Yesterday the popular Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six series made its debut on the App Store with Rainbow Six Shadow Vanguard [$6.99] courtesy of Gameloft. We’ve given the game some thorough play time since then, and have come away pretty satisfied with how the series has translated to the iOS platform. The single player component offers some enjoyable tactical gameplay, but the part of the game we were most excited about - the online cooperative play - turned out pretty disappointing. Even still, Rainbow Six Shadow Vanguard is a competent FPS that’s in line with Gameloft’s previous offerings, and should satisfy fans of the series’ recent console titles looking for a fix on the go.

The single player campaign in Rainbow Six Shadow Vanguard spans 11 missions as your 3-man team works to take out a terrorist organization. The premise and storyline bits are fairly cliché, but the missions themselves are quite fun. Each mission is pretty lengthy and features several different ways to go about completing your goals, which requires much more forethought on how to approach them than your typical FPS game. You have two AI teammates in the game, a recon specialist and a demolitions expert, that you can direct them to take cover at specific areas or clear rooms for you. Taking cover behind walls or using a snake camera to peek under doors to see what’s awaiting you on the other side is imperative, as just barging your way through the game trying to run-n-gun will usually result in a speedy death, especially on harder difficulties.

The online portion of Rainbow Six Shadow Vanguard is pretty good as well. It features online deathmatch or team deathmatch with up to 10 players spread across 5 specially designed multiplayer maps. There’s also an online cooperative mode that lets you team up with 2 other players and have a go at the single player campaign missions. This mode sounded extremely promising when it was announced, as there isn’t really anything akin to that on the iPhone yet. While it’s a technically sound mode, the lack of any sort of chat feature sucks the fun out of the experience. Playing cooperatively means being on the same page as your teammates, and without the ability to communicate with each other this mode loses almost all meaning.

Both the single player and multiplayer portions of Rainbow Six Shadow Vanguard let you earn experience for killing enemies which can then be used to unlock additional weapons and equipment. This is a nice touch and gives you more motivation besides just merely completing levels, though the extent of items and customization is lacking compared to something like Modern Combat 2 [$6.99/Lite/HD]. The graphics look quite good for the most part, though not mind blowing. It utilizes the same engine used in countless other Gameloft titles, giving it a somewhat generic look. Controls also work well though they can feel cramped on the tiny screen and there is very few options to suit them to your liking.

Overall, Rainbow Six Shadow Vanguard gets the job done. It’s not nearly as deep or strategic as the console titles it’s modeled after, but it feels similar enough that it should win over fans of the series or those looking for a more tactical FPS experience. The competitive online modes are very good, though not quite as strong as those found in N.O.V.A. 2 [$6.99/HD] or Modern Combat 2. The cooperative play may serve you well while playing locally with some friends so you can discuss tactics with each other, but playing this online is largely forgettable. Surprisingly, the campaign is actually the star of the show in Rainbow Six Shadow Vanguard, and is much more engaging than the campaigns in either of the previously mentioned titles.

The best way to sum up Rainbow Six Shadow Vanguard is that it’s very competent in every area, but far from the killer app that many might have hoped it would be. Players seem to be enjoying the title in our forums, and if you’re looking for an entertaining new FPS experience then Rainbow Six Shadow Vanguard is a pretty solid choice.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Extol4000

    It's disappointing that the online mode isn't what it should be. I'll be waiting for this one to go down in price before I check it out. Hopefully they'll come out with a lite version. I have to admit, I am spoiled by Modern Combat 2; if a first person shooter is not of that caliber, I'm not interested.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CQ3BA7IFRCE53BQUFGCHWPEIQA Lancaster

      I definitely wasn't a fan of the online mode either.  There's a host of FPSs to model the online play after but they failed anyway. HCG diet

  • Iamsymbian

    This really shines on the latter lavels. The first few levels are meh but after mission five the game becames true to being a tactical shooter.

  • Iamsymbian

    This really shines on the latter lavels. The first few levels are meh but after mission five the game becames true to being a tactical shooter.

  • http://twitter.com/BulkSlash BulkSlash

    I've quite enjoyed it so far. It's got a few bugs- sometimes the main character won't go into cover, he'll just wobble about and sometimes when in cover I get stuck and can't fire a weapon, leave cover or do anything. Usually have to restart the last checkpoint when that happens.

    Also I haven't been able to attack a room from two different doorways yet either. Maybe I haven't unlocked that feature (you can't tell your team mates who to target until mission 4) but so far you can only tell your team to enter and clear a room by waiting at the same door as them.

    Aside from those issues, it's been pretty good fun and it's not jerky like a lot of Gameloft games usually are either.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/hisdivineorder HisDivineOrder

    Can't say I'm surprised about Co-op. It makes sense about the voicechat not being present making it seem desolate (compared to what we're used to on other gaming platforms), but I don't think voicechat on iPhone/iPod Touch is there yet. Not sure if they can release the iPad version without it, though. The iPad is clearly becoming the console experience for iOS gamers, imo.

    Either way, I imagine the lag on the 3G would be pretty unreliable for co-op + voicechat on an extremely portable device. On the other hand, getting together with your buddies to scream out commands in person with your three iPad/iPhones with wireless N lag would probably work rather well.

  • Seriously?

    Competent use of the word competent.

  • Aaa

    Looks great but I want an hd iPad edition, then I'll buy it.

  • Leo Tard

    So far I've been pretty disappointed with this. It feels too much like Brothers-in-arms 2, rather than MC2. Even the cover system sucks a bit - One of the things that I liked about this on the XBox was the ability to pop out from behind cover in multiple directions (i.e. pop up over a box, or peek out from the side). You can't do that on this game. Also, the aim assist feature is really annoying, and I can't seem to find a way of turning it off.

    Still good, just no where near as good as I was hoping.

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  • René

    Meh. No kidding! This games lag worse than anything I've tried on my phone! Especially the rainy map

  • Louis

    lol

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Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six®: Shadow Vanguard Reviewed by Jared Nelson on . Rating: 3.5