Rainbow Six Vegas 2
8th Feb 2008 | 10:04
After a week at the Consumer Electronics Show last month, we're bloody sick of Las Vegas. After a year hyping up the first game, we're bloody sick of Las Vegas. And after then being forced to sit through the rubbish television show, we're bloody sick of Las Vegas.
So for its next Tom Clancy sequel (and probably not just because we're fed up of blinking lights and air conditioning) Ubisoft has decided to take Rainbow Six Vegas erm, outside of Las Vegas. Thank Christ for that.
Earning its stripes
First thing's first then; is this really a proper Rainbow Six Vegas sequel or just a spruced up expansion pack? They have, after all, managed to knock out number two in record time.
We quizzed the game's designer Philippe Thierien, who told us that main reason for its snappy arrival is that the ground work on the engine had already been completed in the first game.
This left Ubisoft Montreal free to focus on "features and upgrades". That's the official word from Ubisoft anyway, but browsing through Vegas 2's feature list it's obvious the follow-up is preaching to the converted (which isn't necessarily a bad thing).
In the single-player department, there's a new campaign taking us beyond the glitzy walls of Sin City (though Ubisoft won't tell us where, beyond one level in the Nevada desert). There's also smarter AI (friend and foe) and the migration of GRAW 2's well-accepted difficulty system.
Hoping to answer complaints aimed at the original, there's the addition of the new ACES XP system too. This time around you score experience across three categories; Close Quarter Combat, Marksmanship and Assault, marked for performing various actions such as using flashbangs and grenades.
In a similar way to the proven system in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Vegas 2's ACES system lets you unlock weapons and gear based on your place style. If for example you want a beefier rifle, you should focus on nailing headshots to beef up your Marksmanship level.
It's probably not the kind of bullet-point list that's going to draw in a massive crowd of Clancy virgins, but it does add flexibility to Vegas of which the fanbase should love.
Call of Rainbow
While there seems to be plenty going on in the single-player department, our focus on multiplayer.
There's a pair of new game modes, tons of long-requested weapon tweaks and finally the visuals live up to those of the single-player campaign. Basically, it's a just a bit more tactical and intense than the last game's multiplayer.
You can put it down to a ton of different additions; the ACES system doing its job in the form of an intimidating XP bar (which, before you moan, can be switched off), a new and much-needed sprint button and new modes that are a touch above 'team deathmatch'.
Team Leader and Demolition are two of the game modes in the sequel, lifted (almost) straight out of Call of Duty and Counter-Strike respectively.
The first (and our favourite) of the two, Team Leader is the usual two team, two 'VIPs' set-up. Only that the VIP supplies infinite respawns for his team mates, as long as he's alive.
As you can imagine this ramps up the intensity of the age-old VIP set-up greatly. Everyone on the any team who isn't the marked man is essentially fodder until you've cut off their respawns.
Teams win by either getting their VIP to the escape zone or by killing off the entire enemy team. It's not game over when the leader goes down - it just gets a bloody lot harder.
The second is almost a straight copy of Counter-Strike's own Demolition mode with a few changes. There's the introduction of the sprint button, and the already great cover system. It's more intense than the slow-paced Rainbow combat you know from the past.
For the Counter-Strike ignorant, it's another two team situation that has one time attempting to plant a bomb at one of three deployment sites, and the other fighting to stop them.
Another key ingredient in how its more exciting than your average Counter-Strike bout, is how the HUD alerts all players where and when the bomb has been planted.
This way everyone's on the scene guns blazing immediately, and a cover-blasting sprint-fest ensues. Speaking of cover, developments have been made there as well; taking another cue from COD4, Vegas now lets certain weapons shoot right through breakable objects like wood.
On one Team Leader map there's a house maze build entirely of MDF walls. With a keen eye (and a big shotgun) you can shoot enemies right through the scenery without them knowing you're there, which is yet another element that's bound to bring the tactics back to Rainbow Six.
The first game's multiplayer was already solid, but with a bit of polishing around the edges - and a few good bits nicked from Call of Duty - Vegas 2 looks far more worthy than the quick fire sequel we expected. It might even be up to the high calibre of the original.