Tom Clancys Rainbow Six Vegas 2 Review
|Genre:||First Person Shooter|
|Release Date:||March 21st, 2008 (UK)|
|Reviewer:||Andy Hemphill (Bandit)|
The original Rainbow Six Vegas was a fantastic game, and easily one of the best Xbox 360 shooters of 2007. Combining decent graphics with frantic gameplay and a solid multiplayer, it ushered in a new era of tactical combat that many games are still aspiring to. Of course, it finished with a cliff-hanger ending that was all too predictable, so it was never going to be long before a sequel rolled off the ever-working forges of Ubisoft, and here we are.
Vegas 2 has you returning to the city of sin to do what Rainbow does best- kill terrorists, rescue hostages and save the day, all while not getting riddled yourself. So is anything really different in the sequel to its trend-setting predecessor?
To be honest, very little. But this is not necessarily a bad thing for Vegas 2 in the long run.
First off, you're no longer playing as the gruff-voiced Alpha team leader Logan Keller. This time, the character you're playing has only a surname: Bishop, and that person's appearance, weapons and kit choices are left entirely to the player's grand designs. Personally, I went for an ass-kicking chick, featuring lightweight armour, boonie hat and aviator sunglasses.
After that I customised the kit I would carry into battle, opting for an SSG Commando assault rifle and a shotgun for breaking doors, a PP7 for dangling off ropes and a few different types of explosive for blowing the hell out of everything in my path.
So, all kitted out, I led my team back into Vegas, but unlike the first time Rainbow had been sent there, this Vegas wasn't all glitz and glamour. The designers of Vegas 2 have gone with an altogether different side of sin city, focusing mainly on the industrial heart beating behind the dice and cards. So, rather than storming glitzy casino after glitzy casino, I found myself storming back-room warehouses or fast-roping into gritty nightclubs where the terrorists had already done their worst.
But, despite the new environments, weapons and customisation options, the core gameplay of Vegas 2 isn't really revolutionary. The same frantic gameplay is there, the same wall hugging, blind-firing and grenade hurling is there and the never ending wave of hire-a-grunts are there too, but nothing really grabbed me as being particularly new.
However, that isn't to say that there aren't changes to Vegas 2. As aforementioned, your character is fully customisable; as are the weapons and kit you carry with you. But for this edition of Rainbow Six, if you want to get your hands on some of the cooler toys in the team's arsenal, you have to rank up, both in the military, and in the "Advanced Combat Enhancement and Specialization" (ACES) system.
ACES is a new addition to Rainbow Six, and allows your character to specialise in three different areas of combat: Marksman, Close-Quarters Battle (CQB) and Assault. As you go through the game, killing terrorists in different ways raises your ACES rank accordingly and allows you to unlock weapons, armour and camoflage matching your speciality.
So, if you spend a lot of your time in game sniping from afar (as I do) then you'll be rewarded with a new sniper rifle, lighter armour and flashy camoflage schemes. If you prefer getting up close and personal with a shotgun, further explosive goodies can be yours. For tactical players, killing terrorists with a breaching charge, while dangling from a rappel point or by using flashbangs earns you Assault points, giving you higher powered weapons, more urban camo styles and eventually the tactical shield- which you can use to advance under in relative safety while looking out through a hole in the front.
Coupled with the ACES system is another acronym- PES, or Persistant Elite Creation. This system allows the player to keep their characters' skills, weapons and rank for every type of game that Vegas 2 has to offer. So, you could build up your rank in the single player campaign, then jump online for a couple of rounds of team deathmatch, and then take on the terrorist hunt mode and keep your character's rank and gear across the entire scope of the game. This keeps you ranking up pretty quickly, unlocking more gear and camo as you go.
Multiplayer-wise, the game isn't all that different to the first Vegas. The game features several new maps for online play and the addition of a sprint button has made the game a lot faster (especially as you can sprint sideways.) There are also several co-op modes, including the ever-popular terrorist hunt and the co-op campaign, which allows another gamer to take the role of Knight, Bishops' teammate (and chess references abound.) One major change to the co-op campaign is the addition of the AI characters, which can be controlled by Bishop, making it a lot easier to take on the bad guys.
The AI in Vegas 2 is a lot sharper than its predecessor. Your teammates work together like real soldiers, moving from cover to cover, and they're both pretty good shots. While they still get a little confused now and then, they spend a lot less time on the floor in a puddle of blood this time round as they've finally figured out how to crouch behind cover and not to stand in the middle of a wide open space when surrounded by enemies.
The enemy AI has also been given an overhaul. They constantly call to each other and work co-operatively to flank and eliminate your smaller team. Some of their calls can even be quite amusing; one terrorist was advancing towards my team from the right, and yelled "cover me" to another terrorist hidden behind a wall down the hall. That terrorist leaned out and yelled "F**k you! Cover me!", I was laughing so hard I never saw the sniper that killed me.
Overall, Rainbow Six Vegas 2 is a very good sequel to the first iteration of the game, but it's not as revolutionary as it could have been. While some of the tweaks make the game run smoother, such as the sprint button, ACES and the ability to get your AI team to throw grenades where you ask them too, there's nothing particularly new and exciting that's been added to the game.
A solid sequel, but not the new chapter that fans are really looking for.
- The sprint button makes the game a lot more frantic
- A chance to explore the rear end of the City of Sin
- Solid, enjoyable gameplay with some nice moments
Not so good stuff
- Nothing really stands out as 'new'
- Frame rate lags a little now and then
- Awful vertical split-screen play, and no way to change it to horizontal
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