In case you missed all the hullabaloo surrounding Rainbow Six Vegas, the general consensus was that it was a fun game that (largely successfully) minimized the tactical nature of previous Rainbow Six games, and upped the action immensely. A lot of people enjoyed it – and then word came that a sequel would be released in a surprisingly short amount of time.
Rainbow Six Vegas 2 is a sequel that – as many suspected – doesn’t change the formula much, if at all. Instead, it provides more of the same for those who didn’t get their fill from the first title. This means more Vegas locales to muck around in, more walls to climb up/down, more terrorists to shoot, and more hostages to rescue. In a sense, it really should be called Rainbow Six Vegas 1.5 – but I guess that doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Still, for what it is, Vegas 2 is still pretty fun when it’s on its best behaviour. While the plot is clichéd and forgettable, it does provide an excuse for plenty of entertaining set pieces, much in a similar way to something like Gears of War. Tactics may have taken a back seat in this side series, but you can still set squad commands and attempt to outmaneuver the enemy before invariably filling them with lead. The single player campaign isn’t the best around, but is still worth playing through, when the game works as it’s supposed to.
Unfortunately, you may have trouble making the game work well at all. Typically, this port from the consoles lies about its recommended system requirements and runs unacceptably slow on machines that shouldn’t break a sweat. On a couple of machines that were certainly no slouches, we had to turn off a number of graphical features before we could get the game running at something even close to what you can see on the PS3 and 360 versions. Couple this with texture tearing and blatant discoloration, and you’re left with a buggy mess that really impacts on the gameplay. This can get pretty annoying in firefights, when the frame rate takes a dive and decides to never resurface.
Still, at least the controls are better than the console versions. Using a mouse and keyboard setup always wins in these sorts of games, and it’s been implemented well here. So if you can get the game running smoothly, you’ll find squad commands and the usual moves easy to pull off.
Two things save this version of Vegas 2: the amount of content packed in (there’s quite a lot), and the multiplayer. Again, if you can get it running well, the game shines in its various online modes. These include all the standards, from team-based stuff to free for all deathmatches. It’s much more satisfying picking off a human player rather than an AI terrorist who – unsurprisingly – can be pretty inconsistent.
This is definitely the weakest iteration of Vegas 2; if you have a PS3 or 360, it’s easy to recommend those versions over this one, even if the controls aren’t quite as tight. Poor optimization and other PC-specific bugs really drag this one down – which is a shame, because Rainbow Six used to be quite at home on PCs.