A sequel to a great video game shouldn't mess with the original formula too much, yet should still introduce enough new features and improvements to justify the purchase.
In a new multiplayer mode called Team Leader you need to protect your squad leader from elimination.
This is precisely what the talented Ubisoft Montreal developers did with "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2," an intense tactical shooter that once again drops you in the middle of Sin City with your elite squad of operatives to put an end to a terrorist siege.
This time you play as team leader Bishop, a veteran sharpshooter tasked with saving the city.
Among your teammates are Park, an electronics and recon expert, and Walter, who specializes in heavy weapons and demolitions .In this game, played from a first-person perspective, you'll sneak through familiar locations from the first game, as well as many new areas, including a huge theater with balconies, a seemingly abandoned loading dock and, as one would expect, a hotel casino.
You will have access to 11 new weapons and a half-dozen pieces of gear, such as smoke grenades, C4 plastic explosives and breaching charges used to blow open doors. New moves include the ability to sprint by holding down the left shoulder button, which helps pick up the pace of the game nicely.
The story is written and voiced well, including some surprising moments when you hear events taking place in your headset before you meet the characters in person.
Visually speaking, this high-definition world looks stunning, with near-photorealistic characters and environments and real-time day-to-night cycles. And talk about personalization, while we didn't try this ourselves, "Rainbow Six Vegas 2" lets you import a photo of your face using a console or PC Web cam to create an in-game model that looks just like you, used in both solo and head-to-head games.
Speaking of multiplayer matches, if the improved enemy artificial intelligence isn't enough for you during the lengthy single-player campaign - including tougher terrorists equipped with night vision, thermal vision and shields - this game can best be enjoyed in new online multiplayer modes, spread out over 13 new maps.
The game supports up to 16 simultaneous players on the Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3 or PC. One of the more memorable new multiplayer modes is called Team Leader, where you need to protect your squad leader from elimination, which is no easy task.
Interestingly, whatever achievements you earn in multiplayer games, such as increasing your rank, are carried over to the single-player game. Similarly, experience points can be earned during the solo campaign, and spent to upgrade armor, clothing, equipment and more, even for multiplayer games.
You can also turn the single-player mode into a cooperative game at any time, seamlessly, by having an online friend jump into your story mode.
Action fans in search of an intense thriller that looks as good as it plays will win with "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2." It's a safe bet you'll find it a gripping tactical adventure for you and a bunch of friends. E-mail to a friend