App Review: Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard

Rainbow Six, written in 1998; authored by Tom Clancy himself. This story follows the fictional counter-terrorist unit called Rainbow. Following the release of the book, Red Storm Entertainment released the first installment of the Rainbow Six franchise. This franchise would come to be a very successful, well-known game lineup. The Rainbow Six franchise still exists today and is developed and published by Ubisoft. Instead of creating a clone of this great, action-strategic first-person shooter, Gameloft decided to bring the actual Rainbow unit to the iPhone in Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard ($6.99†). It is published with permission from Ubisoft. This is a great game, that lives up to its franchise name, with action-packed gameplay, awing graphics, superb audio effects, abundant replay value, and an overall big bang for your buck.

Gameplay and Controls

Rainbow Six offers players fast-paced, strategic gameplay that will not only test players’ shooting skills, but will also push their patience and intellectual minds. This is expected from a game that hold the Rainbow name though.

There is really no central story to the game. I see it more as an anthology. Each mission contains it’s own story. Each story involves a different terrorist group that is located in a different place. None of these stories are connected in anyway really. Even with these aspects, the story is still great. You are basically a member of the Rainbow team going through various missions.

When you start the game, you are only give an assault riffle and a pistol. Coupled with the guns are 2 types of frags. No attachments, just the standalone guns. As you progress through the game, you gain experience at the end of each mission. This experience allows you to advance through army rankings starting as a private. As you are promoted, you unlock new guns, attachments for the guns, and explosives.

The actual gameplay is fast paced and action packed. You lead a group of 3, including yourself, to go and stop terrorist in specialized missions . The missions progress and get harder in difficulty. There are a total of four difficulty levels, Rainbow being the hardest that must be unlocked.

Choices, choices, and more choices. That is what this game is all about. When approaching doors, you have four choices to make. You can also do a mix of them. You can just open the door. You can open the door and have your teammates clear the room. Also, you can use the snake cam to look into the room and tag enemies for execution. The final thing you can do is open the door and throw a flash bang. All of these making the game that much more tactical.

You have 4 choices when you approach the door; not just “open” like most FPS games have

To add to your choices, you can take cover. When you take cover, how you take cover, and when you choose to advance can be the difference between life and death. This also pushes your patience as you can advance anytime you want, but when you do it too early, you’ll be bombarded with enemies. You want to be both patient and swift, which is a difficult thing to do. The cover system is great in the game. When in cover mode, you switch from first-person view to third-person view. This allows you to see your enemies. The enemies are also smarter as they move and take cover as well. The other thing is that, unlike Shadow Guardian, you aren’t invincible when covering. You can still get shot and die. Keep that in mind. This makes the game much more realistic. Gameloft did a great job with this cover system.

The controls in this game are really nicely designed and feel natural to the iOS platform. Gameloft has really defined what FPS controls will be like with their control scheme used in so many of their games. This game’s controls go as follows:

  • Joystick: Moves your character and allows you to strife
  • Looking around: Swiping your finger in the middle of the screen allows you to look around
  • Crouch and Stand button: This button allows you to crouch and stand. What more is there to say? It’s located in the lower left-hand corner of the screen.
  • Aim button: Zooms in to aim or uses the iron sight of the gun. This is located in the lower right hand corner of the screen.
  • Fire button: Allows you to fire. Press it to fire one round, hold to fire multiple. You can also drag your finger around to aim while firing.
  • Run and cover button: This button will allow you to run if there is nothing to take cover behind. If there is something to take cover behind, it’ll have your character take cover. This is located in the bottom of the screen towards the center.
  • Grenade button: Pressing this button throws a grenade. If you swipe it, you can cycle through your other explosives you have with you.
  • Weapon button: Tap it once to reload. Double tap it to silence, or unsilence, it. Swiping it allows you to switch between your primary and secondary weapons.

The controls are great, and I do like them. However, I did find myself pressing the fire button by accident more than I was comfortable with. This really gave away my location multiple times. Besides that, there is no really in-depth customization of controls in this game. Something that I did see in some other games like Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance 2. Even with the small problems, they don’t affect the game that much.

The controls of the game along with the built-in cover system

This game also supports 2 multiplayer modes, co-op and deathmatch. In co-op mode, you can team up with 2 other people to go through the campaign missions together. In deathmatch, you and up to 9 other people can go through the standard free-for-all deathmatch or team deathmatch. Both of these modes support local play and online play. This is a great add as you can play with your friends, and if you don’t have any, play with the cheaters other players online.

Gameloft did an amazing job with the gameplay and controls with Rainbow Six. I only ran into a few minor problems that didn’t take me away from the overall experience at all. This game is a joy to play. The fact that it fits my favorite FPS genre also helps it out.

Gameplay and Controls: ★★★★½

Graphics and Presentation

If there is anything that I can count on Gameloft to do right time and time again with quality in mind, it is the graphics. Gameloft has gone a long way since the 2.x days and the graphics in Rainbow Six are just spectacular.

