Ubisoft Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 review
When Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas appeared a little over a year ago, it revolutionised the tactical shooter genre with its mix of first and third-person covert-ops action.
However, while this sequel is every bit as enjoyable, it's rather too similar for our liking.
Once again you're cast as the leader of a spec-ops team sent to Las Vegas to thwart a terrorist attack. You and your two AI-controlled sidekicks must use stealth to navigate indoor and outdoor levels - set in exotic locales including Sin City itself and a frozen mountain range - using the latest anti-terrorist weaponry and gadgets to wipe out your enemies.
Unlike many other shooters, Vegas 2 concentrates on stealth rather than gung-ho action. Your character can absorb only limited amounts of damage and, as checkpoints prevent you from saving at will, you must approach each room with the utmost caution.
You can make your soldier take cover by pressing him against walls and obstacles, at which point the first-person action switches to a third-person perspective, allowing you to lean out and shoot at enemies without exposing too much of yourself to their attacks. You also have an array of gadgets and hi-tech aids at your disposal, including snake cameras (for looking under doors) and satellite coverage of the surrounding area.
Issuing commands to your two AI sidekicks is easy thanks to a context-sensitive point-and-click order interface. However, your team-mates' borderline indestructibility does slightly diminish the game's otherwise sky-high tension levels.
Enemy AI has been polished since the first Vegas, and it's now far rarer that enemies fail to see you when you're standing directly in front of them. Some farcical moments remain, though, most notably when your team-mates and enemies fight at close range, resulting in some comical Benny Hill-style capers.
While Vegas 2's online play is superbly tense and tactical, there's little to distinguish it from the original's. Highlights include co-op, in which you and a group of friends take on the single-player campaign, and a new mode called Team Leader, in which two teams race to get their leader to an extraction point while attempting to take out the opposition.
Given the striking similarities to its predecessor, and the fact that the graphics aren't a patch on Call of Duty 4 or Crysis, Vegas 2 isn't worth buying if you already own the original. While the plot is extended and in many ways tied up in this sequel, it's unlikely to satisfy you if you're looking for the next step in the Rainbow Six series. However, Vegas 2's tactical shooting action is still the best on the market, meaning both newcomers and die-hard fans will find it highly enjoyable.