Admittedly, if Vegas 2 is still singing from the Vegas 1 hymn book, veterans may detect a slight change of emphasis. Ironically, the first Rainbow Six to feature a run control – more Battlefield-style sprint than Quake-style speed dash – is a less run-and-gun friendly game than its predecessor. Play it on anything above the easiest casual mode (and I really would recommend that you do) and Vegas 2 demands a more careful and considered style of play. Fail to make use of cover or employ your team effectively and you’ll be toast for the surprisingly cunning terrorist forces. This lot don’t go in for the predictable pop-in, pop-out routines of their more cretinous terrorist brethren, preferring to sneak towards you or vary their attacks so that, at times, it can be hard to bring them down. For much of the game, your own team deserve similar praise. They can clear a room of hostiles and seem more capable of covering each other than last time around. If you want to soften up the scum before picking off the hard-nuts yourself, these are the men for the job. It has to be said, however, that brain-power isn’t always in evidence. Why they’re incapable of healing each other without a direct order from you is a mystery. Why two highly trained operatives are incapable of walking past a barrel or broom without knocking it over is a matter for a development post-mortem.
On the whole, though, Vegas 2 is a solid and consistent game. The problem is that it isn’t a great one. Vegas 2 has all the mechanics in place that Vegas 1 did – and enhanced them in a few cases – but the single player campaign isn’t actually quite as much fun. I’d start by blaming the setting. I guess Ubisoft felt that some change of milieu was a necessity for Vegas 2, but this has resulted in the perverse decision to leave casinos and night-clubs alone and focus on the industrial facilities, big civic buildings and convention centres off the main strip. It’s an interesting choice, and I’d have to admit there’s something satisfying about shoot outs in the very building where some of us at TrustedReviews have endured the CES or Comdex trade shows. Sadly, it’s one that’s resulted in a lot of fairly bland locations of the sort that we’re used to from other modern action games. Vegas 1 was special partly because it was in Vegas, so why remove the glitz and glamour. It’s telling that when the game returns to tacky night-clubs or showbiz theatres, the atmosphere picks up for a while.
Next, let’s talk about the pacing. Vegas 2 delivers engaging tactical shoot-out scenario after engaging tactical shoot-out scenario, but after a while they blend into one another. The game grows more interesting as it throws in wider spaces or areas with several levels from which terrorists might attack, but for long stretches it feels monotonous. In effect, a game that seems desperate to create drama through its narrative, with buildings shattered and civilians killed off by the busload, seems incapable of creating it through its gameplay. While the ‘bang and clear’ gunplay still has its own weird tension, Vegas 2 rarely inspires any other response.