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Clancy's Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow
Score: 8.2 / 10
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
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
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.
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