Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2 RELOADED

Rainbow Six Vegas 2 was under wraps until recently and is now just around the corner. Not long ago we went to Montreal and had a look at the single-player campaign, but we hadn't seen the multiplayer mode until now. We recently caught up with Ubisoft Montreal's game designer Philippe Therien in London, and he took us through some of the new additions to the multiplayer side of the game.The rules for hiding and shooting from behind cover are the same here in Vegas 2. You hold a key to hide behind something, then hit a movement key to pop out from behind to take your shot. Use the zoom key to bust out the scope or use your iron sights, although you'll find that you don't need them much in the PC version since the weapons are pretty accurate and unless you're hip-firing a sniper rifle, you've always got a crosshair in the middle of your screen. You can also blind-fire your weapon from behind cover, a tactic that I'm not sure is actually used in real life that much. Not that it should matter here, as while this is certainly more sim-like than, say, Gears of War, we're not quite getting to Armed Assault levels of realism here. But hey, at least we can sprint now, which is something I never understood wasn't in more shooters. The ability to simply run when being shot at seems like such an integral part of a firefight; to me, omitting it in a modern shooter would be like giving the player guns that can't actually be reloaded.The campaign takes about as long to complete as you'd expect an expansion pack to last, and then there's the Terrorist Hunt mode where you can set up a map with customized numbers of enemies to take out. This mode can be played alone or online with others, or you can always get together and do the versus modes as well. If you played the hell out of the first Vegas, by this point you will realize that this is pretty much just a stand-alone expansion pack. With very little in the way of new features and just a short continuation of the story on (what is an admittedly large number of) new maps, you might be wondering why Vegas 2 has a $50 price tag. Well, folks, that's pretty much what it's come to; at least when Ubisoft was making yearly installments in the Prince of Persia and Splinter Cell games they at least felt like entirely new entries. This one, unfortunately, does not. It's no different on consoles, except over there they pay an extra ten bucks for their expansion packs.Still, Vegas 2 offers a few small additions that don't add much in the big picture, but they're nice to have. One of these is the ability to level up your character by killing enemies, both in single player and multiplayer modes, and you'll gain points for killing them in pretty much any way other than shooting them at medium range, center-of-mass, out in the open. Headshots, from behind, long range, through cover, with explosives, and more will help you level up faster, all of which goes towards unlocking new guns as well as gear that let you improve your ability to take hits (though, a full burst at close range is still gonna finish you off almost regardless of armor) and move quickly. You'll also get to make the trade-off of armor versus mobility with quite a few gear choices. You choose the gender or your character Bishop, too, and can configure the face and even use a webcam to upload your own mug for pasting onto the shot. Let's just say that that feature is great for listing on the back of the box but horrible in practice; most webcams won't get a clear enough picture to look even half-usable in the game.The online modes are where people will likely spend at least half their time with this game, and some will be spending much more than that. For the most part, these work fine and the game comes with a nice selection of perks that online PC games need for longevity: dedicated servers, voice chat (although what's the lack of push-to-talk?), a decent in-game browser, a first patch out already with a set of fairly small fixes, and the ability to fiddle with game rules to match your liking.

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