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Clancy's Rainbow Six 3
Score: 9.0 / 10
For Xbox owners looking for the ultimate
tactical shooting games, look no further than the Tom Clancy lineup of
titles from Ubisoft: Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, Ghost Recon: Island
Thunder, and the newest and best of them all, Rainbow Six 3. While
Splinter Cell may be the best-looking of the bunch and the two Ghost
Recon can stand on their own merits, the balanced combination of a solid
single-player game with an incredibly entertaining online gaming
environment places Rainbow Six 3 headshots-and-shoulders above not only
its own crowd, but everybody elseís in the growing tactical shooting
Gameplay focuses more on enclosed indoor environments as compared to the
Ghost Recon games, which targeted on the strategy of tactical outdoor
jungle, beach and urban area fighting. In Rainbow Six 3 youíre not
battling against guerilla armies this time, youíre chasing and striking
at a clandestine network of terrorists,
which requires more stealth and gunfights
in confined spaces with hostageís lives at risk in a gameplay style
closer to Splinter Cell than the Ghost Recon titles.
Although this is the same type of squad-based tactical shooter in its
single-player game as the Ghost Recon titles, how you issue commands to
your squad has been revamped for the better in a few different ways.
First, instead of
commanding your squad by first going to the map menu (as seen in Ghost
Recon and Island Thunder), now you can point your reticule to where you
want them to move, hit the corresponding command button, and they will
move. No more issuing orders from a map without seeing the terrain or
environment you are sending your team into. Now you have to complete
visual bearings on where they are headed.
And it isnít only the ďmoveĒ command thatís at your disposal. You can
order them to cover, open doors and clear the room, regroup, climb, and
hold their position. Whatever the current in-game situation calls for,
you can order your team to do. And these commands are very important,
because the key to completing missions in the single-player mode is to
make your team do all the work while you stay in the shadows, so to
speak, and devise the correct strategy to beat the terrorists.
But the most ambitious addition to Rainbow Six 3ís order commands is the
ability to use your Xbox Live headset to issue verbal commands to the
A.I. squad members. The inclusion of the voice commands in the
single-player portion of the game was a great idea, but it is a bit on
the uneven side in its actual application during playing sessions,
particularly when it comes to the ďmoveĒ edict. If you order the squad
to open and clear a room, it works practically every time. But when it
comes to the ďmoveĒ order, the bread-and-butter command youíll use, the
A.I. has an anarchistic approach to accepting the order of not. Itís a
great idea to have voice commands in the game, but it needs to be
refined a bit more in any future titles in the Tom Clancy lineup before
it can earn raves.
You wonít get any argument from me when it comes to debating if Rainbow
Six 3 merits its ďMatureĒ rating. This is small-scale war youíre
involved in, and killing and being killed produces bloody casualties.
But I felt a bit of a letdown when it came to eliminating terrorists
with a clean headshot . Maybe Iím just too bloodthirsty, but I know Iím
not alone is enjoying a lot of crimson carnage in my wargames. Rainbow
Six 3 has its share, but it canít come close to Counter-Strikeís
bloodbath or even the cranium-exploding headshots of the much inferior
Solider of Fortune II: Double Helix.
Splinter Cell set a gold standard for visuals. Sam Fisherís adventures
where dramatically enhanced with out-of-this-world graphics, including
ridiculously realistic lighting effects. While not quite the overall
quality of Splinter Cellís amazing visual presentation, Rainbow Six 3 is
much better looking than the Ghost Recon titles and is definitely
enhanced to a new level by those same wonderful Splinter Cell lighting
effects (albeit on a lesser scale) that actually influence your gameplay
options and decisions while hunting terrorists through environments with
little light sources to guide you.
Yet another stellar visual effect is when youíre unfortunate enough to
get caught in the path of a flash grenade or worse, a tear gas grenade
without a gas mask. A flash grenade will blind you and let any nearby
enemies pick you off. Gas will produce a realistic disorienting visual
effect. You will have blurred vision, and moving around only makes
matters worse, for itís impossible to gauge your true sense of direction
until you get away from the gasí ground zero area and clear your head.
If youíre lucky, you will avoid any enemies until the effects of the gas
wear off, but usually (especially online) your head will clear from the
bullet thatís just passed through your skull.
Sound effects play a big part in Rainbow Six 3. In single-player
missions, enemies making noise can alert you to their presence. Youíll
also be able to judge how far away or close an enemy is from your
position based on the volume of the gunfire and explosions relative to
Speaking of guns, Rainbow Six 3 has the expected arsenal of
terrorist-killing rifles, machine guns, and pistols as well as
supporting incendiary devices. There is also thermal and night vision
goggles you can use in the nighttime and hard-to-see levels, where
danger could be around any dark corner.
Most rifles have scopes of varying magnifications that make killing the
opposition a lot easier. But when it comes to online action, many of
these weapons are useless if you have any ambitions of winning because
of low accuracy rates or too much recoil. My advice is to find a good
reliable weapon of your liking and stick with it through Xbox Live
gaming to have any chance of success.
The single-player game and its storyline of hunting terrorists creates
an enjoyable gaming experience. But as good as Rainbow Six 3 is as a
single-player tactical shooter, it is spectacular online for those Xbox
owners with Xbox Live. If you were on the fence about signing up for
Xbox Live, Rainbow Six 3 will push you onto the side of the fence of
willing subscribers. This is without a doubt Xbox Liveís best
shooter-style title right now.
There are plenty of online modes in Rainbow Six 3: team-based, solo, or
even co-op mission modes, where you play missions from the single-player
game online with other team members. You can customize what weapons are
available, if re-spawning is allowed, time limits, and a bunch of other
options, so you can set up the game the way you want to play. No matter
what online mode you choose, Rainbow Six 3 is seamlessly smooth online
with almost no lag whatsoever and 16 players running around killing each
other on a good and well-devised selection of levels is a great online
time that not many games can match.
The third timeís the charm for Tom Clancyís Rainbow Six series. Rainbow
Six 3ís has the complete package for shooting game fans, especially
those that have Xbox Live as part of their Xbox gaming arsenal. This is
the best online shooting experience available today, including the
recently-released Xbox translation of the PC sensation Counter-Strike.