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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Action / Shooter

 

Publisher

Ubisoft

 

Developer

Ubisoft

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

August 4, 2004

 

 

- Co-op Play
- Intense Single Player Campaign
- Lone Rush adds significant replay to the single player game
- Online play is even better than before

 

 

- Those expecting Black Arrow to play like a sequel will be sadly disappointed
- Storyline is pretty standard
- Some weird death animations

 

 

Review: Splinter Cell - Pandora Tomorrow (XB)

Review: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon - Island Thunder (XB)

Review: Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 (XB)

 

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Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow

Score: 8.2 / 10

 

black arrow review           black arrow review

 

Late last year Rainbow Six 3 took the Xbox by storm, establishing itself as the best, if not one of the best Xbox Live games available. Earlier this year Rainbow Six 3 was ported over to the Playstation 2 and GameCube, but both games failed to deliver the same quality of game play that its Xbox counterpart was well known for. Ubi Softís latest installment of the franchise, Black Arrow, plays more like a mission pack than a full sequel (I guess thatís implied by the lower than normal retail price).

The style of combat presented in the Rainbow Six titles over the past six years hasnít changed one bit. The series still focuses heavily on combat in close quarters rather than long range engagements seen in games like Ghost Recon. Almost all the environments youíll fight your way through take place in urban centers or in

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cramped buildings.

Many of the objective-based missions center around freeing hostages or defusing bombs. The enemies youíll be facing are well-armed terrorists who will stop at nothing to take you and your team down. Once again you assume the role of ĎDingí Chavez who is part of a secret United Nations organization that fights terrorism abroad. You and your team take to

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the streets of many international locales such as France and Italy in order to prevent terrorists from assembling weapons of mass destruction.

Black Arrow has also taken less of a cinematic approach between missions. Unlike the first game, there are no cut scenes depicting the political and military situation globally. There are other aspects of the gameís presentation that have undergone substantial changes. For example, the briefing menuís have been overhauled so now you can actually see photos of the mission area, rather than a map.

Black Arrow consists of ten single-player missions and each one of the missions plays out similar to one other: ferocious fire fights as well as unexpected traps and ambushes. Throughout most of the missions youíll have a group of AI controlled soldiers by your side. You can give commands to your soldiers by the push of a button. The commands range from telling your soldiers to move to a certain point to telling them how to storm a room. You just place your reticule over an object such as a door and simply press the X button to bring up the command menu. You can also use an Xbox live headset to bark commands to your soldiers. Issuing the proper commands can decide whether or not you and your team go home in a body bag.

The single-player campaign is extremely tense and exciting, but youíll die a lot. I am glad I never kept track of how many times I got gunned down by the terrorists. To the delight of many, the game has an excellent save system. Each level has its own amount of saves depending on its length. You can use your saves at any point, but youíll have to strategically pick the best spots since you have a limited number. The single player game length is fairly standard for an expansion pack, 10 hours or so.

 

black arrow review           black arrow review


There are two new game modes added to the offline play. The best addition is a mode called Lone Rush. In Lone Rush you must reach a designated extraction point within a given amount of time. Along your path to the extraction point youíll run into terrorists, hostages and bombs. For every terrorist you kill you get five seconds added to the clock. For every hostage and bomb you defuse you get even more time added onto the clock However, killing one hostage will end the mission. Honestly speaking, I found Lone Rush to be more enjoyable than the regular campaign. Also added is a new split screen cooperative mode.

Chances are if youíre reading this review, youíre probably more interested in the online play. The online play in Black Arrow is back and has all the fixings youíd expect. There are a total of fourteen maps, with four returning maps from the previous game. Retrieval and Total Conquest are the two new modes for the online play. Retrieval plays out similar to capture the flag. There is one canister placed in the center of the map and each team must retrieve the canister and bring it back to their teamís base. In Total Conquest there are three satellite dishes scattered throughout the map and the objective is for each team to take over all the dishes. The first team to hold the dishes for half a minute wins. Both modes are equally enjoyable as there is a heavy emphasis on team play.

Black Arrow also supports Xbox Live 3.0, which makes it much simpler to setup clans and invite your friends to form a team. Like most other games you have a clan leader and can challenge other clans and enter tournaments. The clan support goes even further to allow you to have a clan symbol and even have your own clan motto.

The gameís visuals havenít received much of an upgrade, but that isnít necessarily a terrible thing. Rainbow Six 3 was a visually impressive game, utilizing the same engine that powered both Splinter Cell games. The game uses rag doll physics to handle its death animations and even though rag doll physics work well in most games, some of the positions the deceased enemies end up in are just plain weird at times.

If youíre expecting Black Arrow to play like a sequel youíre going to be disappointed. Yes, Black Arrow plays quite similar to the first Rainbow Six game on the Xbox, but it packs a lot of the same punch. Black Arrow features enough improvements to keep you playing for a long time, albeit mostly online.

- Siddharth Masand
(September 14, 2004)

 

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