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Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 Review
developer: Ubisoft Montreal
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Mar 18, 08 (released)
|» All About Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 on ActionTrip|
With Vegas, Ubisoft's Rainbow Six tactical shooter franchise made a considerable leap forward, especially in comparison to earlier titles like Lockdown. We've been gearing up for Vegas 2 for more than a year and a half and there were a lot of worries in terms of how the development team would handle it without fiddling too much with the core gameplay (which worked fine in the first Vegas game).
RS: Vegas provided a cornerstone for a solid next-gen action game. It seems the developers identified what should be done to make things more exciting for shooter fans without making radical changes to the familiar gameplay mechanics. This became clear very early on in Vegas 2 (the Xbox 360 version).
We started things off with the multiplayer and were pleased to encounter the standard range of options and modes, coupled with some new ones. Players are able to enjoy the Terrorist Hunt mode and the Story mode through Xbox Live - either in public or private sessions). There's also the Attack & Defend mode (I'm sure there's no need to explain that), as well as Total Conquest where players must seize control of satellite transmitters and defend them until the specified time runs out. There is, of course, a chance to participate in traditional modes such as Team Deathmatch and Deathmatch. Tweaking game options is possible every step of the way, allowing you and your friends to create the type of game you want to play.
With all this on offer, you can bet you'll have as much fun with the multiplayer in Vegas 2 as you did in the previous game. The best part is that Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 is accessible and fun for both experienced players and new-comers alike. True enough, we did experience occasional frame-rate drops during online matches, other than that it was a fun ride, overall.
Okay, we've established that the developers haven't changed the core gameplay, which is fine. Still, this is a full sequel and as always we've been fed the same old marketing crap about experiencing a better game, with innovative gameplay moments and so on. No matter how you look at it, there isn't anything particularly fresh in this game. Fundamentally, it's the same experience as in the first Vegas. Also, some questionable design decisions have severely affected our overall opinion of the game. Should you happen to have a taste for co-op, chances are Vegas 2 will disappoint. Sure, they've included mission briefings and cinematics, which haven't been available before. However, for some reason, the campaign can no longer be played in 4-player co-op - it's just for two players now (Terrorist Hunt still has four-player co-op though). This means you'll be accompanied by two AI-controlled teammates. The utterly weird thing is that in co-op, only the host player has the ability to order AI troops. Should this player get gunned down, his companion cannot issue commands to AI teammates. Instead, player two must sit tightly until the host player respawns, making the second player feel rather useless.
Other innovations such as the ability to run and gather experience points made the game a bit more appealing. Running is essential when trying to position yourself adequately or when trying to avoid heavy cross-fire. XP won't affect the way your character behaves in combat, but it does help players define their style of play. This aspect of the game is called A.C.E.S. (Advanced Combat Enhancement Specialization). You're given certain ranks, depending on the way you take out enemies - 'Marksman' is awarded for long-range kills, CQB for short-range and so on. As your character gains experience (which is possible offline and online), an assortment of weapons and items is unlocked (you can purchase them at various points throughout the game). Coupled with the 360's Achievements, this facet of the game turns Vegas into a sort of score-driven experience, giving you an incentive to keep playing.
From here on we knew what to expect further down the road. Switching to the single-player experience also provided a mixed bag of blessings. The story puts you in the shoes of a Rainbow operative, known simply as Bishop, and the backdrop is (you guessed it) Las Vegas, 2010. You won't encounter particularly exciting story-telling, although there's quite enough information to make you finish the campaign.
The missions are challenging and the maps are very well designed, giving you the opportunity to approach every situation from a variety of angles. Key indoor areas can be breached via windows, after your team has rappelled against the building wall. Most rooms have several entry points and you can slide a Snake Cam below closed doors, tag enemies, and order your team to take them out. This system works without hindrance and we found that the AI is pretty responsive and intelligent in that sense.
Frustration ensued when AI teammates attempted to use the 'rappel' function. Sometimes they wait for no reason instead of sliding down the cord. Similarly, enemies tended to stop short and jam while running. Why? Don't know. No objects were in their path. So, yeah, chalk it up to rushed coding. It's good to see the developers have fixed some AI issue from the first game (such as enemies throwing smoke grenades and blocking their own view), albeit we didn't expect new problems to turn up.
Opens the possibility for different tactics in combat, the maps, cool new additions such as exp. points and running, engaging multiplayer modes;
Not much of a storyline, AI glitches, frame-rate issues, reduced multiplayer features since the last game, essentially the same experience as in the original R6: Vegas.