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Saturday | December 10, 2016
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Rainbow Six Vegas 2

Rainbow Six Vegas 2


Rainbow Six Vegas was released in November 2006 and was one of the Xbox 360’s biggest selling games, alongside Gears Of War. Both of these fantastic games were powered by the Unreal 3 engine and had gamers foaming at the mouth.

Eyes have been on Rainbow Six Vegas 2 for quite some time as the original was one of the most played multiplayer experiences on Microsoft’s shiny console. So what’s new? Well there is a new ACES (Advanced Combat Enhancement and Specialisation) system, and the points added to this make their way across the various gameplay modes. So if you play the single player mode, kill an enemy soldier, earn 3 experience points, these points carry over into the next multiplayer game. There are 20 levels in each of the ACES categories and each offers something new to your character, such as weapons for example.

Many of you hardened Vegas gamers will be pleased to hear that the characters in Vegas 2, can now run, the left shoulder button controls this and it is very useful for running between cover points. Those of you who have never played a Rainbow Six game might be wondering what on earth the fuss is about, however trust me, for this game series, it is big news!

Vegas 2 is definitely a more tactical experience when compared with the first, the difficultly is slightly higher and the enemies are slightly sharper than before. The only issue is your teammates AI, it seems to range from excellent to suicidal depending on the situation. Sometimes they will duck behind a table and fire intelligently at the enemies, then the next time they might just stand in the middle of the room to go face to face with multiple foes. I personally don’t think it is a game killer, however after speaking with some colleagues in the industry my feeling seems to be in the minority. Your team mates are more often than not more than capable of giving covering fire or helping to clear out a room of bad guys, I am not really the kind of player to sit back with a packet of chips and press a few buttons so the friendly AI can complete the game for me.

If you have played the first in the series, you will remember the rather substandard ending, however Ubisoft have tied up all the loose ends and decided to pay a little more attention to the story this time around by fleshing out character storylines as well as the overall plot. It won’t be challenging  a Tom Clancy movie for scripting quality, but it is more than acceptable given the medium.

The single player campaign is stronger in Vegas 2 and interestingly the game recognised my save game from the first and awarded me "Veteran status" and some bonuses to go with this. All said though, the multiplayer is still the selling point. With 12 maps and two new adversarial modes it will be sure to please long term fans of the series. A few of these maps are ports from Raven Shield on the PC which is no bad thing. All of these are quite honestly, brilliant and are well designed to ensure a good, balanced gameplay ethic. There are also a lot of alternative paths to take which keeps the game play fresh and more importantly fun.

I mentioned earlier the ACES system which in theory is a great way to constantly build up your character, however for some reason when you capture points in Total Conquest you don’t earn any! Perhaps an oversight which will be rectified in a future patch.

Cooperative is still my least favourite of all the modes, granted they have added tutorials and mission briefings which were missing from the first, however it is still sadly lacking in some areas. Campaign coop mode has been reduced from four to two players, however you are now joined by two AI players with only the host capable of giving these two guys commands. This means player two is somewhat of a spare part in the game as he just tags along for the hell of it, unable to complete objectives or to feel a part of the team. To make matters worse, if the host player is less experienced and dies regularly, then the two AI players stand around like idiots as the remaining second human player is unable to issue any directives until the host respawns. I was very disappointed with this mode, especially as it is still possible to have four player coop in Terrorist Hunt mode.

Fortunately, the game play in Vegas 2 is still brilliant and I found the single player mission much more substantial this time around, a thoroughly enjoyable and immersive experience I haven’t felt for quite some time in a game of this genre. I am sure some people will dismiss the game for really bringing nothing new to the table, however my personal take on this is a little different. I was such a fan of the first one I actually didn’t want a massive overhauls to the game design. Vegas 2 delivers substantially varied levels (all very much different from the first one), some improvements to the graphics with the same addictive team based game play. With the ability to run, basically the game has been tweaked and polished this time around.

Graphically the game is similar to the first with the Unreal 3 engine powering the experience. The character models are top notch and I like the way a large portion of the game is set during the day, to alleviate repetitiveness we would associate with the first one.

Unfortunately the game features some frame rate issues which are more apparent on the Playstation 3. These are noticeable in some locations and can really grind the game to a halt. If it was running on the PC, I would feel the need to lower the resolution or the image quality it can be that noticeable, however as we are on a console there are no options for fine tuning the graphics. I am guessing a part of this is due to the enhanced surroundings and the destructible objects and damage models, which really are fantastic to behold. A particular favourite of mine is the way glass shatters when shot, and one level has you in a firefight with some terrorists inside a glass walled building! Awesome.

Playstation 3 owners will be annoyed to hear that once again Vegas 2 features less effects and lower grade textures than the Xbox 360 version. It is noticeable if you put them side by side and unfortunately this is becoming a common problem with key titles like this. I hope as the year progresses that programmers manage to work around the somewhat aging and underpowered Nvidia hardware inside the Playstation 3 because I am certainly seeing benefits with the unified shader architecture of the ATI Xenon graphics processor in the 360.

Rainbow Six Vegas 2 is a game which doesn’t bring a lot of new ideas to the table when compared to the first one. It is still however a fantastic single player and multiplayer game which looks great and immerses you into a SWAT team style unit. The graphics are generally very impressive and it is sure to appeal to fans of the series as well as people who have never played one of these games before. I found it more enjoyable than the first and the minor tweaks and enhancements have made it a better game, even if it isn’t original.

Gameplay
92/100
A great single player game, and an even better multiplayer one. Much the same as the first, just improved.
Graphics
XBOX360
83/100
PS3
75/100

The Unreal 3 engine is still alive and kicking however some further optimisation would have been nice, to counter some frame rate problems. The PS3 version is noticeably worse in all areas.

Sound
85/100

Improved voice acting from the first with the same high quality sound effects and music throughout.

Value
88/100
The single player game lasts around 10 hours if you take your time, and the multiplayer is set to prove the same long term experience as before.
Overall
(not an average)
XBOX360
86/100
PS3
83/100

Highly recommended.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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