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Previews

Rainbow Six Vegas 2

Preview: AKA Tom Clancy's Echelon 5: Badger Rising

Developers are getting so good at pushing our buttons with their RSI-afflicted fingers that it's becoming genuinely scary.

Consider the R6V:2 experience point system, expanded from the original R6 Vegas. During our recent multiplayer playtest I caught another player running into a wooden cupboard to prepare an ambush. Making use of the new bullet penetration I peppered it with rounds until a sharp groan told me he was dead.

Text immediately flashed onto the bottom of the screen telling me just how many EXPERIENCE POINTS I'd earned for the kill, plus how many points I got for my CQV CLOSE-QUARTER KILL BONUS, and how many points I got for shooting this guy in the BACK.

Zoom

Then the round ended and up flashed pictures of the stylish new helmet, SMG, flak jacket and thigh pads I'd earned. I was half expecting an option to visit the Auction House, but no. Maybe when I make Corporal.

Now in the context of the old Rainbow Six games all this is insane, but with Rainbow Six Vegas the series set its sights on accessibility, and R6V:2 is showing no signs of slowing down.

Red Storm have the engine, Ubisoft liked the sales figures and the general consensus seems to have been "Let's give them more of what they want."

Why Vegas again? According to one of the developers I spoke to, they "...love taking you out of your comfort zone. We like putting the player somewhere he might recognise and saying 'Hey, what if this happened?'"

Smooth answer, but I suspect their art department had a few spare research photos lying around. Regardless, R6V:2 will feature a different squad from the original and it'll follow this new team's exploits both while the original team are in Mexico, and after they've returned home to their beer and awkward domestic relationships.

This should tie up R6V's clunky beginning and end, and we can still look forward to new environments - R6V:2 is set off the Strip, in the slums and crumbling casinos that lie outside it and in the desert beyond those.

You can also look forward to smarter AI both with you and against you. Squadmates will now 'leapfrog' when you tell them to advance under fire. That's where soldiers pair up and alternate between suppressing the enemy and advancing to cover. As for the bad guys, they'll now withdraw any limbs poking out from behind cover when you shoot them, or move altogether.

Topping this off are a few new weapons, the ability to sprint, and VIP and bomb-planting online game modes. Whether it hits that release date is another matter.

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