Rainbow Six Vegas 2 comes hot off the heels of its predecessor, Rainbow Six Vegas from late 2006. The first Vegas game was highly regarded as one of the better shooters of this generation with plenty of praise from critics and consumers all over. Does the sequel stack up? Yes, very much so.
Rainbow Six, as a series, has never been the benchmark for graphical power, and Vegas 2 is no exception. It doesn’t necessarily look bad by any means, it’s just nothing to gawk or drool at. As with most Unreal Engine 3 games, it has quite a bit of jarring pop-in textures. The character models look great and the environments are lush and full of life, showing off Sin City in every beautiful detail.
Thankfully, Vegas 2 controls wonderfully. Everything feels great, being able to pop off enemies with relative ease. Grenades are thrown with just a simple touch of a button, as is cover. To cover, just walk to a corner, press the L button and you are behind cover. From this angle, you can see enemies coming in order to give you the advantage, and you can also shoot from this angle, either by leaning out from cover, or blind fire.
The story of Vegas 2 can be quite confusing. It begins as a prequel to Rainbow Six 3, with Bishop at the helm heading to a science observatory in France. From then, it advances five years in the future to Las Vegas. There are plenty of twists and turns in the story that will keep you guessing what is going to happen next. Each of the characters has their own unique personality and traits to differentiate. You play as Bishop, the leader of the Rainbow team, along with Knight, Gabe and Logan.
The campaign can be played solo or online with one other player. Unlike Vegas 1, you can play the entire campaign online. The co-op is instantly accessible from the single player campaign. Whenever you need help, just invite a friend straight to your location and you’ve got instant assistance. The co-op is very much appreciated due to the AI of your squad mates having the mind and attention span of a drunken door knob.
While the campaign does nearly everything well, the meat of Vegas 2 is the multiplayer. Team Leader headlines the plethora of modes with plenty of variety. It allows for up to 14 players online, along with supporting a robust P.E.C. (Persistent Elite Creation) mode allowing you to customize your character with a lot of different equipment. Each kill awards XP, allowing players to rank their characters up for more equipment and camo. It should also be noted that this time around, XP is earned in every game mode, not just multi player. This allows for easier ranking to ease the grind.
P.E.C. is even more robust than Vegas 1. It has an ‘ACES’ (Advanced Combat Enhancement and Specialization) system with different rewards based on how you play. It is divided between Marksman, CQB, and Assault. Assault awards for explosive kills, CQB awards for close quarter combat, and Marksman awards for headshots and long range kills. The P.E.C. system, along with ACES makes the game very fun and addictive. I always want to come back for just one more game to get to the next rank.
The maps for Rainbow Six Vegas 2 are all highly detailed and well designed. Each one has its own unique playing style. In Villa, you’re given more options as to how to play as it provides both a close quarter environment, and a long range environment. With a map like CQB Training, you’re probably better off with a long range weapon like a Sniper Rifle or Assault Rifle. Having a good variety of excellent maps helps, and I can’t single out one map that I don’t enjoy.
In conclusion, Rainbow Six Vegas 2 is a great shooter. It compiles everything that was great in the first Vegas game, and improves on almost every level. The single player campaign can be completed within 10 hours, while the multiplayer will last quite a bit longer. The multiplayer alone, along with P.E.C., is worth the price of admission, and really pushes the limit of addictiveness.