Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Lockdown Preview

The latest installment in the Rainbow Six series, Tom Clancy,s Rainbow Six: Lockdown, was released last September for the PS2, Xbox, and GameCube with no PC version in sight. It,s a little odd considering that the series originated on the PC, but eventually details emerged about the PC version’s delay. Months later, we are awaiting the release of the newest entry into this series for the PC, and it looks like the wait is just about finished. A demo has now been released, allowing us to get a glimpse of the single and multiplayer action that this PC shooter has to offer.

Going straight into the demo, we see our first glimpse of good news: this isn,t just a straight console port. Although the PC version of Rainbow Six: Lockdown will contain the same 16 levels from its console counterparts, there has been a significant overhaul to the game,s graphics engine. This means that Lockdown has been redesigned to take advantage of today,s latest PC hardware as it includes all of the new graphical effects that you could expect to see in newer PC games. Some of these new features include HDR (High Dynamic Range) Lighting, Post-Processing Effects, Character Specular Lighting, and World Specular Lighting. All of this creates a truly beautiful environment that looks substantially better than the console version and much better than any older title in the series.

The demo features one single-player campaign, which feels more like a tutorial than anything else as there are small floating icons at certain spots giving you tips on how to play the game. The mission is simply called, “South Africa”, so you should be able to guess where this takes place. Just like the previous titles in the series all you have to do is select your mission and loadout, but there,s one crucial feature missing here. Rainbow Six: Lockdown is missing the planning area where you could plan out your attack ahead of time before going into the mission. This feature was one of the most important aspects of the series which separated itself from other shooters, and this is the first title in the series to go without it. It,s really a pity to see this feature excluded but heading over to the loadout screen will reveal at least one reason why it,s gone.

The loadout screen is where you can select the armor and weapons for your fellow squad mates to use on the upcoming mission. There are a number of different assault rifles, grenade launchers, and machine guns to choose from as well as some secondary pistols and modifications. The main difference here from previous titles is that you,re only in charge of three other squad mates. So the old days of commanding two squads and switching between the two in the middle of combat is now over. This leaves the planning portion of the mission obsolete since you don,t have to command more than one squad. This is another feature that we,re not too crazy about since it starts to make Lockdown look like it,s trying to blend in with just about every other tactical squad shooter. Once we,re done selecting our loadout it,s off to our first mission.

As informed in the briefing, this mission sets our squad up in an urban area of the South African capital city where the president has been taken captive in a bank. The mission starts off with you and your three squad mates being dropped off by a black hawk helicopter at the top of a parking garage. From here we have to make our way down the parking garage and out onto the streets to rescue the president. Going through these different areas of the mission we stumble upon something that sort of ruins the flow of the game. Apparently going from one area to the next results in loading points where you,ll need to wait for the game to load the next area. These happen quite frequently and really interrupt the game experience making it feel more like different levels rather than one large mission.

Unfortunately this is also done in a very linear format that starts to feels a lot like Star Wars: Republic Commando. It,s odd to see such linear gameplay in this series since previous titles have always offered up different insertion and extraction points, but Lockdown just has a basic straightforward design that kind of takes away from the tactical feel. Speaking of tactics, controlling your squad mates has become much more simplified this time around. Simply moving your aiming reticule somewhere along the ground and pressing the ‘spacebar, will tell your squad mates to go there. Other commands allow you to simply tell them to follow you, hold position, use suppressive fire, or to throw a grenade.

Once we ran into our first enemies, combat became rather interesting. For the most part, the AI is solid and can get the job done. However they occasionally get in your line of fire, pile up against each other, or just run out into the open. The enemy AI is about the same even though they do take effective cover behind objects. The weapons fire feels basically the same as Rainbow Six 3, but the grenade throwing has changed. Like with the Splinter Cell series when you throw a grenade in Lockdown a small row of rings appears in front of you showing you where your grenade will land. It,s a nice feature to assist you, but diehard fans will most likely despise it for its lack of realism. Some other neat features in your arsenal include a night vision mode and a special vision mode that enables you to see movement close to you in dark areas. It,s also worth mentioning that Lockdown is no longer the type of game where one hit will take down your enemy. Instead it plays out more like a typical shooter using a health bar and numerous hits.

Multiplayer, on the other hand, was a little more enjoyable. The demo features a map called, “Prison” and has two traditional game modes which include team adversial and co-op. There,s nothing really new here besides the maps, and Lockdown will feature all of the traditional multiplayer modes from previous titles. The multiplayer will also feature 16 players and numerous maps from previous Rainbow Six titles such as the popular 747 map from Rogue Spear which gives you large open areas of an airport which is ideal for sniping the terrorists that are holding the hostages on the plane.

So far Tom Clancy,s Rainbow Six: Lockdown for the PC looks like it,ll be either a hate or love it type of game. Shooter fans in general will probably love it for its simple squad basics and graphical eye candy, while longtime Rainbow Six fans may despise it for its linear gameplay and lack of features that made the serious what it is today. We,ll just have to see how it all turns out when the game ships out to retail stores in early February.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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