|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft Montreal||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 18, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-16||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
February 12, 2008 - After what seemed like an eternity of waiting, in actuality only about two years, I finally got a chance to play Rainbow Six Vegas 2 at a recent event held by Ubisoft. After the monumental success that was the original Vegas, I wasn't sure how the crew at Ubisoft would be able to really improve its already amazing formula. Let me be the first to say they didn't get complacent and just slap a 2 after the title. It is clear that they have put a lot of work and effort into making some great improvements to make Vegas 2 even better than the original.
The first major difference you will notice is the excellent character customization has been expanded and is now available in the single player campaign as well as in multiplayer. The character that you'll control this time around is just named Bishop. It will be completely up to you to decide what your version of Bishop will look like. You will be able to customize many things including your character's sex, race, facial features, weapons, armor, and even clothing. If you don't like the way your character looks, you can even import a photo of yourself into any of the three versions of Vegas 2. There have also been eleven new weapons and a ton of new gear added to the content that was already available in the original Vegas. All of this customization really makes Vegas 2 seem a lot more personalized and fun to play.
However, the main focus of this event was on trying out Vegas 2's excellent multiplayer. There have been several improvements made here as well. Firstly, Ubisoft has vastly improved the speed at which multiplayer Vegas fans can feed their addiction. Loading multiplayer matches has been streamlined so that jumping into frantic multiplayer action is much quicker than ever before. This may seem like a minor improvement until you realize that the less time it takes you to get into a match, the more time there is for heated standoffs.
Secondly, there will be thirteen maps available to players. Many will be brand new, but fans of Raven Shield will be happy to know that there will be some classic maps included as well. All of the maps have been made to have a smaller, more confined feeling. By reducing the real estate and improving the layouts, more choke points are created that encourage hectic battles in order to control them. This was incredibly noticeable in the three maps that we were allowed to experience. In the CQB Training, Villa, and Convention Center maps, there was no shortage of cover, doorways, and elevated positions to discover and utilize to your advantage. My personal favorite of the three maps had to be the Convention Center since it felt like being on the show floor at an E3 past, minus the deafening music and booth babes.
Last but not least, along with including most of the play modes from the original Vegas, Vegas 2 adds three new multiplayer modes. The first new mode that I had a chance to play was Demolition. In Demolition, one team must retrieve a bomb, plant it in one of two specific areas and then detonate it successfully. After the bomb has been planted, the team that planted it will need to defend the bomb for an entire minute for it to detonate and end the round. The change between attacking and defending in this mode made it incredibly interesting and challenging.
Another new mode was called Team Leader. In this mode, each team is assigned a leader character. This leader is incredibly important since he/she will be the only player who can see the opposing team's leader character on the map. Players will also be unable to respawn if their team's leader has been killed. There are only two ways to win in this mode. The first way is to successfully extract your leader character by escorting him/her to an extraction point. The other method of victory requires you to kill all of the members of the opposing team. This mode was also fun and has a lot of potential to have rounds coming down to who can keep their leader protected the longest.
The third new mode that I got a chance to try out was called Total Conquest. This mode was incredible and seemed to be the most frantic and satisfyingly difficult of the new modes. In this mode, there are three satellites that must be controlled for thirty seconds while an uplink is made. Since a team must control all three satellites at the same time to initiate the thirty second countdown, matches in this mode will seesaw so much that it makes you motion sick. It seemed like every time my team would be on the verge of controlling the last remaining satellite, the other team would gain control of one of the others. These matches will most likely last for quite a while but will be action packed and immensely entertaining.
There is definitely a lot to get excited about here. With all of these excellent improvements, it will be hard to have to wait another month to be able to play a finished copy of this game. Vegas 2 literally looks better and plays better (especially now that you have the ability to sprint) than its' (no apostrophe) already superb predecessor. Look for Vegas 2 to rule many consoles and PCs near you after its March 18 release date.
CCC Freelance Writer