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Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas 2

I will never forget the excitement I felt when the Xbox 360 released two great games released virtually simultaneously: ‘Gears of War’ and “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas.’ I fondly remember staying up into the wee hours to see both games to completion and, in the end, spending far more time with ‘Vegas.’

‘Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas 2’ is upon us and, like the second bite of your favorite dessert is equally exciting to think about, but somehow less satisfying. ‘Vegas 2’ follows the original ‘Vegas’ in terms of gameplay. It offers a robust and challenging storyline, predictable, but engaging. It offers a nice a**nal of (I a*ume) realistic weapons and special forces equipment. It has great multiplayer.
Much like the first ‘Vegas,’ this new iteration has a storyline which involves a terrorist plot and some fun twists and turns through several chapters. The game will even leave you feeling like you better understand the characters for the first story. One of my frustrations with ‘Vegas 2’ is that the AI of teammates, while ok, becomes a stumbling block at times. For instance, it is not uncommon for the AI to set up right in your line of fire. You have to make sure to set the AI aggression to “infiltrate” if you do not want them to engage enemies. Unfortunately, the button used to do this is also the “map” button. The two actions varied only by how long you hold down the button.

The story can be played co-op with another player, but this portion of the multiplayer is not as well put together as the rest. Only the host has the only control over the action of the tow AI team members leaving the human partner with little to do other than shoot and follow. This is no show stopper, but weak when compared with the rest of the multiplayer experience.

Not many people likely picked up ‘Vegas 2’ for the single player experience. Like the original, the multiplayer is where it’s at. One of the best parts of ‘Vegas’ was the “perpetual character” concept in which, as your online character gained experience through play, you improved in rank. With each promotion came new weapons and gear. This was the main reason I spent so many more hours with ‘Vegas’ compared to ‘Gears of War.’ The character advancement system has been improved in ‘Vegas 2’ as it has been carried over into the single player game. In addition, if you have a ‘Vegas’ game saved on your console, you will be rewarded with your current character being automatically promoted to your original online character’s rank.

There are a few additional online modes to be experienced, but the most satisfying are the team based excursions. The maps are standard multiplayer fare with few places to hide and plenty of space to explore. It will be interesting to see which map(s) wins out as the communities’ favourite. Terrorist hunt, which can be played with up to 4 players is not all that fun as it is the humans against randomly generated AI opponents and you can’t berate them when you win.

The graphics package in ‘Vegas 2’ is pretty good, but there is noticeable stutter in many locations. I have always found this frustrating as it can kill a gaming experience. Considering that much of the action takes place in indoor environments, I am not quite sure why this could not have been more polished. It is not a major distraction, but it certainly caught my attention. The night vision and infra-red are very useful.

The sound and voice acting is great with cinematically tense music played during encounters with “hostiles.” I actually found myself using the music to inform me if areas were clear of enemies or not, as the music swiftly becomes relaxed when you are not engaged in combat. ‘Vegas 2’ is a good example of how soundtrack can subtly impact the experience without getting in the way.

I was very excited when I received ‘Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2.’ The game certainly was worth the time it took to play and I would have no problem dropping cash for it. However, the overall experience was not as grand as the first. That, combined with some annoying flaws, brings the title to a lower overall score than its big brother received. I am not telling you to avoid the game; just don’t expect something wholly better than the first.

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