On the downside, this means that until you’ve completed the main game, your character won’t have snagged enough experience to unlock the majority of the guns. So, if you’re partial to the meatier assault rifles like the MTAR21 and the G3KA4, or the better sub-machine guns like the MAC11, you either have to pick them up from fallen enemies or keep on slotting terrorists until you’ve unlocked them. Newcomers probably won’t be too fazed by this, but long-time Rainbow Six players will feel a little aggrieved at having to spend hours with noticeably second-rate firearms.
Another slight twist to the RPG system is the introduction of ACES (Advanced Combat Enhancement & Specialisation). These three specialist classes reflect the sort of player you are, and as you level each one up according to the way you play, they reward you in kind. So, if you’re partial to picking off enemies from long range, or with headshots, you’ll level up your Marksman skills quicker and unlock more sniper rifles and long-range assault weapons. Conversely, if you like to see the white of your foe’s terrified eyes before making the kill, you’ll advance your close-quarters-combat specialisation and bag more shotguns. It works in theory, but can be annoying if you’re looking to add specific weapons to your armoury that require you to play out of character.
Aside from these minor changes, and the ability to equip a riot shield, the single player campaign remains largely the same as the original. In fact, some of the similarities smack of out and out laziness. The terrorist sound bites have been copied and pasted from the first game, and they were laughable to begin with. Do AK-47 toting insurgents really have conversations like: Grunt A: “Looks like we might have a situation.” Grunt B: “What kind of situation?” Grunt A: “The killing kind”? Similarly, we were rather hoping we wouldn’t have to spend another ten or so hours of our life with Jung and Michaels, our squad mates from the original, because they bring new meaning to the word ‘wooden’, but sadly, they’re major players in this sequel. They’ve even got some of the same god-awful lines.
Still, they’re marginally less irritating than certain members of the Rainbow Six online community. At least Jung doesn’t accuse you of being something offensive (insert any racial, ethnic, or sexual slur you like. We've heard 'em all) if you steal his kill. Multiplayer plays a massive part in this sequel, much like it did in the original Vegas. There are two new online game modes, bringing the grand total up to twelve, and you’ll have 13 maps to play them over. With the ability to level your character up now embedded in the single-player game, expect multiplayer sessions to be more balanced, but infinitely more brutal and unforgiving than before because everyone will be toting the finest guns within weeks of the game’s release.