Rainbow Six Vegas 2 concludes the Vegas storyline for this benchmark tactical FPS series.
The question remains, is this one of the franchise’s better installments or is it more of an expansion pack?
One of the big features of Vegas 2 is the new and improved PEC (Persistent Elite Creation) mode, essentially their very own character creation system. Another major feature is that of ACES (Advanced Combat Enhancement Specialization) which will grant unlockable items based on your play style, split into three categories. The three categories are CQB (Close Quarters Battle), Assault, and Marksman; getting points in one of the three categories gets you a weapon in that field. For example; a shotgun for CQB, assault rifle for Assault, or a sniper rifle for Marksman. The ACES system is active in the campaign, Terrorist Hunt, and multi player. You also earn points to rank up; which unlocks armor, clothing, and camouflage. The weapons still follow in their sub-machine gun, assault rifle, shotgun, and sniper rifle categories; like previous Rainbow Six games.
Overall most weapons are somewhat realistic and more importantly are situational. There’s really no gun that’s great at everything, you’ll need to find a gun that fits your play style for that map and game type. The one problem with the guns is that certain shotguns, like the Spas12 and 500 Tactical, are way too powerful and have too much range. You can literally get sniped with a shotgun sometimes.
The graphics for Vegas 2 have been improved over Vegas 1. There’s a somewhat noticeable difference, but they’re not very impressive; especially after the graphically stunning barrage of the holiday 2007 games in which many games focused on destructible environments, rather than just putting bullet holes in some walls, and breaking some glass, like in this game. Sometimes you can’t even move or interact with little things like a lunchbox, trashcan, or glass doesn’t properly shatter; which hurts immersion.
Unfortunately the campaign doesn’t live up to its predecessor. Vegas 1 had a feeling like the television show 24, since the entire campaign was one long mission with a very urgent feel to it. Vegas 2 feels very disjointed, like the developers almost said “Okay, here’s the school level, casino level, oil refinery level, and others; now put them in some random order.” The game almost has no story at all, you just run from point A to point B and kill everyone in between. The enemy AI is still top-notch; they take cover, flank, use certain types of grenades, and blind fire. However this level of AI doesn’t transfer to your teammates. They perform well in combat, but their navigation is sometimes off. Several times the AI teammates were walking into objects, or would take cover on a wall and refuse to move. Online co-operative play has been stepped down a notch, Vegas 1 allowed for four players, whereas Vegas 2 only allows two players; but now you’re allowed to see cut-scenes while playing co-op.
Another feature of Vegas 2 is Terrorist Hunt. This game type can be played alone, with AI teammates, or up to three friends online. The objective is to kill all the terrorists that are located on the multi player maps. The game play and AI remains the same in this mode as in the campaign. The major problem with Terrorist Hunt is the enemy spawning as instead of enemies spawning when the game starts, you have to walk past certain parts of the map to manually spawn them. Rainbow Six has always been about being tactical and clearing rooms, but with having to trigger spawns it takes the tactical element away from the game. You might walk into a room with no enemies, then when you walk past a certain point, the game will spawn three enemies around you and you’re dead within seconds. Sometimes you might kill every terrorist on the map, except the last 2, then you’ll spend the entire time left looking for them and you might not ever find them, because they never spawned. These situations don’t always happen, but they taint the overall experience.
The multi player mode comes with 13 maps, two of those coming from previous games. It also features five game modes; Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Attack & Defend, Total Conquest, and Team Leader. This is where Rainbow Six’s tactical game play and PEC mode fire on all cylinders. This is one of the best multi player games on Xbox Live. There’s really no big problems from it. It’s everything that Vegas 1 was, but they’ve fixed most of the major complaints from it.
If you were a fan of Vegas 1 you’ll probably enjoy this game too. The biggest thing hurting it is that it feels more like an expansion pack, than a sequel. With that disclaimer out of the way, this is one of the best shooters on the Xbox 360 that the more realistic FPS fans will enjoy.
Reviewer’s note: The Xbox 360 version was tested for this review
The game has okay graphics, but almost zero interactivity with the environment. The ACES stat system being in all modes of play makes the experience feel more unified than in previous installments.
|How does our scoring system work?|
The cover system feels a bit smoother and most of the guns are fine tuned to fit into the game's realistic theme.
It has very good and distinct sound effects and uses its music in the campaign very appropriately.
The campaign is sub-par; but co-op, terrorist hunt, and adversarial multiplayer makes the game worth buying.
The game is a very nice package for gamers that are into tactical squad FPS. Due to the campaign's length and quality the meat of the game is in its online multiplayer; which might attract some gamers, but keep away others.