I have to admit my heart starts to race when I get that new game and even more so when it’s a great first-person shooter like Ghost Recon, but when I got into Lockdown I could tell there was something missing from this latest in the Rainbow Six line.
I love Red Storm Entertainment’s previous line of Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon titles that have come out for the PC. I have every one and still play Ghost Recon, but after playing the latest version of Rainbow Six, I can see where all the complaining is coming from on the Ubisoft Forums.
Red Storm Entertainment along with Ubisoft has released the next Rainbow Six FPS, Rainbow Six: Lockdown. Lockdown is the continuing adventures of Domingo “Ding” Chavez as he leads his Rainbow counterterrorist teams against international terrorists out to ruin the world, and your day. You play as Ding Chavez leading small teams against groups of terrorists in hostage rescue, bomb defusing and assault type first-person action. The game is a straightforward FPS with you in charge of your team. The HUD and your personal information are well designed and easy to use. I found the orders you give your teammates easy to convey even if they didn’t listen to me all the time. You get to tell them where to go by pointing with your weapon and issuing an order or telling them to open doors or use grenades and such when opening doors. There is no preplan other than equipping your men and then being able to tell them in game what to do, but the game plays well and has all that is needed for a great FPS except one thing.
In one word, all the game needed was AI. All the rest of the ingredients that make a great game are there. The graphics are awesome, the sound is very good and the setup and overall feel of the game that are subtle parts of a greater whole can be seen and felt, but the artificial intelligence is terrible. I thought when you stood in front of a bad guy he was supposed to shoot at you or at least cower from your superior weaponry and unmatched skills as a counter terrorist team member. When the guy sneaks around you to shoot at your teammates that you told to hold position behind you down the hallway, you wonder what’s going on and then blow him away. They should rename your teammates to things more appropriate: bait, shield, cannon fodder; things like that. Playing through the levels, the statistics at the end of some of the missions show what I mean. When you have shot more than four hundred rounds and your teammates have only shot six, eight and twelve individual bullets with one or two hits, something is missing from the equation. When I shoot at targets they go down, that’s why I use my ammo, but for fun I tried using only my pistol and found that it did not matter much what weapon I used for the distillery level. I ran through the mission and accomplished the goals using only the pistol to fight the bad guys.
I found that my teammates were good for sending into rooms and finding out where all the bad guys were; bait. They were also good for sending into a room and using as a shield to stand behind as the bad guys tried to shoot at you. They were not good for helping you out or shooting the terrorists. They would often not listen to you when told to hold and were certainly not much good at shooting when they did. I saw it had to be pretty much a clear shot for them to take or they would wait for the guy to get into the open before shooting. This was a trend from the beginning and played out much through the game. Many places in the game you could shoot the bad guys because they were behind partial concealment, such as a railing, where parts of themselves were visible. My team members never exploited these opportunities. Many times the terrorists used that lean and peek maneuver but that’s all they often did, lean and peek at you.
One thing I noticed throughout the levels was the blatant advertising for a movie that is coming out, The Hills Have Eyes. I counted about ten posters in a level after I started noticing them and then every level has about that many or more. In one room they have three such posters. I understand that they want to cash in on the advertisement opportunity here, but this is a little ridiculous. If they would worry more about a better game, i.e. the AI, then advertising for movies on the games graphics would not be needed. People would flock to buy the game and stay home to play it and its expansions. As it is, people are complaining loudly on the Ubisoft forums.
Lockdown has the sixteen-mission campaign along with the single player quick missions like terrorist hunt or lone wolf. The maps are the same ones you run through the campaign on but with the included mission editor, I think the community will be coming out with some more soon. I enjoyed playing the game despite the problems with dumb teammates and terrorists. I enjoyed the multiplayer as well but had a hard time setting up and joining games. The multiplayer portion of the game also needs an update or a patch. Many people are complaining about joining games on the Ubisoft website and not being able due to firewall issues. Setting up the firewall settings and allowing the game access to go online seems to be hard to do. I played around with my firewall settings for a few hours and finally got to play online. This should be easier to accomplish for a game that cost people almost fifty dollars. There are not many gamers playing online and this is a big issue with many from the complaints on the Ubisoft forums.
It took me about eleven hours to play through the campaign, changing the difficulty setting back and forth to see what difference that made. Not much. The choice of weaponry is great and you get the neat toys like breaching charges and phosphorous grenades. This game would be a good value if the company came out with a patch to fix the multiplayer issues and make it easier to join games online. They also need to do something about the AI. Once these issues are dealt with this would be a very good game but as it is, I have to give it just a bit above average. Waiting for a patch or update is not what many people paid their good money for, especially in this great line of first-person shooter games.
Overall Rainbow Six: Lockdown isn’t a bad game. I was just disappointed considering all the hype and the past record of excellent games in this series. Hopefully they can get matters resolved and update the game to fix the problems with AI and joining online games, and work on making better games for the PC fans that are waiting for the classic Tom Clancy line of games to continue.
[25/30] Graphics & Sound