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Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard – hands-on

We get our hands on the game before it hits the AppStore tomorrow (17th)…

As a seasoned vet of Rainbow Six games, Jose will be reviewing the game this week, going through both multiplayer and single player modes. Until then here are some early impressions of the game, including a 10 minute video of the opening level.

rsix-2The game starts off much like any Gameloft shooter, with the obligatory training mode. This of course can be skipped, but I’d stick with it even if you are familiar with the franchise on consoles, as the touch screen implementation will no doubt differ.

Utilising the standard virtual analogue and swipe screen setup of all Gameloft’s shooters, you move your guy around in first person via the left stick, and look around and aim by swiping/dragging around the screen. As you would expect this setup works very well. Shooting, much like N.O.V.A, is handled by tapping the action button, and iron sights can be raised and lowered by tapping the target icon in the lower right hand corner. Weapons are selected and tweaked using the button/slider in the top right of the screen, where you can change weapons by swiping, reload by tapping, and equip your silencer by double tapping. At the bottom of your screen are duck and cover controls, which puts you in a 3rd person viewpoint to asses your surroundings and shoot from cover more accurately.

rsix-3The rest of the controls are all context sensitive and appear as overlays in the game world itself. So, for example opening doors, and using the snake cam. Of course Rainbow six differs from most first person shooters, certainly on iOS at any rate, buy including your team, or unit. Again, using context sensitive buttons you can tap on icons around the environment to order your guys to take up position, as well as open doors and go in all guns blazing. Despite the cramped screen of the iPhone, this control system works well, and I was able to get through missions with my team intact. Whether I feel the same way after playing later levels remains to be seen.

While newbies to the franchise will no doubt lap up the single player, I think the die-hards will jump straight into the multiplayer. Both Co-op and Death-match are available. I jumped into a few team death-matches and successfully took out opponents with a mix of run and gun and stealth. The maps have plenty of places to hide, which is both a good and bad thing (gotta hate camping snipers!). Co-op does exactly what you’d expect and lets you play through the campaign levels with friends, though unless you use Skype there is no way to discuss tactics vocally. Having said that, having a real human team member will always beat out the computer AI, even if they do prove to be a bit unpredictable.

rsix1While it will be sometime before we start seeing Gameloft titles utilising the Unreal Engine as announced during GDC (probably Modern Combat 3), Rainbow Six certainly looks the part. With many of the levels taking place in more cramped environments such as buildings etc, the graphics engine doesn’t need to struggle so much with draw distance, allowing it to be put to good use rendering more geometry and textures at a smooth frame-rate. Having said that the engine is beginning to look tired here and there with a distinct lack of high-end lighting and shadows, giving it more of an Xbox 1 feel, than that of the NextGen look.

The game is certainly looking promising from my limited time with it. Look out for a more detailed impression of the game in our full review. In the meantime check out 10 minutes of the first level in action below.

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  • http://twitter.com/ProNoob13 ProNoob

    Seems kinda complicated, to play a splinter-cell like game using your thumbs on a touchscreen.

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