The textures, details, lighting, and fog effects are really at another level. No, these are not Infinity Blade graphics, but they are still amazing nonetheless. Everything is clear as day and are extremely detailed as far as I can see. Anything that is supposed to be clear is clear. Everything that isn’t, well it isn’t. These graphics were enough to leave me in a sense of awe. It just makes me think what Gameloft can do with the Unreal Engine.

The fog effects in the game are a nice add to create a more realistic atmosphere

The menus are clean and smooth. They are nicely nicely organized which makes for simple, quick navigation. The buttons are large enough for big-fingered individuals and laid out very spaciously. The menu layout is one that we’ve seen before, it’s nothing new. The important thing is that they work.

Gameloft has reused the menu layout from games like Mortal Combat 2

I really never see anything wrong with Gameloft’s graphics and menu setups. They stick to what works, and there is nothing wrong with that. This game is no different, the graphics look gorgeous and the menus are organized.

Graphics and Presentation: ★★★★★


I’m a firm believer that there is a delicate triangle that separates a good game from a great game. This triangle consists of gameplay, graphics, and audio. All three of these aspects must compliment each other well. We already know that the gameplay and graphics compliment each other very well, so what does this game sound like?

Well, when you start the game, you are presented with the background music (BGM). The BGM does a great job setting the tone and mood for the game. The BGM kicks in during gameplay in the more action-packed scenes. It makes the gameplay that already has lots of action have even more. This is definitely a good thing. The BGM gives you a sense of mission; you know something is going to happen.

This game offers users a very nice voice-over. Nothing is too over the top, and everyone does sound different. Colombians sound like Colombians because of the accents involved. The voice-overs do add a nice professional finish to the game as a whole.

As for the actual sound effects. They are abundant and detailed. You can hear every gun shot, step, and explosion. Not only can you hear them, you can hear where they came from. This of course requires a good set of headphones because a mono speaker won’t be able to reproduce this effect. Sounds are required in the game as they will be used to figure out where enemies are when you can see them, yet they are firing at you.

The audio in this game complements the gameplay and graphics very well. Together, all three aspects come together to create a great game. The BGM adds more of a sense of action to an already action packed game. The voice-overs are nice, and there are a plethora of sound effects are detailed.

Audio: ★★★★★

Replay Value

No serious action game has ever given me the confidence to give it 5 stars in this category before. They are either missing multiplayer, cooperative play (co-op), or something else. Well, this game offers it all and tries to go above and beyond what any game has ever done in this category, and it all works.

This game offers local multilayer, over both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, along with online multiplayer in 2 modes of play.

  • Co-Op: You and up to 2 other friends, or strangers, get together to play through one of the eleven campaign missions in the game. I rarely ever see a co-op mode in any game on the App Store. I rarely see an online co-op mode ever. A really nice add by Gameloft to add more replay to it.
  • Deathmatch: This is Gameloft’s classic 10-man deathmatch that made Modern Combat 2 (MC2) so successful. The maps are large and players can choose to either do the standard free-for-all deathmatch or a team deathmatch. Let’s hope this doesn’t get littered with cheaters like MC2 has.

This game offers 2 modes of multiplayer: co-op and deathmatch

For those who want to beat this game fully, you’re in for a treat; and a long one too. There are a total of 4 pages of achievements you must finish to beat the game 100%. Each page has 36 achievements. That’s a total of 144 total achievements to get. Each achievement does get you experience to get better equipment, so they are worth going through if you play casually. None of these are done in vain.

This game has four chock-full pages of achievements for users to go through

This game has everything I’ve ever asked for in terms of replay value. Multiplayer, check. Local and online modes, check. Co-op, check. Online co-op that I never asked for, check. Achievements that actually do something, check. What else can I realistically ask for? If I could give it more than 5 stars, I honestly would knowing how much further Gameloft went with the replay value.

Replay Value: ★★★★★

Value For Money

For the cost of 7 dollars†, you can own a copy of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard. For the cost of 7 dollars, you are robbing Gameloft of their hard work that was put into this game. At the cost of 7 dollars, it isn’t even enough considering all the work put into this game. I’d still recommend it if it were 15, even 20 dollars (average cost of a Greatest Hits PS2 game), because it’d be worth it.

Rainbow Six is a high quality game that offers amazing gameplay, graphics, and audio that work in-sync with each other to deliver the best gaming imaginable. It only offers everything in terms of replay value. This game will keep you busy, just don’t let it become a distraction. I really can’t find any major negative thing to say about this game. Not one, and this is actually a first for me. I can normally find one thing that I think the game would need. Not with this game.

Value For Money: ★★★★★

Final Thoughts

Gameloft has made many must-have games in terms of FPS. Modern Combat 2 for an army-based FPS, Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance 2 for a scientific-fiction FPS. Now Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard is tagged with the must-have name. It is the go-to for a tactical FPS, my personal favorite genre for FPS. A must-have, get it now.

Final Scores

  • Gameplay and Controls: ★★★★½
  • Graphics and Presentation: ★★★★★
  • Audio: ★★★★★
  • Replay Value: ★★★★★
  • Value for your Money: ★★★★★

Overall Score

All prices are in US currency unless stated otherwise.
This review was written by the Review Team. Overall scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
All applications and accessories were purchased at their respective prices unless stated otherwise.

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