Hailed by many
gamers and gaming critics alike as a masterpiece, Rainbow Six Vegas delivered a
truly remarkable tactical first-person shooter to the next-generation consoles
with much success. Not only was it an intense experience but it also showed that
that there is still room to improve the first-person shooter genre. It certainly
improved many aspects of the genre and since then other franchises – like the
Call of Duty series – pushed their own shooter to new and exciting heights. If
the first game in the Vegas series was the first step into a new and marvelous
direction then Rainbow Six Vegas 2 is merely just retracing said step. Don’t get
me wrong, this doesn’t make this sequel a bad game but rather a familiar one
with nothing completely new to show us.
As a deeply
devoted fan of the series who loved everything about Rainbow Six Vegas, I could
live with revisiting this virtual Las Vegas that’s been taken over by terrorists
but I also appreciate change and there is very little change to be found in this
game. What little change there is to this series is not bad at all. You assume
the role of Bishop, team leader of Rainbow, but the interesting twist is that
you can customize your own version of Bishop. You can even make your character a
redheaded female if you wish. As a squad veteran, Bishop is asked to lead Bravo
team back to Las Vegas where a returning terrorist threat rears its ugly head in
Sin City once again. The story is an interesting and exciting one that manages
to tie up some loose ends left from the first game’s story and weak cliffhanger.
Story Mode does
do a good job of telling an actual story that does bring the characters to life
in a way that the first game could not do. We get a better sense of the
determination each member of the team displays as they attempt to put an end to
the terrorist threat. One scenario in a sports arena stands out as a powerfully
emotional one. Still, story is not the reason we love the Rainbow Six games.
Much like the first game, Vegas 2 places you in really intense situations that
will have you thinking like a military anti-terrorist group. You will be faced
with delicate hostage situations and you will most certainly be placed in
positions where your team can get wiped out if you make the wrong tactical
new change to the series – introduced back in Rainbow Six Lockdown’s online
multiplayer mode – is the persistent character upgrading P.E.C. feature that
allows you to continue to customize your character. Shooting enemies or
performing a team-based task earns you skill points for the game’s ACES
(Advanced Combat Enhancements and Specialization) feature you can use to improve
your Marksman, Close Quarters and Assault skills. Earning more skill points
upgrades your character’s abilities to make more accurate long-distance shots or
even break through tough defenses.
Aside from Story
Mode there’s the return of Terrorist Hunt, a game mode that allows gamers to
play through a number of maps alone or with computer-controlled squad mates.
Most interesting is the fact that that this mode can be played as a co-op game
with a friend while the remaining squad members are controlled by the computer.
While co-op sounds like a real blast, the game mode just plays awkwardly thanks
to the frustrating fact that coordinating attacks just doesn’t work when the
rest of your squad bumbles it’s way in the same fashion as the single-player
game. One of the flaws of Story Mode is that your companions will occasionally
disregard your orders or get stuck behind a crate and that is exactly what
happens during Co-op.
At least the
online multiplayer portion of the game runs smoothly. Lately, there have been a
growing number of players online so you will certainly find a number of players
to go up against or team up with in order to dominate the map. The online
multiplayer modes are familiar fare for those who have played the multiplayer
matches in the first game. The inclusion of the addictively enjoyable VIP game
match type is also a plus for multiplayer fans.
On the graphics
front, the Xbox 360 clearly gets the better version of the game. Still, the PS3
version is nothing to sneeze at and the character models are wonderfully
detailed. What doesn’t look good are the textures that makes the surfaces look
flat the way they would on the PlayStation 2. Then again, the lighting and smoke
effects really look good and, from afar, some of the backgrounds make Las Vegas
come to life.
What never fails
to make quite an impression is the game’s sound. With a stellar soundtrack that
is just wonderfully cinematic and a solid voice acting cast that makes the
dialogue work, the game’s sound is a real highlight. Of course, there is some
recycled voice clips from the first game. There are just so many times we can
hear: “He’s dead! Dude owed me money!” At least the sound effects are just as
detailed as the visuals and you’ll always know if there’s a group of terrorists
around the corner because you’ll hear them.
like an expansion pack for the first game, Rainbow Six Vegas 2 for the PS3 shows
us nothing completely new but it is still one seriously addictive and remarkable
first-person shooter. It would have been great to have seen new and exciting
features to this military tactical shooter but if you loved the first game you
will still love this game anyway. If you can look past a few flaws on the
PlayStation 3 version, this one is an adrenalin-fueled shooter you must really
buy right away.
Anyone who has
played Rainbow Six Vegas will find the controls and tactical action very
familiar. The ability to sprint allows you to duck for cover more quickly and
the upgradeable weapons, armor and your tactical skills. The game’s
single-player story is just as good as the first.
The game looks
really good but it is clear that the Xbox 360 gets the prettier game. Aside from
some flat textures, the character models, lighting and smoke effects are handled
from the background noises to the sounds of multiple explosions are handled
superbly throughout the game. Even every weapon has its own distinct and
detailed sound. There’s a great soundtrack and the voice acting is not bad at
all despite some repeated conversations.
Even on a
normal difficulty setting, the enemy AI is able to do a good job of attempting
to flank your team and many of them are actually very good shots. Many of the
various scenarios are realistically delicate so you will find yourself
approaching them with caution.
The ability to
make Bishop male or female and outfit your avatar with upgradeable loadout
options is a brilliant enhancement that works. Aside from the ability to sprint,
the gameplay hasn’t changed at all. At least the story is pretty deep and
improvement happens to be the multiplayer mode that comes with rewards and a
better ranking system to pit you against players better suited to your style.
Much like Rainbow Six Lockdown, you can suit up your online avatar with all the
upgrades and customization options from the single-player game. Plus, the game
modes are still the reason you’ll be playing this one for a long time to come.
addition to the Rainbow Six franchise, Rainbow Six Vegas 2 doesn’t change very
much from the first game in the Vegas series but it is still an amazing
first-person shooter. On the PS3 the graphics might not be as sharp as the Xbox
360 and there are a few stutters here and there but it does not eclipse what is
otherwise a stellar tactical shooter.