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'Rainbow' rocks Vegas again

March 12, 2008

By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada

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The way the developers of Rainbow Six Vegas 2 talk, you'd think the upcoming sequel to last year's hit would be taking place in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love.

The sequel is basically a big 'thank you' to the fans of the first game, according to 'Vegas 2' designer Philippe Therien and the game's product manager Carl Caldareri were on-hand recently to give a walk-through of some of the new features in 'Vegas 2'.

Rainbow 6: Vegas 2Therien said they actually considered making it an expansion pack for the original 'Vegas', but realized they had a lot more to add to the game, warranting a full sequel. One of the biggest loose ends was how the first game finished, with one heck of a cliffhanger. He assures players that that won't be the case at all in 'Vegas 2'.

That being said, fans can expect a lot of what they've come to love in 'Vegas 2' and those who haven't been fans of the series in the past, probably won't find much new to turn their crank this time around. The gist of the game is still all about hunting terrorists using a team of four men and a whole lotta firepower. Anyone expecting a 200 km/h shooter a la Call of Duty 4 can look elsewhere. The Rainbow Six series is all about being tactical, and Vegas was one of the first of the recent new crop of shooters to incorporate a full-on cover system, and you'll need it as you try to sneak up on terrorists and get the jump on the them. You'll be opening, flashing and fragging and clearing as well using your snake cam, tagging baddies, and using sniper rifles to take the terrorists out as quickly and quietly as possible.

Besides watching Therien and Caldareri go through the game, G4 Tech TV Canada had a chance to play through a couple of levels from Vegas 2 - co-operatively with another human no less! - and we'll tell you right now that one of the levels doesn't even actually take place in Las Vegas. The gameplay was instantly recognizable for me, and it took some time to unlearn the run-and-gun antics of recent shooters like the aforementioned Call of Duty 4 and Turok.

Speaking of which, you can definitely see some of the influence Call of Duty 4 had on the game, such as a new sprint button, as well as the ability to level up depending on what style of game you play the most (marksman, closer quarters, etc).

Rainbow 6: Vegas 2Still though, what we saw was pure Rainbow from beginning to end. The developers for all intents and purposes hit a home run the first time around, so for the sequel, they used the same in-house game engine, tweaked things like lighting and otherwise improved the graphics, and made sure to keep all the features that fans loved the first go-'round. Best of all, you can now play through the entire single player campaign co-operatively with another person. Four-player would have brought tears of joy to my eyes, but even two player co-op is a great addition. At first I was put off by the fact that only the game's host can control the other two AI-controlled squadmates, but realized that it could have been absolute chaos trying to get two people to control those two and talk to each other about what tactics to use.

One thing that I love about Vegas 2 is the fact that you can power up your character even during the single player campaign, to aid your character in multiplayer (yes, Persistent Elite Creation is back). In other words, you could play through the entire campaign without even touching online, but if you rocked things in the campaign, you'll still be a force the second you finally do go online. You'll have earned powerups and unlocked new weapons and gear for when you do take things onto Xbox Live, the Playstation Network, or on your PC.

For those who were worried about the multiplayer looking a little less-than-great compared to the single player (according to the developer, the first game's multiplayer had about half the textures of the single player - and it showed), fret not because though they didn't get into specifics, they said that's not the case this time around. Fingers crossed ...

I came away very impressed by what I saw in Vegas 2. Again, it doesn't change the formula up too much but additions like the co-op campaign and improved graphics are sure to make fans of the original come back in droves. Here's hoping it is really good because fans won't be getting any other Vegas shenanigans - Therien says that this is the last Rainbow Six 'Vegas' titles. I didn't get a straight answer when asking if the Rainbow Six squad would be back in another game in the future, but considering the success the series has had over the years, one would think Ubisoft would be crazy to just abandon the series all together.

The game will be released sometime around March 19th simultaneously on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. All three versions will feature the same content right out of the box, from the multiplayer maps (13 of them) to the game modes (Total Conquest for everyone this time - sweet!) to campaign co-op modes. Check back to G4 Tech TV soon for a full review of the game.


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