Rainbow Six Vegas was nothing short of revolutionary when it was introduced on the 360 late in ’06. Its top of the line graphics, amazing AI and downright impressive multiplayer made it a hit amongst players and critics alike. A year and a bit down the track, Rainbow Six Vegas 2 has hit store shelves so players can return for their second and final visit to Sin City.
Although technically a sequel, an immediate resolution to the notorious “To Be Continued” message at the conclusion of Rainbow Six Vegas is elusive. The story mode for Vegas 2 covers the events before, during and following the original game, in a storyline running parallel to the first story. For the bulk of the game, the setting is Las Vegas in 2010 with players taking on the role of operative “Bishop” instead of our previous protagonist Logan Keller.
One of the fan favourites last time around was the ability to build and customise your own soldier and take him on the battlefield. So popular was this, that players customise operative “Bishop” ‘til there heart’s content and then control her in story mode as well as online.
The introduction of the A.C.E.S. system alongside the character customization reinforces Ubi’s commitment to adding a personal element to games. The A.C.E.S. system is fantastic because it tracks progress and offers rewards and upgrades across all facetsof Rainbow Six Vegas 2. Whether it be story
mode, co-op, versus play online or off, every time you kill an enemy that fits into one of the three unique A.C.E.S. categories (marksman, close-quarters and assault), you earn points that result in rewards from that category. The A.C.E.S. system does have some pretty simple exploits to open up your arsenal, but we’ll leave it for you to figure this out yourself.
While the A.C.E.S. system might be open to fiddling, the ranking system is pretty airtight. Every time you send a terrorist to his grave, experience points are earned in an RPG style towards different ranks within Rainbow. Different unlocks are earned with each rank, and the first few can be unlocked with relative ease; however don’t be expecting to earn your Colonel or Elite badges this side of winter.
Graphically Vegas 2 is fairly similar looking to its predecessor. The detail is fantastic and characters and levels look great, though when compared to the likes of Call of Duty 4 it doesn’t quite stack up. The frame rate of 30fps make some of the areas seem like stop motion animation.
Sound wise Vegas 2 is once again similar to the original. The soundtrack seems to have been based on that of its predecessor. The voice acting is excellent with some humour thrown in by the developers (“Lima Oscar Lima Over”). Gun effects sound authentic and overall contribute well to the experience Vegas 2 creates.
The real substance of the game is found in the multiplayer section of Vegas 2, and most players will spend the bulk of their time here. There are three new online modes thrown into the mix to accompany the regulars. Team Leader is Rainbow 6’s version of Strike VIP mode in CS, with a team death match twist that makes for some great play. Demolition is an Attack and Defend mode where one team has to detonate a bomb at a target site while the other must defuse it (Counter Strike). Total Conquest is a rethought type of last year’s Conquest mode. Our experience online was relatively easy and lag free and highly enjoyable.
Some would say that once you’ve got a winning formula, there’s no reason to change it. But a ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ attitude isn’t the way to get the best out of our gaming consoles now is it? Though not too much has been changed from the original, Vegas 2 is still an excellent game. The multiplayer offers genuine competition to industry leaders like CoD4 or Halo 3 and the customisation is superb. Though Vegas 2 may have done just enough to call itself a sequel, we here feel Vegas 1.5 may be a slightly more appropriate title.