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Rainbow Six Vegas 2: Shootin' em up Sin City style



What happens in vegas stays in vegasHigh Rollers, Straight Shooters

The original "Rainbow Six: Vegas" is one of the best shooters to come out on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. A streamlining of the "Rainbow Six" style and a tighter and more contemporary game play engine made this a successful game. This also made it successful enough for a sequel. But like most great games with follow-ups, this could be a worthy successor or an over priced add-on to the original.

"Vegas 2" focuses on the other side of Las Vegas. Rather than crashing into casinos, the action centers on condos, villas, a convention center and smaller, lesser-known locales. Though "Vegas 2" includes maps from the original "Vegas" and some older titles like "Raven Shield," they are updated and more intricate. There are also numerous entries to areas with countless cross-fire points and a cool rappel options and fast rope entries that make the action more intense and less predictable both online and off. One of the biggest changes is the main character. Logan Keller, the protagonist from the original is gone. Instead, players assume the role of Bishop, a member of the Rainbow Squad that gamers "create" and customize.

The new campaign has a little more variety than the original. Though the objectives remain about the same, the action has been taken up a notch and this sequel feels much more intense. There's even better pacing to the game with the addition of improved voice commands, which allow you to order around your squad with the headset. By far the best addition to the campaign is the ability to play with another player.

One of the biggest criticisms of the original "Vegas" was that the co-op story mode wasn't really a "story mode" at all but rather a string of maps with random terrorists. The presentation was akin to the game's "terrorist hunt" mode in which one simply hunts down "bots." Now, two players can actually play through the entire campaign, cut-scenes and all. The game's drop-in, drop-out play works quite well. It's not as good as "Army of Two," but it's still great fun planning attacks on multiple entry points with a friend when there's more at stake than just a bunch of terrorists in a hunt.

Other improvements are extensive, including the game's multiplayer modes. The number of un-lockable armor and weapons has increased with many of the weapons brought closer to reality. A sprint option has been added in place of the weight system, and lighter characters can now sprint longer. Also, the overall visual presentation has been tightened. There are so many other little improvements that, when added together, they make the game better than its predecessor.

Was "Rainbow Six Vegas" a game that needed a sequel? Well, maybe not. But publisher UbiSoft made an effort to implement enough changes to make this more than an empty add-on. It's still not a completely perfect game, but it's a welcome improvement on the original for fans of the Vegas series. If you didn't like the first one, you probably won't like this one. But for the true fans, this might end the "Vegas" series on a high note.

Rainbow Six Vegas 2
Rated -M for Mature. Platform -Playstation 3, Xbox 360. Publisher- Ubisoft. Retail- $59.99  

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