STAFF REVIEW of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 (Xbox 360)

Thursday, March 27, 2008.
by Rick Wallace

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 Box art Ubisoft brings back the Rainbow Team in the second installment of the Vegas Series. Rainbow Vegas Six 2 features a once again terrorist ravaged Las Vegas, and it?s up to the Rainbow Six team to put an end to the threat. You?ll traverse through casinos, back alleys, parking garages, and roof tops to carry out that goal. Terrorists are at every corner awaiting your ammunition to be sprayed heavily upon their positions.

At first glance, Vegas 2 seems to be Vegas 1 with new maps and missions, but after a little playtime you?ll come to realize there is a little more to it than that. Not a lot, but enough to make it worthy of a purchase for any Rainbow Six fan. Its definitely a must buy for any first timer to the series. The graphics are not eye-popping but compliment the game pretty well for the most part. There are some texture issues here and there, but nothing glaring that will take away from your gaming experience. At times there are a few framerate issues, but again nothing overwhelming or totally distracting. Sounds in the game are generally the typical sounds one would expect from any FPS. The ambient sound of a casino in the background definitely adds to the overall effect and reality of where you are fighting this terrorist war. You have to love putting a few bullets into a slot machine and having it drop its contents all over the floor, while it rings ?Jackpot?. Probably the only way I?ll ever be able to get one of those things to dump its winnings for me. As for gameplay, you have 2 person co-op in the story mode, 4 player co-op terrorist hunt, and the typical online play with your general modes of play for any FPS.

One of the coolest features is the ability to continually unlock weapons and level up your character in any gameplay mode through the acquiring of XP. So now when playing 4 player terrorist hunt with your buddies, you will not only reap the XP from the terrorists you kill, but you?ll also gain a final XP reward for completing the mission as well. As you level up, you?ll unlock new weapons, accessories and gear that you can equip to your fully customizable character. The game also features the ?Create-A-Face? mode using the Xbox Live Vision cam as the first iteration of this title did. The feature seems to work pretty well, but will take away some customizable options for you character when using a Vision Cam face. As stated, you?ll be able to equip your character with all types of gear and weapons. Heavy Armor will help those that take a lot of enemy lead into their body, but it will slow you down and lessen your maneuverability greatly. Light Armor can be worn to give you better agility and overall quickness. Most folks will find a happy medium somewhere in between.

Once you have your character customized, you can than use them in any game mode. Want to go online and show your handsome mug to the world? Then go for it. Maybe you just want to be a star, then play through the story mode as yourself. Allowing you to use your character in any game mode is a definite plus in this game. For those that are veterans of the Vegas 1, you?ll be treated to some unlockables immediately upon creating your character. You?ll also gain rank immediately as reward for your prior service.

The leveling up in Vegas 2 is very well done, and as stated each game mode gives you XP which counts towards your overall rank and level. You have 3 different areas of expertise (A.C.E.S. in game) to level up: Marksmanship, CQB, and Assault. Each area of expertise has certain requirements such as long range shots, headshots, grenade kills, stealth kills, etc. which will earn you XP points for accomplishing. The highest number level is 20 at the time of release, but that will take some time to obtain. Each level is attainable by gaining a certain amount of XP points. Once you have obtained a rank, your current XP is reset in a matter of speaking and you then have a new goal in XP points to obtain. When I say ?current XP?, I am referring to the amount of XP you are currently gaining towards your next rank. Your overall XP is always visible to you and is never reset. In other words, to obtain the highest rank, which is Elite, you will need to gain 400,000 XP points in total. Good thing you gain XP in all games modes!

In the story mode you will play as Bishop, the team leader. If this is an online co-op match, you will play as Bishop or the first player on a local machine will always play as Bishop. The second player will play as your companion. You have 2 other AI controlled members of your team, and only Bishop has the ability to control them and direct their actions. There are achievements to play as Bishop?s partner so you?ll want to do both. The story mode doesn?t sway much from the original in gameplay. You?ll want to stay in cover as much as possible and use your team mates to gain strategic advantages. At times, you will be prompted to use your team members to disarm bombs, open locked doors, etc. Again, only Bishop can command the team members to do so.

Story mode can be played using split screen or on a system link. You can also play story mode online with another player whether it be a private match to invite one of your friends, or just a public match that allows any Xbox Live player to join. Again, if you are hosting the game then you will always play as Bishop, and the joining player will play as a member of your team. Unfortunately as you can tell by reading this, story mode is only limited to 2 players. Disappointingly 4 player co-op for story mode was not included with the final release of the game. Hopefully, a later update will come along and resolve this.

On the bright side, when playing Terrorist Hunt, you can have up to 3 players join you in your fight against terror. Again, this can be done locally or on Xbox Live. For those that do not know, Terrorist Hunt is a game mode that pits you up against a predetermined number of enemies on a map. It?s your team?s goal to eliminate all terrorists on the map. The game ships with 12 maps to do your hunting, with more on the way via downloadable content no doubt. As stated earlier, you and your buddies can accrue a lot of XP playing Terrorist hunt. The higher the difficulty, Realistic being the hardest, the more XP will you will gain from killing enemies and completing the mission at hand. You can change out your guns and equipment between matches. There are times when you?ll definitely want to have a shotgun in your arsenal, so keep that in mind.

Online Adversarial mode ships with 5 modes of player versus player action. These modes are: Team Deathmatch, Deathmatch, Attack and Defend, Team Conquest, and Team Leader. Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch are self explanatory and nothing out of the ordinary. Attack and Defend will pit 2 teams against each other. Both teams fight for control of an objective, with one basically attacking the location while the other is defending it. There are 3 types of objectives in this mode of play. First ?Item Extraction? has one team trying to locate and recover and item while the other teams goal is to stop them. ?Hostage Rescue? consists of one team trying to free and extract hostages while the other team tries to put and end to the rescue. Finally ?Demolition? sees one team trying to plant and detonate a bomb while the other team tries to diffuse it before detonation. Team Conquest is your basic capture and hold type of territories game. You must locate and hold 3 satellite transmitters for a total of 30 seconds each to win this mode. And last but not least is ?Team Leader?. This mode consists of teams supporting and protecting a team leader who is making his way to an extraction point to win the game.

Generally online play is not too bad. There are some frame rate issues, and a bit of lag to deal with at times. But overall, the maps are laid out nicely for lots of action. Spawn killing/camping shouldn?t be too much of an issue since you respawn with a temporary invulnerability shield. So be sure to take cover as quickly as you can when respawing. With the amount of maps, and the various modes of gameplay this title should keep the online community busy for a while. And again, we all hope for plenty more of content via Xbox Marketplace in the near future.

Overall Rainbow Six Vegas 2 is not a huge upgrade from Vegas 1, but it?s still a good game regardless. Most diehard Rainbow fans will definitely have this in their game library from day one and be satisfied with the final product. And as stated earlier, if you are new to the series, then this is a must have. 4 player Co-op terrorist hunt is a favorite among many and definitely adds to the value of this game. The Xbox 360 definitely has its fair share of First Person Shooters and only a few of those shooters really rises to the top of the heap. Vegas 2 can be considered one of those titles.

The exclusion of 4 player co-op in story mode was a bit disappointing. This mode is a definite must have for this type of game. Other than that, another solid addition to the Tom Clancy library of video games.

Overall: 8.6 / 10
Gameplay: 8.5 / 10
Visuals: 8.2 / 10
Sound: 8.2 / 10


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