Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 - Review by Kim Fidler
When I initially heard that Rainbow Six Vegas 2 was getting released, I was excited. I never had any intention of picking up Vegas 1, but with a sequel out on the market, I felt it was a great time to cut my teeth on Tom Clancy’s Vegas adventure. It’s always nice to get in on the action right from the release of a game, but with RSV2, I really didn’t know what I was getting into. A single player story that directly continues from the first title, and a multiplayer that plays exactly the same way as its first time out. Not a bad thing, but a little daunting for those of us just being introduced to the series.
The first thing I decided to take on in Rainbow Six Vegas 2 was the single player mission. Being the type of gamer I am, I slapped it on the “Normal” difficulty and thought that it’d be a breeze to walk through the game in one sitting. Prior to playing RSV2, I had heard horror stories about the difficulty of many Tom Clancy titles. While the Vegas series is a little more lenient, playing through on normal is akin to what many titles would feel like on their hard setting. If you aren’t a huge FPS player, it pains me, but you might actually want to try playing through the game on casual before taking on the harder difficulties.
The single player story mode gives you two AI characters that will basically do whatever you want them to do. Such as take point and drop any enemies they happen to run into, hang back and shoot enemies from behind cover, and above all, clear out rooms that you’re a little wary about going into. Your companions can and often will do many stupid things, but it seems that they tend to stick to what they know and they’re a welcome addition to helping you clear out the levels.
The story missions don’t take much commitment to get through, but the only complaint I had was that I had absolutely no clue as to what was going on. You play the role of Bishop, a grizzled veteran of the Rainbow Six team, as he assists and guides the story that initially was played in the original game. That is all I really understood about the story, and sadly, I never felt the connection with the characters that I did with a game like “Call of Duty 4.” Other than that, it was a great learning process that not only does a great job of introducing you to the gameplay of the Vegas series, but does a decent job of nudging you out of that run and gun attitude many of us have adopted from other titles.
As you play through the single player, you will notice numbers popping up at the bottom of your screen. Those numbers relate to one of the best new features introduced in RSV2, the ACES system. The ACES system is borrowed heavily from what COD4 started with their experience system. ACES rewards people for scoring kills in certain ways, and with those kill points, you’re awarded with new guns, more experience, and new clothing for outfitting your character. It works great but there really isn’t enough levels in the system to keep the rewards flowing up until your Elite rank level. Fans of the series will also be happy to hear that experience points can also be gained in the Story Mode, and Terrorist Hunt Mode. Meaning that you no longer have to play thousands of multiplayer games to keep the experience points coming.
The character customization also returns in RSV2, but not only is it available in multiplayer, but it is available in the Story Mode. Not a crazy addition, but it’s nice to be able to play your own character throughout the campaign. Speaking of the character creation system, it’s back and expanded to include more items, more weapons, and more camo colors to satisfy everyone. They also decided to bring back the ability to use your Live Eye Camera to put yourself in the game. I’ve tried numerous times to get it to work but every single time it looks like someone is trying to asphyxiate me with a plastic bag. Nice function but you can tell that lighting is a huge factor on making it look good.
While the Story Mode is decent, it’s not the reason most people decided to lay down the cash for Rainbow Six Vegas 2. The multiplayer was the main draw of Vegas 1, and with Vegas 2, the trend continues. With more online modes than the original, Vegas 2 expands on what people loved, and fixed most of the little quirks that people didn’t enjoy. Having not played the first title, I really didn’t know what I was getting into, or if I’d actually be able to hang with the people that had been playing for years. Well, I was surprised in some good and some bad ways.
My initial impressions of RSV2s multiplayer was that it was much slower than what I was used to. No longer was running around and blasting people rewarded with points, but instead it was rewarded with a headshot and respawn. It took a little getting used to, but after about five hours of online play, I began to get the hang of sneaking around and being patient for my kills. Trust me, I died a lot and quickly realized that the types of people that play RSV2 online are much more thorough in how they dispatch you.
One of the great things about Rainbow 2’s multiplayer is the sheer amount of maps and game types that you have available to you. There are tons of maps from Vegas 1, as well as the new maps from Vegas 2. With those maps you also have a bunch of modes to occupy yourself with. The nicest thing about the variety is being able to change what you’re playing at any given time, and feeling almost like you’re playing a different game altogether. I tend to radiate more towards Deathmatch style modes, but every once in awhile it is nice to change over to an objective based map.
The Terrorist Hunt mode that was insanely popular in Vegas 1 returns and does it better than before. The Terrorist Hunt mode is best described as a bunch of terrorists are thrown into a level, and you (and up to 3 of your friends) are in charge of taking them out. I have probably put more time in Terrorist Hunt than any other mode, just because it’s great to play a really fun, polished co-op mode where you can relax and just chat with your friends. It does get a little stressful when you can’t die and there’s 2 terrorists sneaking around, but other than that you can sit back, kick up your feet and relax while enjoying a non-competitive online game.
The only complaints I have with the multiplayer is how the interface feels archaic and dated. How a game can come out without a party system, is beyond me. I’m told that it’s pretty much the same system from Vegas 1, which really wasn’t that great to begin with. For example, when you play a ranked match, you get into the game and when it finishes you’re booted back to the main menu. Not a screen that will allow you quickly join another ranked game, but the main menu where you choose what mode you want to play. It only relates to ranked games, thankfully player matches are handled in a much easier to navigate system.
Up to writing this, I have probably put about 30 hours into the various online modes of Rainbow Six Vegas 2. I have played a handful of levels of the Story mode in Co-Op, most of the maps on Terrorist Hunt, and tons of adversarial Versus games. The nicest part about it, is that I keep coming back for more. This is one title that I will keep coming back to just because the online components are so fun and addicting.
While my friends are now claiming that Rainbow Six Vegas 2 is the best thing on the planet, I would agree but on a smaller scale. I wouldn’t rate Rainbow Six Vegas 2 as the best online game ever, but I will say that it should be in every Xbox 360 owners’ library. Not only does it have a solid single player, but it has one of the best multiplayer components of any title I have ever played. I would go so far as to say that if you own Rainbow Six Vegas 2, Halo 3, and Call of Duty 4, you would be set for years when it comes to online play. There are some issues that could have been worked on, but overall Vegas 2 is a great package that should tide the masses over until the next instalment in the series.