Players: 1 to 4 Player Game | Release Date: 09/06/05 | Genre: Shooter
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six franchise has been well loved by its fans for many years now. When a developer is able to release multiple versions of a game over several years, they normally do not change the gameplay up significantly. This keeps the fan base happy and growing. The past several versions of the franchise have seen the action switch to more of an arcade friendly form of gameplay. This makes the action more and more assessable to the casual gamer who enjoys run and gun gameplay. Unfortunately this also causes the core audience to quickly lose interest. This is the case with the latest Rainbow Six.
Visually the series looks better than ever on the Xbox. There are wide-open areas that have plenty of detail all throughout the 14 missions and player animations are very smooth. For the most part, there aren't any framerate issues either--besides for a few hiccups every now and then.
While the graphics and presentation are great, the gameplay is where Lockdown takes a small step backwards in the series. The game tries to balance being both a tactical shooter and a run and gun action game at the same time. One of the main elements of the gameplay is clearing out locked doors. To do this, you order one of your team members to open the door and then clear it. The problem is that there is a heartbeat sensor showing you the enemies and hostages that are beyond the door. This takes away any challenge of not knowing until you get into the room and goes a long way into taking the challenge out of the series. That is not to say the game is easy. But the AI tries its best to make it as easy as possible. Enemy units are horrible shots. But don't get too cocky... Your men aren't any better. Unless you go in and take an initiative in killing the enemy, expect for some long shooting rounds.
A new addition to Rainbow Six: Lockdown are the sniper missions. This allows you to control Dieter Weber and pick off enemy units while the strike team goes in. The better you perform--the easier it will be for the strike team to complete the mission. Being a sniper goes along well with the shift towards an arcade style of gameplay. But in this case, that style of play fits in well and is a nice change of pace.
As always, the biggest star of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Lockdown is the multiplayer mode. Playable offline, via split screen, or via Xbox Live, players will compete in a variety of modes like Retrieval, Team Deathmatch, and Rivalry. Up to sixteen characters can participate via Xbox Live.
Overall I enjoyed Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Lockdown. The gameplay modes seem less fun for the single player than in previous versions. This is probably due to the shift in gameplay philosophy as we spoke about above. However, if you are a big fan of this series, the game is worth picking up for multiplayer alone. This is where Rainbow Six has always shined and continues to do so. In the future, I hope Red Storm gives a tactical and arcade mode so players aren't forced to go through a watered down single player experience.