Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 First Impressions

Tom Clancy's elite agents return to Sin City for the second Rainbow Six: Vegas. We interrogated the development team and got a first look at the game.


The first Rainbow Six: Vegas was a smash hit for Ubisoft in late 2006, winning over the critics and topping the chart with relative ease. While it paired a fantastic single-player mode with rewarding multiplayer action, it was the spectacular location that really caught the imagination. With so many fans still playing the game over a year later, a sequel was a sure thing; thus, Ubisoft Montreal is readying it for release on the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 in March 2008. While that doesn't seem far off, the publisher has remained completely tight-lipped about the game--until now. With that in mind, we were at the front of the queue when Ubisoft offered journalists a first chance to see the developers and get a first look at the game in action.

Rainbow Six Vegas left players with a cliffhanger finale, and we have been eagerly waiting to find out how the story will progress. Although Vegas 2 will follow directly on from the events of the first game, it will also fill in some of the gaps in the original storyline, covering events both before and during it. From a story point of view, it's almost as if it's a sequel, a prequel, and a director's cut all rolled into one. And despite the success of the original's cliffhanger ending, the developers promise Vegas 2 will offer an "explosive finale" that will end this story for good.

Aside from bringing the story arc of Rainbow Six: Vegas to completion, there are a number of other things that Ubisoft Montreal wants to do with the sequel. The big idea is that you'll always be improving your character, whether you're playing through the single-player campaign or some of the brand new multiplayer modes. It's all determined by the Advanced Combat and Specialisation (ACES) system, which dynamically assesses how you're performing based on assault, marksmanship, and close combat ratings.

These rewards will be linked to your style of play, so if you prefer to blow through doors and use grenades, you're going to be given more explosives with which to play around. If you hang around and take people out from afar, you're likely to be given a shiny new sniper rifle instead. However you play, the more you engage in the world, the more you'll be able to add to your arsenal. Of the 11 new weapons, Ubisoft dropped in mentions of the M468 rifle and the SR-25 sniper rifle--the latter being a reward for good marksmanship.

With all this customisation going on, it would be a shame to have to give your new toys to a run-of-the-mill main character. The Persistent Elite Creation system allows you to change every aspect of your avatar's appearance and gives you the opportunity to create a black, Hispanic, or female character for the first time. The only restriction is that your main character is called Bishop, and you're the leader of the Rainbow Six squad. You won't be spending too much time looking at your main character in the game, though, because Ubisoft's aim is to make the game as interactive and seamless as possible.

 The city of sin is back for a starring role in Rainbow Six: Vegas 2.
The city of sin is back for a starring role in Rainbow Six: Vegas 2.

While all these new features will definitely be a draw for fans, one of the main attractions will be visiting the Vegas strip one more time. Sin City will be replicated using an upgraded version of Unreal Engine 3.0, but more interesting than the technology is Ubisoft's stated intention to recreate "Vegas and beyond." This means new locales, such as streets and back alleys, industrial areas and oil refineries, and even the city's famous monorail stations and strip clubs. Playing as elite government soldiers, you won't be knocking on front doors wearing a cheeky smile though--you'll still be rappelling down the side of buildings, smashing through huge windows, and using whatever slot machine, dustbin, or stripper you can find for cover.

The combat in the original Vegas had a superb cover-and-fire mechanic, and technological improvements should twist this gameplay dynamic on its head for the sequel. You can no longer stand behind fragile objects safe in the knowledge that you're hidden because wood and barrels will break apart under gunfire. This has a substantial effect on your artificial intelligence teammates, whose routines have also been rewritten to react more realistically to the situations in which they find themselves. The development team demonstrated this by showing how previous AI would run on straight lines to get to whatever target you sent them, but in the sequel, they head to a point in a fire-and-move pattern, alternately stopping to cover teammates and running themselves.

In addition to offering new Vegas locales to explore, Vegas 2 clearly aims to reclaim the series' position as the thinking-person's shooter. It will still include such elements as rappelling and the snake cam. You'll also have to order your men to take corners and break through certain doors. Additionally, there'll be picture-in-picture overlays on the tactical map so that you can easily see things from your teammates' points of view, as well as your own. Your squad is also much chattier than before, feeding you intel and status reports over the radio as you move around. The idea is that you'll be able to make more informed decisions and react accordingly; perhaps ordering your team to suppress a zone that it has told you houses a number of enemies.

