The snake-cam makes a welcome return, allowing you to check under doors and tag targets prior to entry. One big aspect that is improved in Vegas 2 is the entry system itself - you can, for example, position your team at one entrance whilst you move around to a different entrance.
When it comes time to move into the room, your team can burst in while you open your door and watch them take out the enemy. This is all entirely under your control, and when I tried it for myself I promptly dropped a flash grenade and blinded myself, demonstrating that no matter how clever the game, if an idiot is in charge then you'd better watch out.
Probably the best new aspect however is the reward system. Throughout the game, your experience is recorded and points are awarded for the actions you take. This is described by the developers as a "loyalty reward system" which spans across the single player, multiplayer and co-op modes. Experience points are awarded by performing various actions, ranging from killing terrorists to reaching checkpoints, and as you gain experience you'll be able to see your progression with the on-screen experience bar. Once you gain a certain amount of experience points, you gain a rank, and you will also unlock a new set of gear that visually enhances your character.
The developers have also built in what they call "ACES", or "Advanced Combat Enhancement Specialization", which is a reward granted for tactical abilities, based on close-quarter, assault, and marksmanship. Simply put, these are rewards for the likes of multiple kills, difficult ranged shots, and grenade kills. The reward points you accumulate will allow you to unlock various new weapons after each level.
The more time you spend playing the game, the more you get rewarded for it, but what really puts Vegas 2 ahead is that you don't have to play online to get access to cool new weapons and maps, it's all right there in single player and co-op as well.
To round out the demonstration, Gary used the rappel function to jump off the side of a building and swing in to a room, smashing the glass out at the same time. Our team was a bit too keen on this one, and managed to get ahead of us, so by the time we arrived the bad guys were already dead. One of our team was still hanging on the rope outside the window however, so we ordered him to enter the room and watched as he smashed the window and landed next to us - very impressive!
It's clear that a huge effort has been made tidying up Vegas and making sure as much action has been included as possible. Gary informs us that it's all set to go for next Thursday on the Xbox 360 and PS3, so if you need something to keep your mind off chocolate over the Easter break, you should definitely pick up a copy!