Content review for this game:
Pertaining to the ESRB rating.
Recommended age: Like the last, this isn't the bloodiest or most violent game in its genre. But, it's packed with language (mainly the f-word), and even though there are less intense hostage situations compared to the last game, the gameplay is still intense--younger teens should look into getting the similar and much milder GRAW instead. So, I recommend this game for ages 17+.
Pros & Cons:
Compared to the last, although there have been improvements (like the character models and overall texture detail), the side models are still awkwardly undetailed, and because most of the levels now take place in the day, and far away from the lively and lit up nightime casinos in the last, the lighting has a distinctly flat and less dynamic quality. But, the load times are brief, the framerate is just as steady and it's still a great looking game.
The controls are just as smooth and intuitive as before, but have been further refined, with a few rearrangements (for the better; you can now command your team to throw grenades anywhere, anytime, instead of only being able to do so before breaching doors) and the addition of what the last game lacked; a sprint button--giving movement a less sluggish feel. And while the overall gameplay is exactly the same as before, the addition of a customizable main character and the A.C.E.S. system mixes things up a bit...
When you first start the game, a crossover feature will detect your previous save file for the original Vegas (if you have one), automatically assigns you a rank and (depending on the rank recieved) will give you new choices for weapons, clothing and armor. You'll then go to the character creation screen, select your gender, face (facial hair if you're male), face camo/paint, clothing/camo and armor (select heavier for more protection, lighter for more mobility), and then start the single-player campaign.
While playing, the A.C.E.S system will grade you on your shots (every time you kill an enemy you'll gain experience points), and depending on how you kill an enemy (shoot them from behind, far away, close up etc.), you'll soon rank up and unlock more custom items for your character. Other than this, there have also been a couple smaller additions, like the ability to shoot enemies through thin cover and a new map in the upper corner of your hud, which reads enemy body heat; and although its use is limited (it'll turn off in a minute and then have to recharge), it's welcome none the less.
However, because of the new faceless character, Bishop, the story is even more generic and unninvolving than the last; not only does it take place parallel to the first (which makes you feel vastly unimportant), but when it finally gets to the end, you simply don't care--and for a supposed realistic and tactical shooter, the ending itself is highly unbeliveable; one person can not fend off a machine gun equipped helicopter and dozens of enemy soldiers by him or herself--it's completely out of place in this game's universe.
While I never came across the same problem with my teams as before, an entirely new problem cropped up; nearly every time I told them to go to a door, one would either follow and the other would get stuck, or both would get stuck in a random object and I'd have to go all the way back before they'd follow again. And when it comes to challenge (even with the new Casual difficulty), this is just as hard as before, and in some areas, even harder, with bigger enemy encounters and an entire level where you have to go solo and fight dozens of enemies on your own.
But overall, although this might have even less of a story than before, what ends up being left is what makes this great; the tactical gameplay. And yes, it might not be as impacting or original as the last, but with the new customization and A.C.E.S. system, along with campaign co-op and the still fantastic online multiplayer, this is just as great--if you loved the original, you'll like this one.
Blood: The blood effects spurt in moderate amounts when you or an enemy is shot. Blood does linger; splatters onto walls, floors and bodies; and there is some static blood smeared on floors and walls throughout. Bodies do linger, and you see many dead, bloodied civilian and terrorist bodies scattered throughout the game. There is no option to turn blood off.
Intense violence: The story takes place parallel to the first, and involves Rainbow Team leader, Bishop, along with Logan Keller's team yet to be (at this time, Logan's in Mexico with the team he'll soon lose) investigating Alvarez Cabreros, a former human trafficker, now terrorist, in works with the first's villain, Irena Morales. You soon find out that Alvarez is planning on transporting and then detonating chemical weapons in public places, and if you don't stop him in time, hundreds of innocent civilians will die. You can't let that happen...