The single-player campaign is shaping up to offer another 10 to 12 hours of gameplay, but it's the multiplayer that really promises the long-term challenge. Housed on the disc will be 13 maps that mix brand new designs with Rainbow Six classics. The team says that it has tried to improve the layout of the maps for this outing with better choke points to encourage bouts of intense action. The improved graphics engine will offer the same benefit online as offline, so you can expect the same level of detail when you play locally or look further afield for a challenge. The standard multiplayer modes on offer will be assassination and conquest, although that's at the expense of the capture-the-flag-style mode. Ubisoft is also promising two new multiplayer modes, although at this stage, they're strictly under wraps. We expect more information before release, but for now, we're being kept in the dark.

On the other hand, Ubisoft was only too eager to reveal that the entire career mode will be playable cooperatively, with the second player joining in as a character called Knight (chess references abound). While Bishop will play lead and order the AI teammates around, the second player can jump in and out seamlessly, allowing him or her to play for short bouts or the entire game if he or she wishes. The much-loved terrorist hunt mode is also making a return, and you'll be shooting down a line of respawning bad guys in either single or multiplayer. Up to four players can engage in a group hunt online or one player can go it alone with two AI teammates.

Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 looks set to capitalise on the popularity of the first game with a sequel that offers a proper end to the story and new gameplay elements. While it does appear very similar to its predecessor at first glance, the new locales and the character upgrade system look like they'll be a good enough reason visit the gambling capital once again. We're pleased to hear that the main campaign will playable cooperatively and the many multiplayer modes on offer should provide a good deal of longevity post-release. With a March release for all three platforms already tantalisingly close, expect more information on the game shortly.

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Avatar image for Grahamatica

This game should not disapoint if you liked the last one. If the gameplay stays the same, it will be worth getting, especially for the multiplayer

Avatar image for dhop57

I still have Rainbow Six 3 on my hard drive. With all the third parties creating maps and mods for this game it will stay there for a long time to come. Multiplayer is Da Bomb ! You can get online anytime and still there are plenty of players blowing each other away. I guess it might be asking to much but i wish they would bring back the option to record a demo of the game as your playing it. Nuff Said :)

Avatar image for dhop57

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for dj_slicknik

im gettin dis game fo sure ....... this is my favourite rainbow six series(vegas)

Avatar image for black_echo

perty sik

Avatar image for cdo1536

"i hope they've fixed the fixed spawn point issue on multiplayer" I'm fine with the spawning as long as they don't do group spawning. Ugh, its near impossible to be stealthy online when you constantly have suicide allys pouring out of you or your general location. I didn't play the first one (im more of a graw 2 fan), but im looking forward to this. I like the idea of progressing in shooting games, be it rank or levels, its just cool to unlock USEFULL stuff instead of achievements. Not everyone is addicted to gamer points! ;)

Avatar image for nieuwuss

i so hope you can toggle between frst and third person mode in this game as well

Avatar image for shanemister

I havn't played of any games from tom clancy but I'm looking toward this since i say the preview on X-Play on G4

Avatar image for JDubs07

I still play the first R6V and I to me, it is the best game i have ever played. Now with new weapons and a new character progession system, when I pick up my copy of R6V2 i'm never putting it back down.

Avatar image for sgt_holt5

Anyone else think the name of the guy who wrote this article is funny? lol "Guy Cocker"

Avatar image for KoGfullmetal980

This game is gonna blow my mind. The first one was so addictive, and if you start with the M8, oh my, I'm gonna have a blast with this! I'm probably gonna wait to get it since I spent my money on a PSP and Army of Two. When I do get it, non-stop playing? HECK YEAH!!

Avatar image for Desnadoggie

I think this game is going to be freakin siick.

Avatar image for AlonShen

To me it feels Ubi is just tring to get some more milk out of the cow...

Avatar image for Mamikapapo

Yes, fixed spawn point issue sucked. They have to address that problem. About the downgraded graphics for multiplayer mode on PC, personally I don't care. I'm more interested in smooth gameplay, less bugs, and more fun. One thing I think that I think they should feature on the PC is to be able to use the webcam to capture your face and then stick this to your custom character. Not being able to do that in the first game I think was extremely stupid... Most PC users HAVE a webcam or some kind of digital camera, so it would have been so easy to import pictures.

Avatar image for thenephariouson

i hope they've fixed the fixed spawn point issue on multiplayer

Avatar image for thenephariouson

this will quite simply ROCK!!

Avatar image for DeanCorleone

Going to be a very lovely addition I've been waiting for since the second I got elite in the first one, and I'm sure there are a ton of people that are on the same page as me. I do hope that the new maps for the games multiplayer are good - I don't want to keep playing all of the same old maps... even if they've been tweaked. I love the co-op they are adding as well, I'm happy they are starting to understand that its fun sometimes to do the swat thing with friends. Can't wait.

