Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3
Game Info
Platform(s)
Xbox
Publisher
Ubi Soft
Developer
Ubi Soft
Genre
FPS/Tactical Shooter
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Blood, Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Gameplay
• Action
• Level design
• Weapon selection
• Online play
• Replayability
• Graphics and sound
• Artificial intelligence
• No more briefing menu
• Custom Mission mode

The Bad

• No weapon customization
• No character select

 
Grade
A+

Ubi Soft developed a good bit of hit games for Microsoft's Xbox, which include Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, Ghost Recon: Island Thunder, and more. Ubi's always been generous to Xbox without a doubt. Now, Ubi and Tom Clancy have finally brought one of my favorite game series of all time--Rainbow Six--to our precious Xbox and even with a time exclusive contract like what was done with Splinter Cell, although the game is scheduled to be released for Sony's PlayStation2 and Nintendo's GameCube in around April 2004. Ahh, Rainbow Six 3, how I love you. On to the review of the most recent hit title from Tom Clancy and Ubi Soft!

The controls are outstanding. You have a button to shoot, open doors, close doors, lean to the left, lean to the right, order your team to do something (hold to go to an in-depth look at the orders and R to change your Zulu code), move, turn, turn on thermal goggles, turn on nightvision goggles, reload (hold to go to the weapons menu), use Zulu, and tell your team to hold or follow. There are a few control schemes available if you don't like the default ones. Thankfully, you can choose whether or not you want to invert your aiming reticule. One thing with the controls that some people might not like is how there is no button to change your rate-of-fire, but it all depends on how hard you press down on the trigger button. The controls are also very responsive. Overall, the controls are great and perfected for the Xbox controller.

In the game, you play as Ding Chavez, the leader of the elite military squad, Rainbow Six. After a while of heated disagreements between the United States of America and Saudi Arabia, terrorists have began hitting America with terrorist strikes, and they love holding hostages. It is your job to, along with your team mates, dispose of the terrorists, keep the civilian casualties at a minimum, and keep the United States safe again. The story plays out with a series of cut-scenes that you can watch over in the special features mode after you unlock them. They're very well done, too.

I am a huge fan of the Rainbow Six series. Hell, the first one on the Nintendo 64 is easily one of my favorite games of all time, and I had Rogue Spear on both PC and Playstation. Now that my PC is out-of-shape performance wise, I could never run Rainbow Six: Raven Shield on it. Thank God that Ubi Soft decided to port it to a console. Rainbow Six 3 is pretty much Rainbow Six: Raven Shield for PC, but reworked and done hundred times better. This game seems to be a lot more like the original Rainbow Six on Nintendo 64 than any others. It's pretty action oriented and not as tactical as the PC counterparts, but is still a tactical shooter.

Rainbow Six 3 is a lot like the PC version, but different in a lot of ways, too. For those of you who have never played any of the games, you command a squad of elite military forces and take out terrorists, save hostages, and save the world. When you start the game, you can go to the campaign mode, which is the main game, and pick a level to play. After that, you will be off to the short briefing session where you learn of your objectives and change your gear. They took out the point planning thing from the PC version of the game, thank God. It was a pain in the ass.

It's a lot more fast-paced than previous Tom Clancy games for Xbox like Ghost Recon, Ghost Recon: Island Thunder, and Splinter Cell, and a lot more action oriented than previous Rainbow Six games. Large gun fights happen much more often than they did in the previous games, which is awesome. Even with that said, you'll still come upon lone gunmen a lot, and even fighting them is amazing. Enemies also seem to be much more well hidden than they were in the previous installments. I walked into a room in one level before and I was getting shot at, but I couldn't figure out where the gunner was. Turns out the guy was in a window. Enemies might also run to better hiding places if you don't spot them before hand.

