Review: Rainbow Six: Vegas 2
Juliet Uniform November Echo. Sierra Alpha Romeo Papa Oscar November Golf.
With a predictability that rivals an EA release schedule, Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six franchise is back for yet again. Still, we love Tom Clancy’s games here at Peoww (although Splinter Cell: Double Agent was a tiresome and bleak return for Sam Fisher) and Rainbow Six Vegas occupied more Peoww hours than any game other than GRAW2 last year.
However, like GRAW2, Rainbow Six Vegas 2 is more than keen to rest on its laurels. In terms of progressing the genre and pushing the hardware, Vegas 2 is sat on a couch in its pants watching Trisha and already into double figures on the spliff-count. So initially my thoughts were ‘oh great, I’ve just shelled out full price for a fucking expansion pack’. However, Vegas 1 did have its share of problems and Ubisoft’s band of merry Canadians have clearly set out to fix them so lets see what your forty Earth Pounds will buy you.
Well Vegas 2, as the name suggests, sees you back in Las Vegas hunting down terrorists whilst occasionally taking note of the Clancy-by-numbers plot. The plot links in with the events of Vegas 1 (hey, it’s an excuse to reuse some of those locations) and acts as something of a prequel. It’s all pretty generic stuff though although the plot does occasionally shake you awake because of the fairly sadistic nature of the terrorists involved.
Anyway, we’re not here to discuss the Clancyisms. How good is the game? Well, to the uninitiated, Rainbow Six Vegas was a first-person shooter set in various buildings and streets in Las Vegas. The campaign mode puts you in charge of a squad of AI team-mates and pits you against a small army of henchmen, guards and armed terrorists. There was also co-op options for the campaign, a huge host of adversarial multiplayer modes and the infamous ‘terrorist hunts’ (co-op matches against a level full of AI enemies). The multiplayer modes gave you EXP which allowed you to earn new ranks which unlocked new weapons and clothing. Standard stuff for sure, but excellent fun. It played pretty much like GRAW but with more internal locations. Not great for GRAW-style sniping but still a very solid package.
Vegas 2 is that. Exactly what I described above. The locations are either exactly the same or very derivative of the prequel, the weapons and gadgets are the also the same and the gameplay is split, as before, between campaign, t-hunt and adversarial modes. So far, so Ubisoft. Indeed the game is using the same engine as the previous one so the graphics, which weren’t even that good in the last game, look pretty dated now. The external locations are quite nice but, like many other FPS games, it soon descends into a combination of rooms and corridors.
Even the sound has been recycled. The terrorists have the same soundbites as last time, with lots of oh-so-naughty swearing mixed with the occasional moment of humour (‘Lima Oscar Lima!’). The music is the usual stern musical score with the occasional blast of horrible American nu-metal or whatever fucking shit is passing for metal these days. It all sounds like Spineshank or whatever they were called.
So far you’re thinking, hmmm… thanks but I’d rather purchase Viva Pinata and then insert it, viciously, into my arse. Well, those of you who like to check the score before you read the review will have noted it has scored rather well. How? Read on.
Rainbow Six Vegas wasn’t a very user-friendly game. It was never particularly comfortable. The rewards for playing were few and far between and the difficulty was pitched quite high without ever giving the sense of achievement that games like COD2 or Dead Rising did. Also, the EXP system was horrible. I played roughly a hundred hours of Vegas (probably more) but was still nowhere close to earning the ‘Elite’ ranking. I paid my dues many times over I felt but no, the game wanted more. It always wanted more.
Okay so this game is not a huge change from the last but there are a lot of little differences that make this game a lot more awesome than before.
The story mode has been improved. It’s a shame that you can’t play this mode with four players like the last game but at least this time the story missions are a lot more fun and the story does link in with the previous one despite you controlling a different character this time.
I am not going to lie, I mainly brought this game for the online play, the ‘Terrorist Hunts’ to be precise. While some of the little niggles are still present from the previous game like terrorists appearing in front of you from thin air and our old nemesis the ‘repeating gun sound glitch’, the gameplay is still as fun as it has ever been even though it’s not changed much and it has still got bugs in it.
I like the way players earn new weapons and equipment in this game. Now players have to perform kills that fall in to one of three categories which is not as restricting as COD4 and so I was able to have more fun with it. Overall I’d say that this game is worth getting even if you did buy the old one.
Secondary Score: 8/10
Vegas 2 is much nicer to play. If you use achievements as a guide, this game is far nicer to play. EXP is now earned in all modes, with or without other players. The sense of progress is constant as you unlock ranks with a welcome regularity. Also, it’s all linked to kills rather than completing levels or T-Hunts. The T-Hunts still exist but are far more relaxed than before, and thankfully enemies no longer spawn in front of you. The sniper rifle now has a point!
Also, the campaign is only a one or two-player affair (as opposed to four) now but at least you are no longer forced to complete it solo for achievements. It’s that relaxed feel that really makes the game a joy to play. Also, the endless LVU Campus grinds will be a thing of the past now that EXP can be earned in all modes. Good news for my fellow Peowwsters.
It’s well worth noting that as a co-op game this still offers more scope for planning and tactical thinking than Army of Two did. Instead of being forced to work together you are now gently encouraged to by the scenarios in front of you. It feels far more natural than EA’s title.
Overall I’m impressed. Yes, it’s more of the same but then so was GRAW2 and I loved that. There are also a few glitches here and there, as well as some currently bugged achievements but Tom Clancy still inspires great tactical shooters and I still prefer this to the ‘run and gun’ antics of COD4. Assuming that the next Rainbow Six outing takes us to new locations, and that Vegas 2 players aren’t raped to death by DLC, then I can live with the lack of progression for now and am more than happy to play such a nice refinement to the original title. However, Ubisoft are going to have to make more of an effort next time if they are to keep fans of the series happy.