Rainbow Six Vegas 2 Review - 02/05/2008

It's been a year and half since the first Vegas made its way onto the Xbox 360 and PC. Shortly following to the PS3 in the summer, the Vegas spin-off of the world famous Rainbow series of videogames was surely a hit, and was the 360's most played LIVE game of that year. But will this latest instalment live up to the hype and success of its predecessor?

The 2nd and last Rainbow Six game to be set in Vegas is upon us, and offers us many new features and additions, but are they any good? Most notably is the gameplay. Whilst being almost identical to the original, it adds more weapons, a PEC system and a sprint ability. All of which are good, but not major additions and not must-haves. In fact, they make the game feel a lot like COD4, which can be seen as a good thing, but not if you're a tactical Rainbow veteran. The game controls literally exactly like the original Vegas, with R1 as shoot, L1 as cover, O as Grenade, L2 as sprint, square as reload and X as action. These work well, as most FPS franchises stick with this reliable system, but the one issue that does stand out is that you need to hold L1 to cover, so when placed in a violent fire-fight you may have to hold L1 for a long period of time. This can definitely be seen as a bad point and a general pain in the backside if your fingers start aching.

The single player campaign has been set to out-do the original by adding an epic and dramatic storyline. Unfortunately, there is no sign of improvement, in reality, it's actually got worse! With a twitchy frame rate, unsatisfactory visuals and terrible AI. But on the upside, it is easier to order your team around. This sequel involves you (a created character) to go through events based around and after the original's time-line. The story is weak, and just forces you to kill terrorists from the Middle East and prevent them from killing the thousands living in Sin City.

They're not exactly realistic graphics.

When you first load the game, you are prompted to create a character, which can look like you, or not at all. This time around you can now use the PS Eye to scan your face into the game. It isn't the best of additions, as the 360 had it in the first game, but at least it's there. The eye can sometimes be a little sketchy and the lighting has to be picture perfect and it can look a little stretched out at times, but at least it's just as easy to use a normal pre-set head. The new creation system, PEC (Persistent Elite Creation), works very well, and you will now use that character in the main campaign as well as the multiplayer part of the game.

The multiplayer has always been the main focus of the Vegas series, and this iteration is no different. With 13 maps in total, some old and some new, it really is a great experience. The multiplayer is one of the best this year with more outdoor combat than before and an A.C.E.S (Advanced Combat Enhancement and Specialisation) experience point system that's also implemented for the single player. This allows players to earn XP for different actions, and these are split into different categories; Marksman, Close Quarter Combat and Assault. If you earn lots of XP in the Marksman section, you will unlock a new sniper rifle for example, and it's the same for the other categories. This works incredibly well and is a welcome addition to the new features of this sequel. But unfortunately it makes you change your style of play if you are after a certain assault rifle or machine gun. Multiplayer also provides a good use for the sprinting, and it really saves you sometimes, especially if you're being pinned down by fire in a tight space. The problem with the multiplayer, and most of the game, is that you'll get déjà vu all the time if you've played the original as everything is all too familiar...

The casino sections are still the best.

The presentation of the game isn't great, and it uses the same engine to produce gameplay and graphics as the first. The visuals on objects and scenery (especially on the casino maps) are decent, but the character models are poor. In all the single player missions there are plenty of repeating character models throughout single sections, let alone levels! But that just makes you want to shoot them even more! The sound is particularly pathetic. It uses the same musical scores for its main menu's as its prequel. There is also some glitchy constant gun fire that can be heard in online matches and when it doesn't stop it soon becomes very irritating.

Overall, this game isn't bad; it's just not as good as we expected: a solid shooter that outdid the original. It was a tall order and if it hadn't stuck with the formula we would've complained that it's too different. But what's sure is that Ubisoft didn't deliver and the effort they put in isn't shown in any part of the game.

- Sam Foster



Ubisoft Montreal
PC - PS3 - 360