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Good, but flawed, and not different enough from RSV1.
on 8 April 2008
TOM CLANCY'S RAINBOW SIX VEGAS 2 is set before and during the events of the previous game, and has you controlling Bishop. For most of the game you are flanked by Michael and Jung (who you may remember joined you at the Las Vegas strip in the previous game), and an optional second player (yes, this time around, two-player co-op campaign includes the computer-controlled AI like Mike and Jung!), either split-screen or online, using a drop-in, drop-out method.
As before, you can carry two main guns, a pistol, and two special grenades. This time, however, to start with only a small number of these are available to use, and the others can only be unlocked by scoring a high-enough rating to improve skills such as marksmanship, close-quarters battling and explosives (you can get points for things such as head-shots, kills while using ropes, and other special methods). The good thing is that you can improve your player's stats both online and offline, taking your character from the campaign into the terrorist hunts and multiplayer versus modes! Despite this, you can still take the guns of downed enemies, even if you haven't unlocked them for selection in outfitting stations yourself (although they disappear if you don't keep them when you visit such a station).
It's fair to say that, if you liked RSV1 then you'll probably like this, but maybe not quite as much. Whereas RSV1 was really quite well thought-out, there doesn't seem to have been quite the same level of care taken in this newer game.
Some bits slow down to a point where the frame-rate drops and the on-screen movement becomes jerky (even offline). The music and sound effects, as well as many of the yells from the terrorists themselves, have been largely borrowed from the previous game, although there are some new ones. This might seem lazy to some.
The game is much more annoying than before, too. It seems to be more prone to crashing (as I write this the game's only been out for just over a fortnight and it's crashed three times already on my 360). There are also more cheap deaths resulting, partly due to some sloppy design, partly due to the fact that bullets can now penetrate certain cover types, and partly due to you simply not being able to survive as many hits as you could seem to in the previous game. This could lead to some very frustrating deaths, and even the Terrorist Hunts on the lowest difficulty setting will test your gaming skills!
Only two players can play simultaneous co-op, even online (the previous RSV allowed four) -- while you still have two AI cohorts that make up the four, they are controlled only by player one. The thing is, the AI of your two CPU cohorts still gets in a muddle, and seems to be more problematic than it was in RSV1. (Terrorist Hunts still permit up to four players, though, which is good because they are really hard!)
The biggest problem with RSV2 is that it really doesn't add much to what we saw in RSV1 (which is now available on the Classics budget label). Yes, the ability to develop your character offline as well as on is a good idea, and you can now sprint and directly order your CPU-controlled friends to throw a grenade in a specific direction, but apart from that the game still feels like the previous game.
Don't get me wrong, the game's still quite good, but it's just a shame that more was not done to make it stand out, not only from its predecessor, but from other shooters. With Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare doing the rounds online and offline, RSV2 just doesn't quite reach the dizzying heights of success of that game and doesn't look and sound as good either.