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Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas Review

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Vegas is one of the year’s most impressive shooters.

★★★★★

After missing the point with 2005’s Rainbow Six: Lockdown - sacrificing the tense tactical gunplay in favour of balls-out blasting and outrageous pyrotechnics - Ubisoft has sensibly gone back to basics for this latest instalment of Tom Clancy machismo. And in refining what made Rainbow Six a revolutionary experience in the first place, Vegas is one of the year’s most impressive shooters and, for Xbox 360 owners in particular, one of the console’s greatest triumphs.

While the game remains true to its roots and will feel familiar to fans, what marks Vegas out from its predecessors is the refined controls; ordering your team-mates to open doors, defuse bombs or choose terrorist targets is only a matter of clicking a button, allowing you to quickly and seamlessly concoct elaborate plans and get the drop on the bad guys. Moreover, as the number of AI-controlled squad members has been reduced from three to two, it gives you more room to manoeuvre and avoids the frustrating bottlenecks at doorways that plagued earlier incarnations.

The new health system – modelled on games like Halo and Call Of Duty, where you health slowly regenerates if you shelter from enemy fire – also makes for faster-flowing battles, and the fact the controls encourage you to use cover and take pot-shots at rivals from behind walls and doorways means the level of realism is astounding, making it feel as if you’re part of a real firefight.

The multiplayer online co-operative and competitive modes also help round out this sublime shooter, and with dozens of different ways to tackle each challenge, this is one game you can play over and over again without seeing the same thing twice.