affected one..

the truth is that if they tried to port resistance to the 360 it will look like crap on the 360 and someone like you will be on the 360 fanboy site writing the same crap against the 360...

it's pretty sad the time you took when in less than 6 months you're gonna see some amazing graphics on the ps3 that you will never see on the 360 and you're gonna feel dumb for writing this long post, trying to feel better about your 360 when the lack of better graphics on the ps3 (if this is actually true) were worse because of ubi's fault.. not the godstation3..

now bow to it and ask for forgiveness.. lol jk..

enjoy your console tim.. stop hating others

Posted at 2:01AM on Jul 3rd 2007 by BulletToothTony

13. yo Tim, that was some nice "missioning" , but we natives are happy with our chosen religion, and you're wasting your time....

This -
"Friend, I'm just trying to explain things clearly and tell you which version of the game is the best."

takes the cake as the most Religio-sounding comment today!

Friend, I'm just trying to explain to you that there is only One True Path, and all others lead to HELL. :-)

Posted at 2:23AM on Jul 3rd 2007 by stirlo

14. Wow! Look at Turian_Tim go! He's shilling. Oh, well. I guess he can't stand that the PS3 games are actually getting better each month.

Turian_Tim. You can cry all you want. It's up to you. But the inevitable will happen. The PS3 will start to PWN the 360.

Oh, and by the way. SEVEN MONTHS later release is not what is important. It's how long the developer tools have been in the hands of the developers to learn. There's a learning curve ya know! You can't just download the info into the head of the developers before the tools have been finalized and/or learned.

Posted at 3:07AM on Jul 3rd 2007 by GL

15. @BulletToothTony

This is not a fanboy rant of any type just facts.

Actually from what I've read they can port PS3 games to the 360 pretty easily. Such as DMC4 and every other game that used to be an exclusive. (and they dont suffer graphically)

Games will never look any more amazing than the graphics on the 360. They both have great hardware and have one similar bottleneck.... the graphics card. You can only squeeze so much out of one. I hate to break it to you but it just isnt true. Games will start to look better... on both systems. Take a look at Crysis.... neiter system is capable of running it in DX10.

Posted at 7:10AM on Jul 3rd 2007 by Darko

16. Is anyone here even familiar with game programming, or am I just listening to people talking out of their asses again? I mean, every time I hear about how the 360's got this or the PS3's got that, it really makes me wonder what their technical background is or the actual experience they have. It's getting more annoying than having Johnny Romero constantly blabbing about his always-near comeback. So come on, instead of bragging about it, pull it out and lets measure everyone. I'm just so sick of hearing bullshit.

Posted at 8:41AM on Jul 3rd 2007 by Consolcwby

17. Turian Tim is really a loser known as Unbiased Technology Professor. He posts on another forum as a "professor" of gaming technology, but he really is a chubby 20 year old loser from Ohio.

Posted at 8:46AM on Jul 3rd 2007 by Vic Mackey

18. Ongoing flamewar aside, does anyone know which singleplayer game is longer, Rainbow Six or the Darkness? I'm torn between the two of them and I'm leaning towards this game at hte moment but I really want an engaging singleplayer experience as well as nice multiplayer.

Posted at 9:42AM on Jul 3rd 2007 by James

19. @Darko: "Games will never look any more amazing than the graphics on the 360" I thought the same thing about Mario 64. You're a FUCKING IDIOT!!! Never huh? Rainbow pwns anything that the 360 had out at 7 months, and God of War 2 looks like it could be a launch 360 game. Don't let your hatred of the PS3 drive you to say stupid stuff. Word mean things. And Tim thanks for trying to save me, but like most PS3 owners, I COULD AFFORD A 360 IF I WANT ONE (I actually have one), so fuck off w/ you're "deep analysis" of why the 360 is better. I get it, you cant afford a PS3, and you're glad your 360 is holding up. Now go play it and stop trolling, fag...

Posted at 9:47AM on Jul 3rd 2007 by Titty Pink

20. James I haven't played the Darkness, but Rainbow has a solid single player campaign. Too bad there arent many places to rent from...

Posted at 9:52AM on Jul 3rd 2007 by Titty Pink

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