To start off with, I have not played the first Rainbow Six: Vegas, and I am reviewing this on the Playstation 3, which is [so I hear] the inferior of the trio. Alright moving on.
Let's start with the graphics. Not particularly impressed. A fair amount of 'jaggies' probably due to the inability of the Playstation 3 to produce any real sort of Anti-Aliasing. That aside however, the graphics were still quite mediocre. The weapons often felt misshaped and had a 'clunky' appearance, and the game was initially an eye sore to look at. Of course that grew on me, but is it supposed to? Shouldn't a game be stunning and impressive at first glance? That's why we have the word 'Novelty'. It could have done with some more Casino looking levels too instead of feeling like a warehouse with purple carpets and slot machines. Regardless, I have seen worse and Vegas 2 is not defined by its graphics. Has any Tom Clancy game?
No. The fun in the game is living a little SWAT team fantasy as you rappel down buildings and through windows, breach rooms with charges and order your squad around (often to their idiotic demise). You won't be far into the game before you realize there's nothing more to it than what you've experienced in the first few hours, but what that is has been done beautifully. The AI here is both great and terrible. That's referring to your teammates and enemies respectively. While your squad will often charge to their immediate death, you can give them orders which they obey like, well, like soldiers. So long as you keep your wit, your squad should survive. They can also take a lot more bullets than you can, so it's often a good idea to send them in first. Enemies on the weird deformed other hand are not smart. They are quite un-smart. They will regularly pop out of their hiding spot to take a shot at you even while under sniper fire. They will blindly walk into your line of sight and of course they have the stupid dialogue I assume you're meant to overhear. You know, generic one-liner no.86: "I thought I just heard something? I guess I am going crazy".
Back on to a positive note, the guns. They may not look real, but they sound and definitely feel real. The loud crack of a Sniper Rifle is impressive, even as much so as the great recoil and satisfaction you get after eliminating a target a hundred yards away. The Sniper Rifles are just really cool. It's the best way to describe them. That's not to say the other guns aren't great. Most of them feel like they should, but in contrast there are games out there that do it better and it's hard to feel like Vegas 2 is unique in that way. Where Call of Duty feels like you're actually in the fight, Vegas 2 feels like you're reading a book. A Tom Clancy book maybe? It really isn't bad if I make it sound that way. It's above average let's say.
Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 defines tactical squad based shooters like McDonalds defines Big Macs. Not because they're good, but because no one else is doing it. And Big Macs are ok once in a while.