Vegas, Baby! Vegas!
Oh look, another Tom Clancy sequel! How delightfully unpredictable! The never-ending franchise “Rainbow Six” is back with a second installment in the Vegas storyline. The plot plays out like any other Clancy Mad Lib. “______ (pick a nationality) terrorists have invaded U.S. Soil and are taking over ______(city). They have taken ______ (number) hostages that are being kept in a ______(some sort of warehouse — be creative) storage facility. Intel suggests the terrorists have ______(weapons of mass destruction) positioned towards ______(national monument) and will detonate in ______(number) hours.”
If you resisted the temptation to fill in the blanks with names of body parts, you hopefully understand how cookie cutter-like “Rainbow Six” games have become. But I haven’t been playing “Rainbow Six” since the days of Nintendo 64 for the fresh, edgy storytelling. In spite of repetitive story arcs, these squad-based shooters are usually pretty fun, so that keeps fans coming back.
“Vegas 2” does what all Rainbow titles do best –it offers great weapons and requires a tactical approach to room clearing. These are not run and gun first person shooters, as with each new game the enemy A.I. is stepped up quite a bit. You’ll want to take your time with each building, making sure to secure each room so you don’t have an enemy follow you out the door. Though the game can be played with the computer controlling members of your squad, the difficulty really calls for the help of a buddy. You can either split screen with a partner, or enlist the help of three others online to tackle the campaign. This is where the game shines, as you can really function as a team. My buddy fancies himself a pretty decent sniper, so he’ll take to the roof and pick enemies off. I’ll be down below calling out shots for my sniper and getting in close quarters with my trusty shotgun. Developing a strategy like this works great with a new ranking up system that allows each player to round out their marksmanship within the campaign. This overhauled tool offers points for a variety of skills ranging from headshots to killing an enemy while he’s sliding down a rope, to multiple kills with one explosive. Fun stuff.
Most often a room will have two to three entry points, allowing you to assess what lies in behind each door. You can deploy a “snake cam” that slides under the door and allows you to mark enemies according to their threat level. Again this is a blast for co-opers as you can call out your shots before swinging both doors open and surprise the terrorists with a flash bang or smoke grenade.
XBox360 players can also use the Xbox Live Vision Camera to take a self-portrait and have it morphed onto your character’s body. This may take a couple of tries to get the lighting right, but once you do — it’s a pretty accurate rendering. Nothing quite like dispensing enemies with a creepy smile on your face.
While “Rainbow Six Vegas 2” doesn’t really offer any new game play, it is a fun game to play cooperatively. There has been a sprint feature added, but considering this has become a standard in shooters, I would hardly call that groundbreaking. The game looks good, though at times the coloring of the environments has a cartoon-like quality. Unless you’re a diehard fan of the “Rainbow” series, the lack of innovation makes this title just another average FPS, and makes for a nice rental.
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