What happens in Vegas 2, happened in Vegas too
They were once titles to be reckoned with. Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six were notoriously difficult games. They were designed to give hardcores their fix for the week and give game reviewers nightmares. “I just want to finish this game, write my review and get back to watching TV,” was the lament of the average reviews. Good luck. But that was then, and this is the future. It’s a more friendly future, in an arcade-kind of way.
The trend in games is more toward interactive movie than unbeatable forces. I must admit that I like this new trend, and not because it makes my job easier; it’s because it makes it a lot more fun. I think we’ve all had enough of replaying levels, trial and error, and leaps of faith. The games of today are more real-time. They envelop you in the moment, allowing you time to assess a situation and take appropriate action. The odds may be stacked against you from time to time, but they can usually be evened with a little skill and intellect. That’s my kind of game.
Not only is Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 my kind of game, but Vegas is my kind of city. I’ve been there many times, but the only thing I’ve shot is craps. I don’t know about you, but when I visit Sin City, I tend to leave my firearms at home. Fortunately Bishop and his teammates didn’t, because terrorists are on the loose again and need to be dealt with before they get the upper hand. Things do get dicey. But you’ve got an ace in the hole, and you can give it to them straight and flush them down the river. (I hope you’re getting my gambling references here).
Running on the same Unreal 3 engine as the original Vegas, this sequel seems more like an expansion pack than anything else. It utilizes many of the same locations, premises, characters, weapons, and situations. As far as pure entertainment goes, it’s almost a guilty pleasure. It’s entirely possible to get through the single-player campaign in one sitting. The action is addicting due to the variety of missions and the relatively fast pace. As far as the gameplay mechanics go, it’s darn near perfect. Nothing will kill your buzz. No crashes, no framerate issues, no latency. It’s a solid game. And even though the single-player story mode is not very long, there are a good variety of multiplayer modes that are definitely worth playing. They’re anything but filler.
Beginning in France, after an encounter with terrorists and a bomb, we are plunged five years into the future to face these terrorists in America’s playground in the year 2010. It’s all about diffusing the ultimate situation: the detonation of chemical weapons. To this end, a variety of missions are presented that will push your team to the limit. If you like feeling like a hero, you’ll revel in this gameplay as you literally call the shots in every situation. You should also be a big fan of shooting because there’s no shortage of gunfire.
Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 is a tactical, first-person shooter where you are the main man in a trio. You can issue a series of commands to your teammates which they will follow very convincingly. You can have them follow you, hold their position, shoot at enemies, and even perform some tactical strategic maneuvers such as breaching doors and tossing in flash grenades to stun the enemy.
They can even throw regular grenades with a good deal of accuracy. You can even use the duo to act as a human shield. But they will eventually die since they can’t take a steady diet of lead, even on the easy difficulty setting. They will take a bullet for you, but it’s not a feature that you can exploit, and rightly so. In an effort to streamline commands and make the gameplay flow more naturally, many of the moves are context sensitive. For each location and situation you will be presented with a few obvious options. This saves valuable time having to search for the appropriate command in the interface. The only downside is that it limits the degree of depth that you could explore, or at least perceived depth, in any potential situation.
There’s a symbiotic relationship between weapons and performance. You will be awarded weapons based on your favored technique. There are three categories: Marksman, Assault, and Close-Quarter Battle. You will earn points for your kills that will be attributed to any one of these categories. For instance, making headshots will increase your Marksman ranking, while any successful melee combat will build up the Close-Quarter Battle category. You can expect to earn weapons such as sniper rifle if you have lots of points in the Marksman category, or an assault rifle should you show a propensity for the Assault category. You aren’t forced into any particular category, like a “class” in a RPG game, so you’ll get to try a lot of different weapons if you mix things up a little. There wasn’t one weapon that I didn’t find functional in one situation or another. The various unlockables, which include not only guns but armor and melee weapons as well, can also be used in the multiplayer modes.
As in the original Vegas, the scenery is a little generic. The casinos are not “brand name” casinos, merely reasonable facsimiles. They all have a similar style to them, and while I can’t say they lack detail, they do lack charm. Most of them have the ambience of a bowling alley. But unlike the original, there are few different locations to look forward to that take us out of the glitter gulch for a while. It’s a refreshing change to have some wide- open spaces like the small town in the Nevada desert. The sound effects are excellent and the voiceovers display human qualities and not just “tough guy” vernacular. The character models are very well designed. They animate smoothly and realistically. The cutscenes are well produced but can’t stretch the thin storyline much further.
Even though you can literally blast through the single-player mode in a day, the multiplayer modes will keep you coming back for weeks on end. The co-op mode is not an afterthought. Played with another person via LAN or online, it seems as though the game was built for more than one player. You even get the cutscenes with this mode. Up to four players can join in on the terrorist hunt, which is kind of like a frag fest version of an Easter egg hunt. Of course you can expect variations of Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, where you can customize the gameplay to your group’s desire, including respawning time, weapon restrictions, and when new players can join in.
Vegas 2 may cover a lot of old ground, but like the city itself, it’s something that you just can’t stop paying a visit to every now and then.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.0 Graphics
Recycled from original Vegas games. Same engine. Generic Vegas look. 4.5 Control
Solid, precise, and intuitive. Commands are simplified but still have depth. 4.6 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Good human emotions. Many sounds have also been recycled from original game. 4.4 Play Value
A straightforward shooter with plenty of action and enough depth to keep your mind occupied. 4.0 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.