UbiSoft’s Rainbow Six: Lockdown is the third game in the series to appear on the Xbox. The first was Rainbow Six 3, an all-new version of the breakout PC game and the followup, Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow, that came out last year.
Now we have Rainbow Six: Lockdown, a game that sways more toward a straight action game than the tactical strategy game that many of us thought the Rainbow Six line to be up until now. This may or may not alienate people from this game, but there is one absolute game killer that will alienate pretty much everyone from the game, but I’ll save that for the gameplay section.
This time around Ding Chavez and his team (Eddie Price, sniper Dieter Weber, and Louis Loiselle) have been sent to find and take down the terrorists behind the theft of an artificial virus that can kill a lot of people in the matter of minutes. The game is played out over 14 missions and have a variety of objectives in them.
As in past Rainbow Six games, the biggest draw for players will probably be the Xbox Live play. There is an added benefit on the Xbox side of things this year as you can now go into a PEC mode where you gain experience points and can upgrade your soldier as you go through the online modes. Let’s get to the scores.
If there is one thing you can say for the Rainbow Six games on Xbox, it is that they are quite nice looking. On the PC these games weren’t necessarily at the top of the graphic chain, but here on Xbox you can’t find many games in the same genre that have as nice of graphics.
This time around the graphics get a bit of a workout since I believe this game has the biggest body count of any Rainbow Six game and the levels are huge with many avenues you can choose to take making it a pretty dynamic game. The environmental graphics are still astounding and the game runs at a fluid rate as always.
A cool graphical addition is when your controlled player gets shot. You will see bullet holes through your HUD and your vision will become a bit blurry as your lifeline drops. Not much bad can be said about the graphics in the Rainbow Six games outside of the fact the character graphics could be a bit better.
Much like the other Rainbow Six games you can put on your Xbox Live headset and have a totally different experience than you would listening to it through just speakers. This is still a team game even though it is tinged more toward straight ahead action with Ding Chavez and the few times you play as the sniper, Deiter Weber. The gang is still good for support fire, so the verbal commands are still available via the headset so you don’t have to use the controller to give your orders. Makes the game seem that much more real and immersive.
The guns and the voices sound as spot on as ever. With the game being more action than strategy there will be some really fast moments as you’re trying to shoot everything around you because the team is easily at their most outnumbered in this game.
As good as ever and not much has changed since the last Rainbow Six game. There is a new heartbeat sensor that can be used, but the battery gets used up pretty quick if you use it. You use this to be able to tell if someone is behind a wall or not.
Control seems a bit tighter in Lockdown and that is probably because it is far more quick reaction than the other games in the series.
Rainbow Six: Lockdown is played out over 14 missions with a variety of objectives in each mission. The key change with Lockdown is that the levels are much larger than those presented in the earlier Rainbow Six games, so there is a lot more room for Ding and the gang to make choices about where to go and how to take people out. Unfortunately there is a massive problem with the game that will probably ruin it totally.
The game killer is the AI on both sides of the field. Enemy AI are sharpshooters if you are behind cover, but if you’re right out in the open and in front of them they miss you pretty much every time. Same thing goes for your side of the fight with the team being able to hit targets behind cover, but out in the open they can’t hit the broadside of a barn. This means Ding can literally go through a level and not get hit once with a bullet. There are times you will have to slow down in order to draw out the enemy, but once they are out of the cover they are in they can’t hit you. This is a massive oversight and ruins an otherwise good game.
You would think there was a way around this blunder, but the only way around actually puts you into more danger by taking cover. Cover is supposed to save you from being hit, but instead the enemy becomes skilled marksmen and makes the game harder than it should be. I’m not sure what the developers were thinking or how this got through QA, but it is a pretty bad thing to overlook and destroys this game.
Of course there is a bright side because this game is still playable over Xbox Live and your only enemy will be other humans, so the AI problems are gone. The Rainbow Six games always have a long shelf life thanks to the Xbox Live play and I expect this one to be no different.
The Xbox version of this game also has something added to it in Xbox Live play called PEC, a persistent RPG like element where you choose from four classes (engineer, spec op, medic and commando) and you can gain experience points as you play the game to upgrade your character with weapons and abilities. The nice thing is that you don’t have to play in this type of environment and can play straightforward online games. This whole element is very interesting, although I have a feeling there will be a lot of elite players out there that will be so overpowered over the more green people out there.
The game gets low replay simply because of the killer AI error, but it gains points for the Xbox Live play where most of you will probably end up buying this game for simply because it is new maps. The addition of the PEC mode in online play on the Xbox makes anyone interested in having an RPG type experience where you can upgrade your soldier will also add to the value.