Tom Clancy must be really blooming rich by now. He’s sold millions of books, "advised" on a multitude of films, and the various games with his attached name are almost as popular as Santa.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2 (and breathe) is the least tactical of the Clancy titles. Set before, during, and after the events of the first Vegas game – where one of your team mates cheekily double crossed you – it aims to offer much more of what we all loved during the first romp through the Sin City.
Let’s strap on that body armour and see what "tangos" we can take out (as in kill, not a trip to a nice local restaurant). An invite might be a touch difficult when they’re trying to blast your brains out.
Same as always, Vegas 2 is all about fulfilling objective after objective. You’ll be constantly handed over brand new areas to reach and actions to perform. A bit like the sublime Call of Duty 4 in that regards.
Unlike Call of Duty however, Vegas 2 is much slower paced. You and your two team mates will be constantly inching your way through the levels, making use of every semblance of cover you can spot. Think the fantastic cover option of Gears of War tweaked to even higher levels of perfection.
Over-turned tables, piles of bricks, rubbish bins, almost anything in Vegas 2 is a hiding spot. It’ll only take a few hits to kill you, so keeping your head safely behind some decent cover is absolutely essentially if you want to stop these terrorists killing thousands.
Thankfully you’re able to clad your character in all kinds of armour to help you keep your life intact. Everything from knee pads, to gas masks are available, each of which affecting your speed of movement and ability to keep you breathing.
Be prepared to be as eager to experiment with your choice of weaponry too. There’s a mass of powerful weapons, from single shot pistols, through to huge assault rifles. And a whole heap of add-ons for each, allowing you to outfit your character in exactly the kind of killing tools you desire.
You’ll constantly be given brand new options too. Each kill you make earns you experience points, which eventually opens up all new avenues of armour and weaponry for you to try out. There’s some really cracking stuff in there if you manage to hit the highest levels.
Don’t expect the single player campaign to last you too long mind you. A good half dozen hours is all you’ll need to see the final credits roll to a fairly satisfying conclusion. It’s not quite as powerful as Call of Duty 4, but it’s certainly a hell of a lot better than the kind of drivel we’re usually faced with.
But that isn’t all. Not only can you play through the entire game via co-op, but there’s a mass of terrorist hunting missions to explore and play both on and offline. If you can really get to grips with things, you’ll find yourself wasting months on Vegas 2’s varied and exciting multi-player options. Online, it’s a real treat.
Again, compared to Call of Duty 4 visually, Vegas 2 doesn’t win many points. Be prepared for some dull and dreary levels for the initial hour or two, and while your colleagues and enemies move in a solid enough manner, their manipulation of the environment swings wildly from brilliant, to terrible in a blink of an eye.
One second they’re blasting through a wooden table to take out an unseen enemy. The next they’re kicking over a stupidly placed bucket, only for it to defy gravity and fly a fair few metres before settling on its side. Crazy.
And presumably due to the intelligent AI of your compatriots, the frame rate really suffers at times. Vegas 2 isn’t really pushing the 360 graphically, so it’s odd that you’ll see stutters and judders every half hour, even when the action hasn’t really fired up to its worst.
And then there are the grenades. These buggers will come dropping smack bang next to you without any kind of notification, handing over many a death that you simply couldn’t have avoided. Really damn frustrating.
It might not be much more than a tweak of the original, but it’s a hell of a ride. The story mode is a real thrill, and the additional modes will keep you hooked for weeks. It’s not quite a Call of Duty 4 beater, but it's damn well recommended all the same.