Games: 'Vegas' a good bet
Stars and Stripes March 30, 2008
Rainbow Six’s warriors have a job to finish beyond Las Vegas’ glitzy Strip.
Terrorists are lurking among Sin City’s hotels, public buildings and industrial areas, planning to detonate bombs and unleash poisonous gas. In “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2,” you play as Bishop, leading the team that must track down the thugs, rescue hostages and defuse the bombs.
The M-rated game is a solid sequel to last year’s excellent first-person shooter from Ubisoft. It advances the story of Rainbow Six and tweaks the game play to make it even more exciting.
After creating a character, you can embark on the campaign, play “terrorist hunt” or compete online. Experience gained in any mode applies in all modes, unlocking additional weapons, armor, gear and clothing for your character.
The campaign can be played by either one or two players at a time. The missions unfold in a variety of settings, including hotels, a convention center, library, theater, junk yard and industrial areas. The maps are often sprawling labyrinths that provide ample cover and plenty of passages for you and your foes to use.
On most missions, you’re accompanied by two companions who provide additional firepower. They prove most beneficial when you’re clearing a room that you’ve already surveyed using a snake cam — a handy gadget that returns from last year’s game. After poking the cam under the door, you can designate enemies you want your companions to shoot. You can then order them to open the door, hurl in some sort of grenade and clear the room. It usually works very well.
Enemies are typically pretty smart, taking advantage of cover and offering support to each other. This, combined with the ambush opportunities provided by the maps, makes the game challenging and fun.
The campaign is a bit on the short side, but that’s forgivable because “terrorist hunt” is so good — especially when played in co-op. It involves fighting console-controlled terrorists and offers a good selection of maps that require different types of weapons and tactics to clear. There’s also a good selection of online modes.
The controls are very smooth and efficient. A welcome addition is a sprint button that helps you quickly get out of — or into — trouble.
The graphics are very good, delivering realistic settings, smooth character animations and authentic effects.
The game earns its M rating because of frequent swearing and sprays of blood.
“Vegas 2” doesn’t offer a major overhaul of its predecessor, but that wasn’t needed. Its game-play tweaks and new maps simply sweeten the pot.
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PCOn the Web: www.rainbowsixgame.com