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Rainbow Six Vegas 2 on Game and Player

Rainbow Six Vegas 2

Ed Kirchgessner  //  March 27, 2008

Too little has changed in the last fifteen months.


o be honest, I'm a little bit confused as to why I'm writing a review of Rainbow Six Vegas 2 — since Gamepro is quoted on the game's cover as saying it's "the perfect shooter," I'd feel pretty content to take that as fact and go back to playing other less than perfect titles like Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4. Of course, I'd then be doing you a grave disservice. You see, Ubisoft seems to have taken the old adage "if it isn't broken don't fix it" to heart — so much so that this title is left looking more like an expansion pack than a legitimate retail release.

Vegas 2's levels are large,
though not necessarily pretty.
Other publishers are guilty of the same offense. Each year, Electronic Arts cashes in with new game releases under its various professional sports licenses. Though certainly motivated by profit, this constant stream of titles is at least defensible — after all, rosters change. In contrast, what can Ubisoft possibly put forth to defend the multitude of Tom Clancy games they've been excreting since becoming the license's exclusive publisher nearly a decade ago? Don't get me wrong: Red Storm and Ubisoft Montreal have both developed some outstanding products over the years. Imagine, though, how much more respectable the various Clancy franchises could be if there were a few more months between releases.

Now that I'm done editorializing, on with the matter at hand. Rainbow Six Vegas 2 is undoubtedly the closest thing Xbox 360 gamers have to a tactical shooter. This title's ridiculously precise controls and its wealth of team-oriented game types make Call of Duty 4 look downright arcadey by comparison. Although the game's online community may leave you believing otherwise, this is a "thinking man's" shooter — teamwork is always rewarded and a strong understanding of the maps and their intricacies is required.

What your enemies lack in smarts,
they make up for with persistence.
Much like its predecessor, one purchases Rainbow Six Vegas 2 for its multiplayer component — aside from new maps, two new gametypes and the addition of a "sprint" button, little has changed since the original Vegas. Of course, that also means that the weapon list is still substantial, aiming is dead-on accurate and play is relatively hiccup free. According to Ubisoft, matchmaking's been streamlined this time around, which should result in less downtime and superior skill-pairing. I didn't notice any huge improvements in this regard during my short review period, so I'll just have to take the publisher's word for it. In terms of its visuals, there's very little here to remind you that you're playing this year's game. That's not to say that the game's graphics are bad, although the visuals seem a tad underwhelming in the wake of games like Call of Duty 4.

Rainbow Six Vegas 2's single-player game remains relatively unchanged as well. I didn't think it possible, but the campaign's computer-controlled teammates have grown considerably dumber over the past fifteen months. Some programmer with a sick sense of humor has your partners Jung and Michael thinking that the best cover is to be found in wide-open spaces. Hilarity ensued the first time Jung absentmindedly took a stroll into an enemy-infested area: his ineptitude quickly grew old, though. Don't confuse the newfound ferocity of the enemy "AI" as a sign of improvement, either. Vegas 2 seems even more reliant on triggered events than its predecessor. You'll constantly see ambushes coming from a mile away, and there will be absolutely nothing you can do about it.

Ubisoft continues to refine this franchise's "role-playing" elements. The "Persistent Elite Creation" (PEC) mode has come a long way since it began in Rainbow Six: Lockdown. This time around, experience earned in the single player campaign carries over to multiplayer, and vice-versa. As one moves through the ranks and completes various in-game objectives, they'll unlock new weapons and equipment which they can use to outfit their virtual combatant. Support for the Xbox Live vision camera remains intact, but I'm afraid its results are just as scary as they were the last time around.

If you're a diehard fan of tactical shooters, Rainbow Six Vegas 2 could prove a worthwhile investment. Multiplayer's options are more plentiful than you'll find in most games, and the controls and gameplay are smooth and precise. Fans of more arcadey shooters and casual players should probably steer clear of this release, however. Particularly if you've played the original, there just isn't enough here to justify the full retail price. Competitive players may appreciate the new "sprint" button. Me? I'll see you on Halo.

Rainbow Six Vegas 2



Ubisoft Montreal



NA Release

March 18, 2008


Play Mode

ESRB Rating

In Favor

  • Fine-tuned controls
  • Multiplayer options aplenty
  • Huge arsenal of weapons


  • Plain-jane graphics
  • Lobotomized AI
  • Less a sequel than an expansion

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