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There are times when owning just a PS2 would make you feel like a second-class citizen. Sure, you get your share of great exclusives – a God of War, a Gran Turismo. True, you get just about every third-party game going, and a few in advance of other consoles. But you do so knowing that you’re nearly always getting the worst looking version going, the one with the dingy, low-res graphics; the patience-stretching load times; the imprecise analogue controls; the one without the flashy online features. You might be in the majority, but you could be left feeling like you have missed out.
In the past, Rainbow Six could leave PS2 gamers feeling like this for good reason. Look at any review of Rainbow Six 3 going, and most will include something on the lines of “Get the Xbox version if you can.” The initial PC Version was still full of the tedious route-planning stuff that used to put off the adrenalin-fiend contingent, and the Gamecube version suffered from a lack of online play, but most people were convinced that the PS2 incarnation didn’t measure up – it just didn’t have the same level of polish. If you wanted a tactical shooter, Ghost Recon and SOCOM seemed better bets by far.
For the most part, Rainbow Six: Lockdown doesn’t suffer the same fate. It’s still missing a few features of the Xbox version, but there’s a feeling that this time around, Ubisoft have tried hard to make every system feel special.
Like Rainbow Six 3, this is a very console-friendly tactical shooter. You have a squad to command, but it’s all kept as simple as humanly possible. The targeting reticule on-screen also doubles for commands, chosen using the D-pad from a context sensitive menu that appears when you focus on a corner or a door. Target the latter, for example, and your three troops can be ordered to open the door and then clear the room (note: this means shoot anyone they see, not tidy up), blast the door open then clear, shotgun the hinges then clear, or open then throw a grenade, or one of a number of other combinations. Even better, they won’t do anything until you press a button to send the ‘Go’ code. This means you can get them to enter some rooms from one entrance while you storm in heroically from the other side. It’s fairly simple, but it works.