If they wanted to ship half a game, how about charging half price?
Having thoroughly enjoyed the original Rainbow Six Vegas, I eagerly pre-ordered Vegas 2 and snatched up my copy on release day, then proceeded to tear into it with the sort of childlike enthusiasm that rarely takes hold of me nowadays. However, once I'd absorbed the single player experience, things began to unravel.
The first thing that got to me was that there was a patch ready on the PlayStation Network on the first day out. As bullcrap as this was, I had assumed that this was some sort of multiplayer fix, so I simply went with it. After the patch and the nearly 3 gigabyte install time, the game title screen shows up. Rather than taking control of the previous game's protagonist, Logan Keller, players step into the boots of Bishop, a hardened military instructor pushed into service as the terrorist attack on Las Vegas begins. Rather than being a pure sequel, the game goes the Resident Evil 3 route with parts of the game happening before, during and after the original R6V, with the tutorial first level taking place five years before and providing some excellent foreshadowing. The first thing players will notice is that their character is customizable, with facial details, armor, and gender selectable at the start, a feature only available in the original's Terrorist Hunt and online modes. Also spilling into single player is the experience system, which was previously online-only. Players will unlock armor by earning rank, and weapons by earning points in marksmanship, close-quarters combat and assault disciplines.
The single player game is the same sort of experience for the most part as the original game, though the experience system will initially limit the sort of weapons and armor available. Also, mobility versus protection will have to be weighed when selecting armor, as people who like to fight straight-up will not benefit from light armor. While armor type affects Bishop's abilities, the camoflage options don't seem to have any effect on the game. It makes no difference whether you're decked out in all black or all pink, enemies will see the squad the same way in single player regardless.
The main single player game is about equal in length to that of the original Rainbow Six Vegas, with a suitably epic storyline that ties up the first game's loose ends quite nicely. However, gamers may feel an extreme sense of deja vu, as there has been little in the way of change other than a streamlines layout and a sprint feature. The game is just far too conservative. Also, the copious amount of product placement, most notably for Comcast and Major League Gaming, serves to break immersion at times. Also breaking immersion is the fact that enemies often simply say the English language version of what the enemies said in Spanish in the original game. These niggling bugs aside, the main story is an enjoyable game for fans of the original Vegas.
Terrorist Hunt returns mostly unchanged from the previous game, save that players can now take the main game's AI partners in with them, making it somewhat more playable than the previous title. Those who prefer going it alone may enable the "Lone Wolf" feature in the Terrorist Hunt menu. Other than that, though, nothing new here.
(On a side note, to unlock the Comcast gift map go to the Comcast Gift option in the Extras menu and type the following when prompted: COMCAST FASTER)
I'd like to tell you about multiplayer, which seems to have an impressive array of modes, but I ran into a small problem in multiplayer. Actually, a rather large, imposing problem of being incapable of entering a game. Almost every game I tried to enter told me I couldn't get in, and the few that I could get into cut me off within minutes, making it an unplayable mess. It's a shame too, as the game boasts a variety of modes. However, if Ubi can't be bothered, I don't see why I or anyone else should be either. Considering many first-person shooters rely heavily on multiplayer for their long-term appeal, this is a massive blunder by Ubi Soft Montreal.
For those who enjoy a great single player experience, Rainbow Six Vegas 2 will provide a thrilling, if entirely conservative experience. Those looking for compelling multiplayer, however, are better off taking a pass and sticking with Call of Duty 4.