GamePro unveils new details on Rainbow Six Vegas 2

Vegas 2 is expected to ship in the US this March on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC...all on the same day. Not bad, eh?

Vegas 2 gameplay additions

• A new Sprint button. Vegas 2 is a slower, more tactical game than its peers, but the new Sprint button (handily placed on the left bumper) makes the game feel slightly quicker than before. You can only sprint for several seconds...but that's often enough to escape a grenade's explosive radius.

• Bullet penetration. High-powered rounds can now penetrate walls and doors, meaning that where you take cover is a vital decision. Protip: don't hide behind wood!

• Destructible cover. Bullets and explosives can gouge chunks out of certain barriers and walls, rendering them unsafe or outright unusable.

• 11 new weapons. In addition to the weapons returning from Rainbow Six Vegas, Vegas 2 adds 11 new weapons. Highlights include the L96 Artic Warfare sniper rifle, the AKS-74U rifle, the AUG Para SMG, and the VZ83 Skorpion (last seen in Call of Duty 4), the Mossberg 500 assault shotgun, and the FN FNC assault rifle. Another standout is the infamous SR-25 SD sniper rifle, used to devastating effect in the SOCOM games.

• Faster firing rate for all handguns, which increases the stopping power of all handguns across the board. There's also a new handgun: the Walther P99 pistol, which features a hammerless design for reduced trigger strain.

• One persistent player for online and offline play. In Vegas 2, you have one customized character that applies to all play modes, both online and offline. This means that your accomplishments in the single-player story will impact your multiplayer character, and vice-versa.

• New way to unlock weapons and gear. Rather than unlocking guns and gear in a linear fashion, by hitting certain level requirements, you can choose which guns to unlock by tailoring your play style. There are three branches – Assault, Close Quarters, and Marksmanship – and you can combine them all or focus on one or two at a time. The advantage with Vegas 2's new "ACES" system is flexibility: if you want to unlock sniper rifles, you could choose to focus on the Marksmanship branch by nailing plenty of headshots. If you're a submachine gun guy, then focus on using flashbangs and close-range tactics.

• But XP isn't going away, either. Vegas 2 doesn't tie weapon unlocks to generic experience points, rather to specialised ACES points. But XP is here to stay: it still decides your character's online rank, armour options, and other visual customisations.

Vegas 2 single-player enhancements

• New two-player, online cooperative play. Vegas 2's upgraded co-op mode follows the full single-player campaign, and also supports drop-in, drop-out play. This means that a player can enter or exit the game at any point without affecting his partner. The online co-op campaign is identical to the single-player counterpart, cinemas and all.

• A new lead character for the single-player campaign. Logan is MIA; Bishop takes his place. A talented rookie, Bishop has been thrust into a leadership role for the first time in his career. For online co-op play, the second player controls Knight, a new character.

• Enhanced AI and better-equipped enemies. Enemies can now wield ballistic shields and other specialized gear, making teamwork and pincer strategies more important. You'll also encounter "elite" terrorists who are as well-equipped as team Rainbow.

Vegas 2 multiplayer enhancements

• New multiplayer mode: Team Leader. The goal is simple: kill off the enemy leader and mop up his underlings, or safely escort your team's leader to an extraction point. The catch is that the team leader acts as a mobile respawn point for his team.

• New multiplayer mode: Total Conquest. Similar to the Domination modes found in Halo 3 or Call of Duty 4. The winning team must successfully capture and hold all three satellite dishes for 30 straight seconds to win the round. The ticking time limit ensures plenty of action late in the match, as both teams scramble to lock up all three satellites.

• Much faster loading times and better graphics for online play. Ubisoft Montreal has listened to fan feedback, smoothing the presentation of Vegas 2's online mode. The results are dramatically speedier loading times, graphics that look nearly identical to those of the single-player mode, and the ability to swap teams even when the server is full.

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