Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard, a tactical team-based first-person-shooter from Gameloft, is available from the app store. While Rainbow Six plays and controls like most other Gameloft shooters, the additional of strategic maneuvers and co-op multiplayer help to separate it from the pack and give it an identity all its own.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard Pros:
- Same enjoyable FPS-style as other Gameloft shooters
- Team-based tactical play
- Intuitive controls with plenty of buttons to command teammates
- Variety of locations, weapons, and objectives
- Multiplayer modes for deathmatch and co-op play via wi-fi and Bluetooth
- Gameloft Live! integration for achievements
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard Cons:
- No way to communicate via co-op
- Some respawning issues in multiplayer lead to quick, cheap deaths
- Some video stuttering and audio dropouts
- Occasional button unresponsivness
Rainbow Six gives the player the option of an 11-level single player campaign or a multiplayer mode that uses either team-based (Team Deathmath, Co-Op) or free-for-all (Deathmatch) gameplay to achieve its goal. Leading a squad of the finest counter-terrorist soldiers around, you direct your mates to perform specific actions, coordinated with your own to exact swift justice in a precise manner. The typical objectives are present: defuse hostage situations, prevent explosions, and thwart all manner of illegal activity. The scenery changes, but again in predictable ways: mansions, jungles, oil rigs, industrial settings, etc. A variety of weapons are also at your disposal, allowing you to carry a main weapon, a handgun, and two other pieces of equipment. You can also enhance your weapons with upgrades like scopes and larger magazines. More powerful weapons become unlocked as you rank up by earning experience points, which can be procured in both the single-player campaign and the multiplayer modes. Experience points are earned quickly for clean play, such as killing enemies via headshot and not losing anyone in your squad. Each mission has multiple objectives for you to complete and earn experience points, too.
As the goal is to be stealthy, you have abilities similar to Splinter Cell that allow you to take cover behind objects, attach a silencer to your weapon, and snake cameras under doors to get the drop on your competition. Ordering teammates to various locations is as easy as tapping a button on the targeted location, while regrouping is handled by tapping a button in the upper-left corner. Closed doors present golden opportunities to direct attacks. There are plenty of items in the environment to manipulate, denoted by an icon that appears over them. These are pretty self-explanatory when you happen upon them. Aim assist makes it easier to pick off enemies before they can do too much harm to you or your team. When you do take damage, your health regenerates once you are no longer under fire. Dying isn’t necessarily the end, either, as you and your teammates have the ability to revive each other. The game does a nice job of walking you through a lot of these elements in an interactive tutorial-style first level.
The multiplayer modes aren’t quite as good as we’d experienced in MC2, but they were still fun. You have 5 multiplayer locations to choose from: Construction Site, Embassy, Ship, Dam, and Brazil. You can either play Team Deathmatch, where you square off in teams of five to kill each other; Deathmatch, where you try to kill everyone else; or co-op, where you are joined by a couple of human-controlled teammates attempting to take out the other team. While it sounds awesome in theory, the execution doesn’t really allow for teammates to communicate their intentions and coordinate their plans, leading to some frustrations. More frustrating than this, however, was that we would occasionally re-spawn right by the enemy, making for easy pickings.
Visually, Rainbow Six’s graphic quality is on par with recent releases like NOVA 2 and Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus. The Retina Display supported graphics give characters and environments a crisp look. The varied locations help to keep our interests and mix up the gameplay, especially when switching between open areas and close quarters. While the animation didn’t seem the most fluid, it was still passable and not all that distracting. We did experience occasional stuttering and audio dropouts. When it was working, the audio was crisp and clear, ranking up there with some of the best Gameloft has offered. Sound effects are adequate, and the background music has a suspense movie quality about it. Controls are pretty much standard by now: move with the virtual pad in the lower left, aim by swiping the right side of the screen, and tap the fire button to shoot. The option to use the gyroscope is also available. Buttons for crouching and zooming are neatly tucked into the bottom corners, while your weapon select and reload can be accessed from the upper right corner, with grenades/flash bangs accessible just below. Directing your squad is accomplished by tapping on context buttons that appear when an action can be performed. It should be noted that while the stealthy aspect of the game is the reason to play this one over the other FPS titles, there aren’t a lot of times where the stealth actions are necessary to progress. We found it just as useful to enter rooms with guns blazing and duke it out without trying to go unnoticed. The positioning of the buttons creates some problems like accidental discharges. Also, some of the context-specific buttons can be unresponsive, requiring us to reposition and tap several times to get them to work.
Replay value is very good, with a lengthy campaign and great multiplayer battles using either local or online wi-fi. Bluetooth can also be used, but it limits you to 2 players. Gameloft Live! integration allows for a nice achievement system, giving you additional goals to work toward. Gameloft continues to put out quality FPS titles that, regardless of their similarities, offer enough little differences to make us want to give them a go. Released at the typical $6.99 price point without a Free+IAP version (the latter method seems to have been a failed experiment and has since been discontinued), Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard is a very solid 4-Dimple shooter.
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard Review,