Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Rainbow Six Vegas 2: Multiplayer First Impressions

My first round in Vegas 2 was on Vegas mainstay Killhouse (which is the Redux version from the first Vegas map pack), standard deathmatch. It looks a little nicer, but it still runs at the same crappy framerate as Vegas 1. The graphics aren't good enough to justify the low framerate. Rainbow Six is a much slower paced game than COD4, which has no problem running at a smooth 60fps, so there is no excuse for this.

Matches are still joined via the same lobby system as the original game. This was a huge disappointment to me as I was under the impression they were moving to a matchmaking/party system for this game. Ranked matches are still a hassle because they end after every match, forcing you to find a new game each time. Just as in Vegas 1, persistent stats are only kept for ranked matches, but since it is such a pain in the ass to play ranked matches, it may as well not even have persistent stats. That's a major failing in a multiplayer shooter as people like to see their Kill/Death ratio and stuff of that nature. In COD4 pretty much anything you can play is considered "ranked"and you can see everything from your kill/deaths, win/loss record and even your overall firing accuracy. In Halo 3 it keeps separate stats for Ranked and Unranked play. Ubisoft really dropped the ball by once again not giving you access to your own stats.

Matchmaking has its own problems but overall it is way better than a lobby system as far as I'm concerned. In Vegas 1 people just ended up playing Casino Vault and Calypso Casino over and over, even when the new map packs came out. Matchmaking keeps that from happening. If you want to play on the same map over and over, create a private match. Once again Ubisoft, way to go.

No quick mute. WTF? Is this really so damn hard? This is one of those things that should be mandated by Microsoft in order for a game to get certified.

Default spawn settings for ranked matches (which are unchangeable) may as well be set up to make people want to quit early. You get 1 respawn and then you have to watch while the remaining people hunt each other down. This would be fine if ranked lobbies weren't set to close after the match is finished. So you are essentially held prisoner in the match, because if you quit you lose any XP you received, but when the match ends you have to search for a new game anyway. Brilliant.

The new XP and ACES leveling system seems pretty cool, as you get rewarded with new items depending on how you play, and it's always cool to "level up" in the middle of a match.

So far, after my first hour or so of play, I am pretty disappointed with the game. I liked the first Vegas and couldn't wait for the sequel to fix all (or at least some) of the problems it had. Unfortunately, it seems like they really fixed nothing, didn't add much, and slapped a $60 price tag on it.

This is only first impressions though, so hopefully my opinion will change as I get some more play time in, especially with the co-op campaign.

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