Ubisoft places their bets on a return trip to Vegas for one more round in the city that never sleeps. Once again terrorist activity escolates and its up the notorious Rainbow Six team to intervene and defuse the situation, ending the terrorist threat. Rainbow Six Vegas 2 is bigger, faster, and better suited for co-op action. It’s time to grab the ropes and repel into another exciting adventure in Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2.
The return to Vegas is a popular vacation destination for gamers who enjoyed last years outing to the brightly lit streets of Las Vegas. Following the original Rainbow Six Vegas, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2 (TCR6V2) takes the game away from Logan Keller from the original Vegas, depositing the gamer in the shoes of Bishop, a user created character that can be either male or female. Like Vegas, you will explore areas inside the casinos and further down the famed strip. Rural areas, strip clubs, back alleys, gymnasiums, monorails, refineries, and other areas have been wrapped into the storyline to provide another interesting Tom Clancy delivered plot line that concludes the events of the first game. Vegas 2 might be a little more close hitting if you have played the first Vegas game in the Rainbow Six series, however it’s not a necessity to enjoy the plot line in Vegas 2. Walking in the shoes of Bishop has its own appreciation as you hunt down the remorseless terrorists in Nevada.
Ubisoft Montreal treats gamers who have played the original Vegas title on their gamer profile and rewards them with an extra 2,500 XP, along with a few pieces of equipment. If you managed to be one of the elite in the last game you also get a ballistic face mask that can be unlocked later in the game with persistence. You might be wondering, did he just say “XP”? Well, yes... new in Vegas 2 is a blend of role-playing mixed into the shooter called ACES (Advanced Combat Enhancement and Specialization). The ACES arrangement rewards experience points to player during their game time to unlock new items during the game. ACES learning is divided into three parts being Marksman, CQB (Close-Quarter Battle) and Assault. Earning points in marksmen comes when you get a kill at long ranger, or when someone is repelling down a rope. You also get points for shooting runners, headshots or if you’re on a rope. For the CQB category you get three points for kills using blind fire, killing a visually impaired enemy, or point blank executions. Lastly, assault bonuses are given when you shoot through cover, killing turret gunners, using explosives or killing shielded enemies. The new idea of ranking of your character definitely adds a lot to the gameplay, however it has can be abused online, and off. The system isn’t totally perfect and has been jacked up by a lot of closed “stat boosting” servers. Not to complain, you spend you money, you should be able to play the game how you wish, but for a perfectly balanced game, Rainbow Six Vegas 2 might be abused by a few sinners.
Now this is Penetration
The list of weapons and equipment remains fairly close to the last Vegas game with a few exceptions. This includes a few old standards like the Italian Beretta 92, the Mac 11, Czech’s Skorpion vz.83, assault rifles G3KA4, G36C and the gun terrorists love and gamers hate, the AK-47, for new weapons 11 have been added which include three new SMGs, four Assault rifles, two sniper rifles, and the 500 Tactical Shotgun and the Walther P99 Pistol. The best part of Vegas 2 concerning the weapons is the improved bullet penetration and destructible environments. Thin walls, wooden door can be shot through along with objects like doors and crates which will be torn to shreds. Vehicles will also explode along with environmental objects that can help because some havoc when attacking. An easy target is to hit a fire extinguisher wait for the smoke to start spraying out and then throw down your thermal and slap that trigger finger. Ubisoft has also improved the effectiveness of using silencers that makes a notable difference to the gameplay. You loose a bit of damage, but you get the element of surprise.
Wanna Play Leap Frog?
Other improvements also include a beefed up team A.I. Now your team will react “smarter” without as many blind runs into oncoming fire, or miss communicated movements. This difference is notable as each team member will cover each other as they move to instructed spots in the game and act like more than extra gun firing zombies. The team A.I. in the original Vegas wasn’t bad, but it noticeably improved in Vegas 2. The enemies even seem smarter using ever inch of their surroundings to their advantage using shields, machine gun turrets and eve using thermal vision if they have. Those evil terrorist sure love their flash bang grenades this time around and have a better sense of using the same “leap frog” technique as your team. I didn’t find the game too challenging on the normal mode, if you’re looking for the elite Rainbow Six experience it must be played on realistic. Then the A.I. is fully running with every movement becoming much more critical to survival.
A Few New Tricks
Vegas 2 also has a new option to use a GPS like Thermal Scan. Using the Thermal Scan shows an overhead map of all the heat signatures in the area. It’s unlimited to use this option in the single player campaign, but you will have to be aware of its lengthy recycling time. For multiplayer and the Terrorist Hunt mode, the Thermal Scan option can not be used. Aside from GPS scanning, Bishop has the ability to sprint for a short amount of time which is a cool feature that helped me out a few spots in the game. With the added ability to sprint, upgrade team A.I, and the new duck and cover styled system, Rainbow Six is starting to resemble Gears of War, minus the mutant space army and blood spattered body sprays.
