April 17, 2009
This is another game whose main draw for me is in the coop, as it's the sequel to one of the greatest coop experiences I've ever had.
The AI is terrible just like it was in Vegas 1. As far as I know, there's no way to turn off babysitting your useless partners when you're in a splitscreen coop game, which is a big deal to me, if I'm having people blocking my path, I'd much rather have it be someone that I can tell to make like a tree. What you can do, to alleviate the AI from being useless, is tell them to wait at the very beginning of the map where they'll certainly stay out of trouble. The problem with doing this, lies in the fact that you are REQUIRED to bring them back when you get to areas that require the lockpicking or demolitions skills they have in lieu of any self-preservation instincts.
Luckily, should you be playing without the benefit of another human player to back you up, when your suicidal henchmen are eventually struck down by a hail of bullets as punishment for their crimes of stupidity, they aren't dead for good. They lie on the ground wounded, waiting for you to bring them back to life. This is good, considering how easily they die, but it makes it frustrating that you die for good in singleplayer, even though I understand the tradition of a little more death realism in the Rainbow Six franchise.
A useful change that they've brought over is the ability to choose to sprint, instead of always walking at the same metered pace. It makes dodging from cover to cover much less of a gamble. The cover mechanic employed in the game, which is brought over from the first game, has to be the best I've ever seen. Once you get used to it, ducking in and out of cover to keep yourself safe from the thousands of bullets flying at you. Unfortunately, the cover is broken in some spots of the maps, with some useful walls seeming to not be marked out properly for you to hide behind them, leaving you to uselessly cower in a corner to be shot dead. Normally, I dislike shooters on consoles, as I feel I lose too much precision moving from a mouse to thumbsticks, but the cover system really makes this game into a console-centric experience to me. The manipulation of ducking in and out of cover just comes completely naturally with thumbsticks, which is a VERY rare occasion for me.
The graphics in Vegas 2 are a big improvement over those in Vegas 1, making for a greater spectacle as you're doing battle in the neon-infused casinos that Vegas is home to. Even the outside areas look better, ridding itself of the low res textures that I assume are a result of Vegas 1's relatively early 360 development period. A feature to use the Xbox Vision Camera to map your own face to your player model makes a return with an addition; now everyone who's playing on the same console can use their own face. Seeing yourself on the screen sneaking around corners and pumping terrorists full of lead is surprisingly cool.
I'd say you owe it to yourself to pick this game up if you have a friend to play with and you're a fan of the series, especially if you missed out on the first one.