Review: Rainbow Six Vegas 2

Time to roll the dice!

Release Date: March 2008
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Genre: First Person Shooter

Let me start off by mentioning that Rainbow Six Vegas 2 is FREE this month on Xbox Live (Games with Gold) and if you’ve got a Subscription, you should go and hit download right now! Vegas 2 will also work on Xbox One… so you really have no excuse!

Now we have that out of the way, and you’re waiting for your download, we’ll start properly. Vegas 2 is actually the 7th Rainbow 6 game. And if you’ve played any of the others you’ll know what’s coming. (I especially liked the original back in the 90s on PC)

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Rainbow 6 games are tactical, tense affairs. Your shields won’t regenerate here. If you try the all-guns-blazing approach you’ll be shot to pieces. Each room you enter needs to be scouted and the way you and your team enter is up to you. Rappel down ropes and smash through the windows? Flashbangs through the doorway to stun the enemy? Or come in from 2 seperate entry points in a classic “pincer” movement? You can do all this in Vegas, and when you get it right, there’s a great sense of satisfaction.

The story for Vegas 2 is your standard hunt for chemical weapons and terrorists, and the bright lights of Las Vegas make for an ideal setting. There’s a lot of variety too, with missions taking place indoors and out, in daylight and at night. There’s something really creepy about inching through an abandoned casino, listening for footsteps or gunfire, but only hearing the music from rows and rows of slot machines. And there are plenty of twists to keep the story interesting.

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A neat feature of Vegas 2 is that you can customise your character, Bishop. Anything from Armour to weapons can be tweaked and changed, so you can suit your loadout to match your playstyle. If you own a camera for your system of choice, you can even put your OWN FACE into the game! This was a very cool concept back in 2008. Weapons can be upgraded as you play through the game too.  Weapons handle really well in this game, they sound great and reloading is snappy.

Vegas 2 is played in first-person view, but the camera snaps back at certain points, like when you’re up against a wall, and peering round a corner. This lets you observe your surroundings before you make your move. You watch the bad guys a LOT during this game and the little conversations that the guards have can get a little repetitive. The saving grace is the enemy AI, though. Guards take up really good positions behind cover at the first hint of trouble, and you’ll have to take your time and pick them off carefully. The higher difficulties can make this game EXTRMELY challenging.

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Next, we’ll talk multiplayer. The story of Vegas 2 can be played solo, or co-operativley with a friend. “Terrorist Hunt” is a seperate game mode and supports up to 4 players, and with the sheer amount of bad guys to take out, that can get really interesting! Finally, there’s adversarial multiplayer, where 2 teams fight to the death. You’ll need razor-sharp reactions to succeed there!

Much to my annoyance, Vegas 2 has decided to use the dreaded “progress bars” to reward the way you play. Get a set amount of kills in a certain way, or use a piece of equipment a certain number of times, and you’ll get rewarded. This can unlock new gear for your character as I mentioned above. That’s all well and good, but these bars at the side of my screen distracted me and took me out of the experience a little bit. The way you complete each mission should be down to the player in my opinion, and trying to force players to use different equipment or play differently just to fill bars can result in quick deaths and increased frustration levels!

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I guess nothing is perfect, then! Still, Rainbow 6 Vegas 2 is a worthy successor to the original outing and is more of what we wanted. If this is your first trip through a Rainbow game, it may take you a while to get a feel for the mechanics and the pacing. But once you’re in, you’ll want to keep playing right through to the end. Your team mates and enemies both behave perfectly, the presentation is fantastic and the multiplayer modes add some real replay value. Talking about value, did I mention this thing is FREE on Xbox?

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A good, solid addition to the Tom Clancy brand. Vegas 2 has it’s own quirks, and isn’t the easiest game to get to grips with, but it’s a rewarding experience and has very addictive gameplay!

Graphics: Neon lights, explosions, and a Las Vegas Sunset. Count me in! – 9
Sound: Repetetive chatter makes me cringe, but music and voice acting isn’t too bad – 7
Gameplay: Squad tactics, intense firefights are great, just needed a bit more variety. – 7
Lifespan: Campaign and multiplayer modes plus a decent difficulty curve – 8

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