Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Ubi playing tactical shooters?
Russ: The Rainbow Six team is back and a tad better than before. I think it’s safe to say the Rainbow Six series has the tactical shooting thing down and continues to improve on the category with each new release. This is definitely apparent in R6V2. With, albeit, small additions they add a new level of play to an already amazing game. R6V2 acts as a prequel to the first R6V and you play as another Rainbow Six team in a different part of town. It’s a great concept and great way to continue the series in Vegas. I don’t want to cover too much of the story, mostly because there are a lot of layers to it. That being said, if you’ve played one rainbow six game you know how the story goes; bad guys get missiles or some weapon of mass destruction, you go in and kick ass, the end…
Kav: Hands down, R6V2, is just more of the same. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. How does the old quote go? “If it isn’t broke, don’t go back and mess the whole damn thing up.” (I’m looking at you Ghost Recon 2) Its a solid product, with an over the top story and an intuitive cover and shoot system. The main difference, between this Rainbow and the last, is the story and additions in the multi-player department. If you weren’t enthralled with the last R6V then this game isn’t for you. Essentially, you can think of it as an add-on pack. It would have been nice to see a lower price on this sucker, considering Ubisoft didn’t make any adjustments to the game graphically, but with the cost of production I can understand the standard price for this full length game.
Russ: RSV2 was a pretty quick release, but it seemed the boys at Ubisoft Montreal knew what they missed in the first one and came back quickly with a fix. They’ve increased the level of replay value by adding player ranking and making nearly everything an unlock-able item. This time around you have a ton of customization to your character, from facial features to what kind of armor you wear. This customization is extremely in depth and takes the tactical shooter to the next level, causing you to think more strategically about your environment. Now before starting a mission you have to factor in if you want mobility with your armor or more protection. As you play you earn experience points for kills you make, as well as different types of kills like head shots, close quarter kills and so on. Each kill is broken down into three categories and those have different point values. As you collect these points you unlock levels within each category, which in turn either awards you with a new weapon or more experience points, which you collect to earn higher ranks. This addition is great and definitely adds a ton of replay value.
Kav: Ubisoft Montreal ripped the multi-player handbook right out from COD4 and trimmed off some excess weight. Weapons, armor and custom gear are all unlocked through a series of points you accumulate by killing opponents in different manners. They call it ACES (Advanced Combat Enhancement and Specialization) and it’s a nice touch that isn’t limited to the multi-player, as you can gain points through the single player campaign. This is the meat and potatoes of R6V2. They put bank on the multi-player and it turned into a cash cow. Even the single player campaign is molded to accommodate multiple players. The only other new addition is the ability to run, which is a huge help in matches. It’s amazing how a short burst of speed can really make the difference between life and death, especially when there is a grenade involved. Some die hard fans might think this is a step away from the tactical premise R6 has always offered but I think that elite counter-terrorist units should be able to jog for a few feet as a prerequisite to the job.
No more long boring helicopter rides of complete silence
Russ: Another great, but small addition, was the story for co-op play. I don’t know or understand how they missed that one in the first R6V. They did and there was much annoyance. This time around for the co-op it’s basically the same story as single-player mode and the second player just takes control of one of the team members. The other two NPC team members are then controlled by player one. This is cool, but at the same time was annoying for a couple of reasons. Dealing with the other team members wasn’t all that fluid and the AI was, at times, borderline retarded. There were definitely a few times where I couldn’t walk into a room because a team member didn’t want to move. I think they could make this a bit more interesting by either allowing the second player to have control over them or break them up so each play has control over one. I guess I can’t have it all and although R6V2 is pretty damn close, it’s not completely perfect on the co-op side.
Kav: Co-op play, this time around, was much more polished then in R6V. The addition of a story mode, that has dialogue this time, and two teammates made it much more enjoyable then previously. It would have been nice to see a few more options to customize the game play. You can change the difficulty levels but there doesn’t seem to be options for much else, such as re-spawns that can’t be turned off. The friendly AI can be a bit of a drag as well. I found myself using them too often in tough situations, for clearing rooms especially. On the flip side, when they aren’t clearing rooms with deadly proficiency, they have a tendency to park themselves in the middle of a door jam, that you and ten terrorists are on the other side of. All this being said, co-op is limited to two players and the game host is the only person who can control the team, so they are left hanging out in the breeze while you wait for a re-spawn.
Same old, Same old
Russ: Graphically speaking nothing has changed since R6V, which is fine. The game looks great, but will definitely need some type of upgrade come Rainbow Six Detroit, or Rainbow Six Cleveland, which ever one is next. On a sad note concerning the graphics, I did run into some serious frame rate issues towards the end of the game on the co-op side. It was pretty bad, and is something I find unacceptable with today’s games. Sound is great, each weapon has its own feel and sound giving them distinction. It’s a small thing that a lot of games miss and it makes a difference.
Kav: Nothing new here, keep it moving folks. R6V2 looks like R6V, dead on. The engine is seeing a bit of age but it holds up and everything is smooth. Frame-rate issues are almost non existent, save for the one level that Russ mentioned above. Considering the circumstances I can let it fly. The level was something more suited to GRAW than R6, running a split screen co-op game with 5+ hours on the 360. This is also where most of my points are getting taken off. R6V2 does hardly anything to change itself from the original. We can debate back and forth, all day long, on whether it was a good decision but in the end it just feels like an add-on.
Flash and Clear
Russ: R6V2 definitely has some improvements that have moved it up another notch in the tactical shooter category. It still has its bugs that can just be plain out annoying. Mostly because they’re things that shouldn’t be missed. Example: there isn’t an option to turn off re-spawns in co-op and in the terrorist hunt mode which is really fun. The terrorists just spawn out of no where causing frustration when the only time they show up is if both players reach a certain point/ It’s understandable but needs refining, because its not okay when they spawn on top of your player. A miscellaneous addition includes the adding of checkpoints, finally, thank you. All in all, R6V2 is a great game and yet again Ubisoft Montreal keep making me happy with their releases. Now if they can just get a better QA team maybe these ridiculous bugs can get ironed out and we can have the ultimate tactical shooter that we’ve all been waiting for and deserve.
Kav: If you enjoyed the first R6V and you are a fan of tactical shooters, R6V2 is worth picking up. It has its moments of frustration but they are weighted nicely with a good balance of game play and strategy.
[8bit Take]: Top-level tactical shooter. Worth the buy.