Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas was hailed as one of the best tactical shooters on PlayStation 3 on its release thanks to a combination of an immersive atmosphere, engaging storyline and thrilling action set pieces. Now it gets a sequel in the form of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2, a game that takes the action and excitement further than ever before.
When the chips are down
The Rainbow Six of the title refers to your team of elite operatives, charged with taking down terrorists by any means necessary. What this boils down to is a compelling story of counter-terrorism against the glamorous backdrop of Las Vegas, the city of sin, along with a wide variety of mission types, ranging from stealth and snipe missions to full out assaults and hostage rescues. Regardless of the type of mission, a tactical and intelligent approach is always required. Running headlong into battle with all guns blazing is an approach almost certain to lead to you getting gunned down before you've even had a chance to go on the slot machines.
The main key to your survival is the use of cover. Press the L1 button next to a wall or other likely-looking object and you can take cover behind it. Holding a direction on the right analogue stick while behind cover will allow you to pop out to unleash a volley of shots, and you can also blind-fire - very inaccurate, but useful for providing cover and killing enemies out in the open.
Stealth and teamwork are the watchwords here, and throughout the game you are partnered by a two man team that you can use to your advantage to help you clear rooms, defuse bombs and provide cover fire in dangerous situations. Commands are issued to your team through use of the directional buttons, and they can be ordered to any position by looking at it and pressing the X button. The level of control extends to using them to throw grenades and setting their rules of engagement as well - the SELECT button lets you switch between Infiltrate, where your team will use stealth and silenced weapons, and Assault where the silencers come off and all hell breaks loose.
Come up trumps
You'll need to use all the tools at your disposal to stay alive - the enemies you'll be facing are organised, well-armed and extremely dangerous. It only takes a couple of hits to kill you, and snipers or explosives can take you out with a single hit. This applies to your teammates as well - if they get hit they are incapacitated and it's up to you to go and revive them before they die. Let them die and it's mission over, lending a personal edge to the battle as you struggle to fight off enemies while protecting your friends.
A new addition to the series this time around is the A.C.E.S. system - an achievement scheme that tracks your progress in areas such as close-quarters battle, assault, and marksmanship and rewards you accordingly. So, for example, getting a high close-quarters combat score will unlock a new short-range weapon for you to use, such as a shotgun, while a high marksmanship score will gain you a new sniper rifle. In this way the game adapts to the way you play, accentuating your strengths, and providing an incentive for players to mix up their playing styles so they can unlock everything that's on offer.
The A.C.E.S. system also carries over into the multiplayer game, along with some brand new modes that should keep the online action exciting. In Team Leader each team has a leader whom they have to escort to an extraction point on the other side of the level while trying to kill the leader of the opposing team, while Demolition mode sees one team given the task of blowing up a choice of targets while the opposing team has to either stop them planting the explosives or defuse the bomb once it's been set. Both are great new additions to Rainbow Six's already excellent multiplayer modes and a new match-making system means that you can find the games you want with ease.
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2 is the perfect sequel in that it takes all the great elements of its predecessor and adds some new additions that enhance the experience rather than change what made the first game so much fun to play. The gorgeous visuals, tense gameplay and compelling storyline all stand up against the best in the genre, making this one game you won't be taking a gamble on.