Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 Review – Breach and Clear the competition.

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2

Ubisoft, Ubisoft Montreal

Ps3, Xbox 360

In 2006 (2007 for Ps3 owners), Team Rainbow stormed their way onto next gen consoles with a bang. Thousands have continued to flank each other online everyday of their lives. Now, in 2008, the year of battling Nintendo characters, and Liberty City’s makeover, Ubisoft Montreal has decided to let everybody have another chance at liberation in Sin City. But is this rush-job showing the signs of it, or has the dev team been able to refine the experience?

The first Vegas left players on a bit of an edge, with the twist at the end that made men scream like girls in horror. Although the narrative design leaves a bit to be desired, what is here manages to put some closure to the overall story. The storytelling in Vegas 2 doesn’t do the first much justice, as it is much shorter, and less deep than the previous installment. It’s still fairly decent, but it isn’t as epic as something like Call of Duty.

Actually, Vegas 2 manages to be both a prequel and a sequel. The game starts off in the French mountains, as you play as a Rainbow operative named Bishop. And your squad just so happens to be Gabriel Nowak and Logan Keller ((OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH…) (If you haven’t played the first, then perhaps you should ask a friend to tell you the details)) After this first mission, the game fast forwards five years into the present, in Las Vegas. As Bishop, your team must stop a terrorist organization from destroying the city. This is occuring about the same time that Logan’s team is in Mexico (OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH…) There is a theme of trust throughout the game, but it never gets too deep.

For anybody who doesn’t know, Rainbow Six Vegas 2 is a first person shooter, with a cover system that switches into a third person view. You can command two other teammates, and they eventually become crucial, and a bit of a crutch to lean on. You can stack them up against a door, and send them in by certain commands. You can also tell them where to go, who to kill first and last. It’s a big help that these guys are incredible marksmen, and will almost always get a headshot. Vegas 2 is a very heavy tactical shooter. Patience is really needed, because if you run out into the open, it only takes one burst of fire to bring you down.

Holding the left trigger allows you to put your back against any wall or object that you can use to take cover. You have the ability to lean out to either side, or to look over cover to shoot enemies. This works amazingly well, and is very smooth. It’s a main aspect of the gameplay that is easy to get used to.

However, this is a sequel. And sequels are supposed to have either a ton of new content, or be a total refinement of the previous game. Luckily, Vegas 2 is a TOTAL refinement of the original, and even happens to sneak in a little new content.

First of all, graphically, Vegas 2 is absolutely gorgeous compared to the first game. The foggy look and dull textures have all been tossed for a much more sharp, vibrant game. The character models all look much more alive in their animations, and lip syncing, although still only par, is better than before. The framerate is solid throughout, lighting is way more convincing, and the blood splattering is like a Jackson Pollack painting. Absolutely beautiful. Without a doubt, this is one of the best looking shooters out there, surprisingly running on the aging Unreal 3 Engine.

Sound quality is also enhanced. The laughably bad voice acting of the first has been thrown away for a more professional and believable outing. The voice are still very out noised by the effects, making it difficult to hear your team speak at times. It’s a good thing that the sound effects are excellent.

The controls are a lot smoother and quick this time around. Everything moves much faster, while still managing to keep the tactical side of things in check. Some of the button mapping has been changed, but once you get the hang of it, it’s well done. You can now tell you team to throw a grenade somewhere, and now with the simple act of holding down a button, you can sprint. Evading grenades is now possible, the game is quickened significantly, everybody’s happy.

The original’s crushing difficulty has been scaled back a lot. Apparently, sometime between 2006 and now, Ubisoft discovered the “easy difficulty”. This opens the game up more to casual gamers, and the game is much more streamlined than before. Enemy AI is better than before, but in this difficulty, they aren’t so great at shooting.

There are some attention grabbing set pieces thrown in for good measure. There’s a scene where your team is outside of an arena, while the place is gassed, thousands of people are dying on the other side of the door, and you can’t do anything about it. You watch one of your teammates fall apart in horror. You bow your head. These are really capturing, and save the lackluster story from destruction.

Stealing a little from Call of Duty 4, you now are able to shoot through cover. Plaster, couches, sheet metal, other people. It adds to the realism of the game, and to be honest, is COD 4’s only rival in terms of realism and enjoyment.

The 8 hour journey takes you across all parts of Sin City, and some parts of Nevada. There’s no shortage of slot machines to shoot up, but there are less of them than in the original. It’s not really disappointing, but I must wonder “Where’s Vegas?”.

Aside from the campaign, this IS a Rainbow Six game, and it has the multiplayer to back it up. There are about a dozen maps, with several different team based game modes. There’s traditional deathmatches, and attack and defend, but there are several other game modes that utilize the power of the team. There’s one where there is a leader on each team that must be escorted to an extraction point, and the team loses if he dies. The core gameplay is simply so much fun, and the server and game options are so deep, that there is more than enough here to justify its price tag.

There’s the new character system, called ACES. It’s an upgrade system, where basically, everything you do on or offline effects your stats. You no longer need to be online to achieve new badges and ranks. This is great, considering I’m now a higher rank in Vegas 2 than Vegas 1 already.

There’s also the terrorist hunt arcade mode, which you can now do with a squad, online or off. Enemies are much more evasive and smarter here, and it’s a great place to train.

Overall, I enjoyed Rainbow Six Vegas 2 a great deal more than the original. Nearly every aspect is totally revamped for the better. Whether its some top notch single player gaming, or PWNING your buddies online, its no gamble to pick this one up. Team Rainbow always wins.

~ by smithbubbajones on May 3, 2008.

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