The actual gameplay is very, very awesome. It's kind of like Ghost Recon for Xbox in a way, but not as slow, and much better due to the major suckage of Ghost Recon for Xbox due to the lame-ass single player. Anyway, you'll control your team mates and make your way through huge terrorist-infested levels. Fighting the terrorists is very, very fun and always a fresh challenge. They are pretty unpredictable with their artificial intelligence. Sometimes they may retreat to another room, crouch behind objects, hide behind walls and just point their gun around the corner and shoot, or even give themselves up as a prisoner of war where you can choose whether or not you want to cuff them and secure them, leaving them invulnerable to gun shots, or take the more fun route and shoot them while they have their hands on their heads. It's extremely fun to shoot them when they have given up, and even better when using an M203 round. They burn really well with the incendiary ones. If you decide to leave a surrendering terrorist alone and not cuff him or kill him, he will eventually pick his gun back up and come back and try to kill you. They also might try to do this when near you to trick you. Your team mates are also very smart, and you will always need to cooperate with them in order to beat a mission.

When controlling your team, you can either use voice commands with the headset or point with your targeting reticule on objects like walls, doors, bombs, hostages, and more, then press or hold your command button and command them from there. You can also issue Zulu commands, which will give you an advantage in the game. For example, say there is a room that has 2 entrances to it. You can get by one door and let your 3 team mates get by the other after you issue the Zulu command. After you press the Zulu button, they will go in and so will you giving you the advantage of entering at 2 points. There is pretty much nothing more you could ask for in the voice command department.

If you'd played Raven Shield, you'll notice differences in the game right when you pop it in your Xbox. The single player levels have been redone and look different when you compare them to the PC version because of parts of the levels being placed in a totally different place. The game also sports new and better graphics, a completely new story, and reworked multiplayer maps.

When playing the game, you will command a small group of Rainbow Six soldiers. You'll be playing as Ding Chavez and your team mates will be Dieter Weber, Louis Loiselle, and Eddie Price. This is one of the large differences you will notice from the PC game. In Raven Shield, you were able to pick a squad of 8 men from the numerous ones available, yourself included, and then go on a mission. The team members you could pick from also had special skills and stats and things. Well, that's gone.

Weber, Loiselle, and Price all seem to have similar stats and are all very good attributes to your team. Plus, considering Chavez has always had the best stats in the Rainbow Six games, you shouldn't mind playing as him at all if you're a veteran to the series although it used to be a good idea to leave him under computer control. Anyway, that little mini-trip-up isn't near enough for me to grade the game lower at all. You'll also notice that you can't pick your team mate's weapons, although your weapon choices will influence their choices. For example, if you pick a gas mask, everyone will have one, and if you pick a primary or secondary weapon with a silencer, everyone else will have a primary or secondary weapon with a silencer. It's fine details like that in the game that I love.

There are loads of real-life weapons in the game that will range from the G3A3, M16A2, and M4A1 to all of the variations of the MP5, UMP, TMP, PGS-1, AK-47, and a whole lot more. All of your weapons come already configured, too, which is kind of crappy when you think about it because in the PC version of Raven Shield, you could put on silencers, scopes, pick different bullets, and all kinds of stuff. This isn't a real big deal though to me although it would be nice to use a silence M16A2 or M4A1. Aiming in the game is a breeze due to the kick ass reticule system that Ubi Soft implemented into the game. Besides rifles and stuff, you'll also have a good selection of secondary weapons and other equipment.

You can get a few variations of the M203 Grenade Launcher (incendiary rounds, explosive rounds, smoke rounds) and pistols for your secondary (.50 Desert Eagle, Mark 23 .45, USP .40, 92FS 9mm, SR-2, and a MAC-11 which is a pistol-like machine gun). Some of the equipment you can choose will range from gas masks, claymore mines, breaching charges, and flashbangs to frag grenades, incendiary grenades, and explosive grenades. You can pick a rifle for your primary weapon, any of the different variations of the M203 Grenade Launcher or any pistol for your secondary weapon, and any of the different grenades and other explosives or a gas mask for your third and fourth weapons. The weapon selection is extremely good, and all of the weapons are very varied and have much different stats than each other.

