Ubisoft are back and back in style. With their first explosive entry into Vegas back in December ’06 which picked up numerous awards, including ‘Best 360 First Person Shooter’ and ‘Best Xbox Live Game.’ It comes as no shock why Rainbow Six Vegas 2 is in such demand. Is Vegas 2 worth the gamble?
Rainbow Six Vegas 2 takes place before, during and after the events of the original Vegas. Your story begins in Pic Des Pyrenees, France. You’ll assume the command of Bishop and have your first briefing by no other than D – Ding Chavez. A high-priority assignment has been given to Team Rainbow as an EU (European Union) observatory has been seized by enemy forces. Wherever there’s trouble Team Rainbow aren’t far behind and this is no exception. Rainbow Six has always been about tactical situations, taking advantage of unaware foes and moving in to position stealthily, so when Monroe (your negotiator) is sent in to divert attention from your teams entry, it’s your chance to move fast and silent beneath the cold metal grating to get in to position undetected.
‘ONLY A TRUE LEADER PLUNGES INTO THE DARK WOODS OF DEFEAT AND EMERGES INTO THE LIGHT OF VICTORY’
The orginal Rainbow Six Vegas had the formula of do a mission, watch a cut scene, complete another mission, watch a cut scene. Vegas 2 has little cut scenes as all the story takes place during your current missions to keep you on the edge of your seat the whole way through the game with little to no downtime.
The Artificial Intelligence in Rainbow Six has improved slightly; unfortunately your team still feels the urge to run off or stay behind and take their chances on the roulette table.
Ubisoft’s first instalment in the Vegas series gave us a brief but exciting taste of character customization which had not really been seen on the Xbox 360. Vegas 2 doesn’t disappoint, you can now take your customized character on and offline, so the helmet, goggles, heavy armour, tactical glasses and shiny black boots (they better be shiny soldier) can now follow your progression through your single and multi-player experiences. This is a fantastic feature as you now become attached to your character.
Keeping on the theme of taking your offline data online and vice versa, Rainbow Six Vegas 2 employs a whole new way of levelling up. Whereas before you would only achieve points and ranks from playing in multiplayer game sessions, Vegas 2 now lets you earn XP (Experience Points) offline with the new A.C.E.S (Advanced Combat Enhancement and Specialization) system which is split up in to three sections:
- CQB (Close Quarter Battles)
You’ll be able to track all your stats via the Start button – A.C.E.S. You can earn XP by killing enemies – the more difficult the kill the more points you will earn. The clever A.C.E.S system recognizes distance, position and what rifle you’re using at the time. The more kills you achieve with the same weapon class will allow you to rank up and in return will unlock new rifles in that category. So for example killing people at long range will increase your assault statistics whereas killing an enemy at close range will increase your CQB statistics. As your experience increases, your aim gets tighter, and your overall skill increases.
While the overall video presentation is alot more accomplished in Vegas 2, it still falls short of the mark with games such as Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare being such a threat. It’s such a shame that there weren’t any Assassin’s Creed graphics happening with this latest instalment in to the ‘seedy’ streets of Las Vegas.
The controls in Rainbow Six Vegas 2 can be described in one word ‘beautiful’. While a few changes have been made from the original title, the core elements still stand so you will be able to jump right into the action, with little to no learning curve.
RSV2 has now been given a well needed boost of speed with ‘Tactical Running.’ In many games today in the first-person genre you will run from start to finish, Ubisoft wanted to break away from the masses and implement a feature that you won’t use all the time, only to escape and evade enemy bullets or run across open territory or maybe just to catch up with your mates after providing sniper cover.
Ubisoft are also very proud of their ‘Reload Cancelling’ mechanism. After an exchange, you reload, if an enemy runs around the corner (which someone ALWAYS does!) you’d usually die, not now, now you will be able to cancel your reload by strafing up, left or right and hitting run. While this only works if you have rounds in the magazine it is still a cool feature to have.
Running isn’t the only boost Ubisoft’s given this beast of a title. The multiplayer side of the game has seen a whole overhaul as well with new online game modes, customization, less lag and a fast paced online experience which will keep you up into the wee hours of the morning.
New Game modes include:
Team Leader – Similar to VIP on titles such as Team Fortress, but with a slight twist. You’ll need to protect the VIP while he/she gets to an extraction point across the map. Players will re-spawn as long as the VIP is alive, but once the VIP is dead there are no more team respawns, and it turns into a last man standing match. The difference here though is that there are two VIPs, one on each side.
Attack and Defend: Demolition – If you’ve played Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare you’ll be well at home with Rainbow Six’s Demolition mode. Pick up the bomb, plant the bomb, defend the bomb from being defused and once the bomb has been planted there’s a role reversal, where defenders become attackers and attackers become defenders.
Total Conquest – Three satellites have been placed throughout the map, entitled A, B and C. Once all three satellites have been captured by one team a 30 second timer will count down. If one of the three satellites is taken back by enemy forces the countdown stops, creating a thoroughly fun mode for all.
The new game modes are fantastic and give a whole new breath-of-fresh-air to the multiplayer side of the game, from the mundane Attack and Defend mode which we saw so much of in the original Vegas. Unfortunately Vegas 2 still has a huge amount of lag during multiplayer games, unless you find a high-speed host.
If you’re a little disappointed that Ubisoft decided to remove four-player co-op from the final version of the game, don’t be, as you can still take on Vegas with a friend and two AI (Artificial Intelligence) characters from start to finish. While this is a fun way to take on the single player campaign it does have its flaws. Unfortunately ‘Player Two’ will feel like a spare part, waiting for the host to organize Team Rainbow in to position, execute stunning and explosive tactical entries and order team-mates to heal fallen comrades during heated exchanges (although Player-Two will earn more achievement points so it isn’t all doom and gloom).
Missing your friends while you’re playing Terrorist Hunt? You and 3 friends can once again open a whole can of whoop-ass on the un-suspecting terrorists via Microsoft’s Xbox Live Gold Service. This is a fantastic way to sharpen up on your reactions with your friends, earn XP, learn how to communicate under extreme conditions and most importantly, learn the maps.
If you needed another reason to play online, you’ll now be able to earn online achievements (take note Infinity Ward) from killing 1,000 enemies online to killing hundreds of enemies with Sub Machine Guns, Pistols and Sniper Rifles.
Sound in any game whether its Viva Pinata or Rainbow Six Vegas 2 plays a huge part in the overall experience while sat in front of your HD-ready TV. Vegas 2 again doesn’t disappoint, whether you are dodging bullets or just stamping the snow beneath your feet, you’ll feel like you’re there, so wrap up warm!
In closing, Rainbow Six Vegas 2 is an exciting, challenging, single player and multi-player experience which will keep you on the edge of your seats. It has a gripping storyline, new online game modes, improved graphics, extensive weaponry and more than enough to keep even the most hardcore gamer entertained. It was well worth the wait.