Across the three platforms multiplayer can handle up to 16 players on the Xbox 360. This time around players can join the action right away without waiting for a match to finish. It’s a toggable option that can be used at your digression. For those who wanted split screen online, it did happen so you have to enjoy the staying offline while having a friend over for some quick kills. Generally the multiplayer component remains the same with a few tweaks to the ranked matches, online menu system, and loading times. Ubisoft managed to add three new multiplayer modes that include Team Leader with the goal off protecting and eliminating each team’s leader. Once the team leader is eliminated re-spawns are cancelled and its up the team to finish the job, intern the Team Leaders kill can eliminate a player from the game no matter what. This makes this mode a fun and interesting choice online that usually tests the ability of the always cocky team leaders. Total Conquest is the other new online mode which is a revised version of Conquest mode focusing on capturing satellite transmitters. Lastly, A&D Demolition has been added to item extraction and hostage rescue. This is a team based exercise that has you working against another team defusing, or arming a bomb.
Besides these online modes you can also enjoy the storyline online or offline with 2 players and the Terrorist Hunt mode with 2 players offline, or up to four online. Terrorist Hunt is a lot of fun and even more with friends online. Each mode along with the original multiplayer modes added good range to Vegas 2, giving gamers everything they need to enjoy long hours online fragging. Online gaming in Vegas 2 is truly where Rainbow Six shines. Long after, and probably broken into sprints from the single player campaign you will likely enjoy your time online in Vegas 2. Gamers are generally a little more serious then other games with the same quality of online gaming like you would see out of Call of Duty 4. Actually to think of it, Vegas 2 is very comparable to Call of Duty 4, and should give gamers another option when considering gaming online.
Here Tango, Tango!
I’ve been mentioning the Terrorist Hunt mode a few times in this review to this point, so I should explain a bit about this mode. Returning the Vegas, the Terrorist Hunt mode throws you in a map with a number of terrorists to eliminate. No storyline, with options you can change. Terrorist hunt works as a fun side game to play, or a good warm up or training for online gaming or the single player game. I know people who love this mode as much as the normal game. If you’re up for a challenge the Terrorist Hunt is the best place to find it besides online clan play. In Vegas 2 you can now bring your team into the action, or go solo like in Vegas. The number of tangos and difficulty can also be changed. Best of all, now the terrorists don’t spawn anymore eliminating those miracle behind the back attacks. Ubisoft claim that each terrorist is placed on the map when you start in random locations, and so far I haven't seen any evidence against this. This doesn’t mean you can march straight head and just bowl over the enemies because they will use ever angle to get at you. They might not be spawning, but their still cunning. The Terrorist Hunt mode is a lot of fun and really helps the longevity of the time stay currant long past the single player campaign.
It's Brighter, But Not Much Better
If I have to find something negative to say about Rainbow Six Vegas 2 it would be its graphics. In Vegas 2 the graphic quality doesn’t seem to be improved too much from the last version of the game. I found, Vegas to be at a good level of quality, it’s definitely optimized better, but it could be improved when looking back at the ability of the other Tom Clancy games. Some of aspects of the game seem a little too artificial and could use a little more polished even though I enjoyed approach to more outdoor enviroments. All this criticism is with the hopes that Rainbow Six can return to being a leader in production values. The audio remains ever impressive as other Tom Clancy titles with a little tweaking, very impressive during gunfights.
I would also like a melee option. Now, I don’t like when games get out of hand with people running around hitting each other, but a behind execution function would be idea. The idea of stealth is only limited to certain degree. The stealth aspect gets dampened when I take the effort to sneak up behind an enemy to only release a loud bullet into the back of his head. Sure, a silenced shot is better, but it’s a gun shot when I could have done a knockout blow with the butt of my rifle.
Rainbow Six has come a long way from its debut in 1998. Through the countless expansion packs and re-birth of sorts on the console, Vegas 2 pushes the series in its own unique direction. Sure, the glory days of pre-planning a mission and rocking down evil terrorist as Ding Chavez might be over, but this new Rainbow Six version has finally made me a believer again. I wasn’t overly sold on the new more action approach in Lockdown in 2005, or even the Vegas original, but it seems the new quick paced, smooth out gameplay of Vegas 2 connects. Ubisoft Montreal has done a lot tweaking in the latest version of the long running franchise and it pays off. I hope the Rainbow Six series continues to innovative and envolve as we hopefully journey past the neon lights of Las Vegas.
Ubisoft's gamble pays off with its return trip to Las Vegas. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2 implemented ACES experience system, upgraded A.I., ready to go co-op and customizable lead character makes Vegas 2 more than a mild upgrade from the first. In basics, Rainbow Six Vegas 2 remains a close experience to the first vacation in sin city, but it's a lot more flushed out and refined. If you’re looking for a decent first person shooter with a focus on realism, online gaming, and co-op online and offline modes, Vegas 2 leads the pack offering more than enough game to satisfy the shooting fanatic.
Gameplay:8.5, Graphics:8, Sound:9, Innovation:8, Mojo:8.5 Final: 8.4 / 10