The base gameplay consists of using your intel and digital map to infiltrate buildings from the roof and work your way down (or visa-versa) while taking advantage of the many entrances (rappel down sunroofs, the sides of buildings, take the stairs, etc.), and commanding your two-man team to go, wait, regroup, and switch between Infiltrate mode (return fire only) or the direct Assault mode (shoot on site), in order to dispatch of the terrorists and save hostages; and once in place, you'll have your team take position outside an occupied entrance; use your camera to look under doors and mark priority targets; and after entering, you'll take cover, clear what remains of the enemy--free any present hostages--and move to the next area.
Alvarez's fully armored (sometimes night-vision equipped) international terrorists are your sole enemy, and you'll be combating them with a variety of handguns, machine guns, submachine guns, assault rifles, sniper rifles, shotguns, a swat shield, grenades (flashbang, frag and incendiary), breach charges (which are used to destroy doors) and C4 (set and then detonate from afar). The combat system is hectic and heart-pumpingly intense, with you and your team tearing through dozens of enemies with your varied arsenal; blowing them up with frag grenades, exploding barrels and cars (causing them and nearby debris to fly); setting breach charges to destroy doors and those standing behind them; and throwing flashbang grenades to stun and then shoot when they're disabled.
When shot, enemies will grunt, scream and whimper in pain, quickly slumping to the floor in contorted positions after they die, and because of the realistic representation of the very quick firefights--you and the enemy can only take a few hits before killed, one burst and that's it; the overwhelming odds, three against dozens; the semi-destructable environments (glass shatters; wood breaks away; the casinos' slot machines spark, fall apart and eject chips; bullets imbed themselves in walls, etc.); and the game's chaotic atmosphere (environments are overturned and filled with dirt, rubble, newly crashed cars, etc.)--the overall combat has a high stakes, life or death feel.
Because of the vast and open environments, encounters with the enemy give a wide sense of insecurity; they'll set ambushes and come in waves (often as one of your teammates is busy hacking a computer or disarming a bomb), trying to get at you from every angle while zipping down from glass ceilings shooting as they go, firing from mounted machine guns and flinging exploding frag, skin searing incendiary and blinding flashbang grenades, as they flank you from every available position. And since you can only take a couple hits, you can't stay out in the open for long; if you do, the screen will begin to blur/red-den while you fade, and your downed team will soon start to call for your help, forcing you to make it through the crossfire and revive them before they die.
Civilians are scattered throughout public areas, ducking under objects to avoid crossfire and crouching on the floor in terrorist occupied buildings, babbling in shock and pleading for help when they see you. When you do come across hostage situations (which are heavy in nature; your team is their only hope), they'll scream for help, beg for their lives and sob uncontrollably. And since you have a limited time to act before they're killed, not only will you have to rush into rooms with very little preparation and great haste, but also use the correct methods (flashbang grenades to stun instead of explosives, for instance) to kill the terrorist without harming the hostages.
The cutscenes contain many large explosions; there's a few deaths throughout; in a couple areas, you're forced to kill two cornered men before they kill you; while trying to rescue a fellow agent, you hear (over radio) his blood curdling screams and pleas for mercy as they torture him; and after failing to disable a chemical bomb, you watch helplessly as gas billows from underneath sealed doors while hundreds of civilians (behind them) scream for their lives--only to be quickly silenced.
When it comes to younger teens, like the last, this isn't the most bloody or brutally violent game in its genre. However, it's packed with language (mainly the f-word), and while there may be less over-the-top hostage situations than in the previous installment, the overall gameplay is still intense--younger age groups should look into getting the very similar and much milder GRAW series instead--this game is simply more suited to older teens and adults.
Strong language: There are over three dozen uses of the f-word, over a dozen (almost two dozen) uses of sh*t, three or under uses of hell, d*mn, p*ss, SoB and Jesus, one use of Christ, a**, and a**hole, and in a few instances, your British teammate uses the--mildy rude--English slang terms bloody and bugger. Other than the main script, after being healed, your men will sometimes say "Christ that hurt!" and enemies will spout the words sh*t, b*tch, SoB, a**, a**hole, and the f-word frequently (d*mn, Jesus and Christ used less frequently) while they fight you, and during their overheard conversations. There is no option to turn language off.
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