Avatar image for ag3ntz3rox0x

i love call of dity but when this comes out il be done with cod. rainbow six vegas 2 will be better. because there is actually a duck and cover option, instead of you just crouching and hiding behind stuff.

Avatar image for jadenmoody

Its about time they made a sequal, i loved this game from the start of things but mostly for the oline, its great that they sharpend up the single player to make it better, it really needed that. it will be a game i will definitly invest in.

Avatar image for veggie530

Did I read right that in co-op player 1 will be ordering the AI around...anotherwards it isn't just the two of you?

Avatar image for mrkame16

All right!! good news, hope they upgrade the muliplayer graphics, part one's graphics were weak, but the game was fun as hell. now when are we getting Ghost REcon 3.?

Avatar image for thenephariouson

I dont just want this game.... I NEED IT!!!!

Avatar image for monowasp

Love it, great that it is coming!

Avatar image for drgonzo690

I really enjoyed the first one, but felt the campaign became a little repetitive and stale towards the end. Some of the updates sound awesome, but I feel that something besides moving from checkpoint to checkpoint would help revitalize the single player.

Avatar image for its_mmd

sounds good, really good!

Avatar image for whitewolf227

Wow,cant believe there making a new one! So awesome! Rainbow was the best and still is the best game on 360. This game will push the bar on tatical shooters for awhile.

Avatar image for hleflore

The thinking mans COD4 is coming back. I cannot wait to play the demo.

Avatar image for thenephariouson

Cant wait for this!! R6 Vegas is defo one of the best FPS's around, just hope that this is a complete new build and not just tha original game with different locations.

Avatar image for The_Decapitated

Throw your hands up in the air for Rainbow Six Vegas 2!!! YAAAAAA!!!!!!!!! AWOOOOGA!!!!!!!! Am I the only one who cant wait for RSV 2?

Avatar image for mute9dude

Looks siiiick

Avatar image for padejace

I hope it is not gonna be just a Rainbow Six Vegas 1.5 :( The first version also had an issue with that graphic-downgrade on multiplayer mode. Hope they fixed that....

Avatar image for thekiller1997

dude this game sounds sweet can't wait to get it

Avatar image for justinjohns0n

mann i can't wait, been waiting for this game for quite a few months. Sounds just like an upgrade to a great game already. Looking forward to seeing about the online co-op!

Avatar image for thenephariouson

...and theyve introduced the M468 from GRAW as well as 10 other weapons, this is gonna kick ass! Ubisoft do what they do best... fantastic!!!

Avatar image for Kenji_Masamune

man, march can't come soon enough!

Avatar image for thenephariouson

Simply cant wait for this one! wannit now dammit!! : )

Avatar image for Coolhandlew

cant wait for this, rainbow six vegas is awesome lets hope the follow up lives up to expectation

Avatar image for SaammyB

I'm glad Ubi is putting more emphasis on the co-op gameplay. The first Rainbow was a great title and this one looks to be even better.

Avatar image for Sammojo

airsoftmanic , doesn't soulstorm sum up your 2008?

Avatar image for sameo99

Good, now get working on GRAW3 ubisoft!

Avatar image for airsoftmanic

thank god! a game where playing campaign helps you on multiplayer! the first vegas was good but multiplayer was lacking as it took forever to lvl up (im still only a sargant) and you didnt get anything for doing it. this though looks to be the dog jewels. this along with army of two and EndWar pretty much sums up my 2008. job done.

Avatar image for thenephariouson

At last one of the best FPS's ever made gets an equally exellent follow up. Cant wait for this.

Avatar image for syn79

The game looks great, but I thought it was funny that for a tactical shooter where you can shoot through light walls and materials that in the preview the whole team is walking right down down the middle of a theatre and taking cover behind plastic seats. But who cares, the game look like a must buy.

Avatar image for razzi_maniaz

i am also really lookin forward to this game !

Avatar image for skatatay

i cant wait for this game. Ive been playing R6V since it came out.

Avatar image for XFireCrossX

yeap lvling while shooting is amazing! keep up the good work!

Avatar image for porchmonkey1


Avatar image for IlPadrino12

Sounds good!!!!!This is a splendid FPS!!!!

Avatar image for majestikk

Whoa! Can't wait!

Avatar image for Steel_Hazard

omg this looks so cool i mean the first 1 was great but the second 1 looks even better and the graphics look mean ass