The level design is very good and the levels are very varied. In all, there are 14 single player missions with new missions coming in the future via Xbox Live, Official Xbox Magazine's demo disc, and maybe even a new game like Ghost Recon got with Island Thunder. The levels in the game range from an oil tanker, office building, and a small village in the winter to a Mardi Gras parade, car garage, and even a highway with wrecked cars. Like in Splinter Cell, there will be things you can destroy in each level like barrels, fire extinguishers, computer and TV screens, and more. All of the levels are designed well and you will love to play the game over and over. Even though I don't have Xbox Live, I hear the multiplayer levels are designed well, too. Ubi Soft pretty much perfected the level designs in this game.

The replayability in the game is great. If you are getting the game for just single player, you will have 14 different missions to play through in the Campaign mode and you'll want to play them over because they are so much fun. Plus, after you've beaten a level, you can play it in the Custom Missions mode where you can either play Terrorist Hunt, a mode where your only objective is to hunt down and kill every single terrorist on the map, or Practice Mode where you can practice a level and get better at it. There is also the ability to play the single player missions co-op via system link or Xbox Live, and you can have deathmatches via Xbox Live. Overall, both the replayability and the gameplay are amazing.

The graphics are utterly amazing. Ubi Soft used the same engine from the awesome-looking Splinter Cell and made it look even better. Like Splinter Cell, you'll notice great lighting effects. Everything in the game casts a shadow, and you'll see terrorists with lights, light gleaming through windows, and more. Hiding in the shadows will also give you an advantage in both online and off-line play. There are also things that are interactive in the levels like hanging tarps and curtains that you will see move when you go through them and chains hanging from the ceilings in some levels that you can shoot and make move. The explosions in the game also look very good, as does the muzzle fire from the guns. The enemies and the team alike are also very well designed. Overall, the game looks breathtaking and is very pleasing to the eye.

The animations in the game are also very, very good. Rainbow Six 3 uses the same "rag-doll" engine that games like Max Payne 2 and Rainbow Six: Raven Shield use. Basically, it gives you extremely realistic death animations and other stuff. Not only does this make the game just that much more fun and realistic, but it makes it funnier in a way. For example, if you shoot a guy when he is at the top of a stair well, he will fall down the stairs and land at the bottom. People will also react when you kill them by where you shot them. If you shoot them in their shoulder, they might spin and fall or something like that. It's a great thing. There's also no lag in the single player at all, and I've heard there's none in the online play. I've only experienced one glitch in the game, but it was only when some guy had his arm sticking through a door, so no big deal. Overall, the graphics and animation are all top class. You can't find better anywhere.

The sound is very good. If you fire a gun, I assure you it will not sound like any other gun in the game, although this little feature wasn't present in the demo disc that I'm sure a good bit of you played. Sound also plays as an important element in the game. If you enter a room and there is a terrorist occupying it that you didn't see upon entering, you'll surely hear him if he moves, fires his weapon at you, or lets out a battle cry. You can also hear terrorists running from behind you. The explosions also sound very good. Cutscenes that involve voice acting have been done well and everything, too. The music in the game is great and makes the mood in the game grow greatly. It's a very good soundtrack, but you'd expect that from a Tom Clancy game.

Overall, this is easily my favorite first-person shooter (yes, it's better than Goldeneye, Halo, Perfect Dark, Half-Life, and anything else) and my favorite game on Xbox. I was not disappointed one bit with Ubi Soft. The only way I'll be disappointed is if I don't see a sequel to the game in this generation of consoles like Ghost Recon did with Island Thunder. That would just suck badly.

While there were a few complaints about the game, they were all minor complaints and nothing that could possibly make me score this game lower than an A+. Anyway, this game is a definite buy for any and all Xbox owners. If you don't own an Xbox, but are interested in Rainbow Six 3, I suggest picking it up for PlayStation2 or GameCube when it hits shelves in April of next year, but the Xbox version will obviously be superior due to the downloadable content and controls. Get it and have a great time, Xboxers!

- - THAguyINgta3

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