STAFF REVIEW of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 (Xbox)

Monday, November 17, 2003.
by l Maximus l

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 Box art When you thought Ubisoft couldn't top your experience with tactical brilliance of Ghost Recon and the stealthy and amazing Splinter Cell, simply put: they did.

The game is Rainbow Six: 3. From it's single player and multi-player via system link to the profound enjoyment on XBox Live, this is the ultimate stocking stuffer this holiday season. If you don't have it yet, I pity you. If you plan on getting it, I envy you. Bar none, this is Ubisoft's best game on XBox to date.

Setting the bar high, Ubisoft kicks this game in action with the option to play solo, multi-player via system link, and it is XBox Live enabled. Like Ghost Recon, we all can enjoy playing cooperatively through the Campaign and not just limited to the other brilliant multi-player modes including Sharpshooter and Team Survival. You are Ding Chavez, the leader of your four man Rainbow Six operatives who elimate the threat of terrorism around the planet with an arsenal that would make Al Queda cringe in fear. Your arsenal includes heavy arms, assault rifles, shotguns, handguns, flash bangs, several types of grenades, grenade launchers, claymores, and you can even sport a gas mask...highly recommended. You have four groups to choose your arsenal: Primary weapon, secondary weapon, and two other categories where you can equip yourself with important tools such as flashbangs, claymores, and smoke grenades, smoke grenades, and your handy gas mask, for example. But never fear, you're always equiped with thermal and night vision which will come in handy in sticky situations.

It is noteworthy to mention that R6:3 is very innovative in that you can speak commands to your AI teammates through your XBox Live or special edition Rainbow Six: 3 headset. This includes having your fellow operatives disarm bombs, securing hostages, and opening doors along with a plethora of other commands. When you didn't think it could be cooler, your command list even includes zulu where you can give a command to your AI teammates but they won't respond until you give the final word. It's a beautiful thing...truly. Don't have a headset? Don't worry, by holding down the A button on your controller, there is a list of appropriate commands that are listed, which will differ in the given situation, that you can choose from. At first, I felt a little strange chillin' in my room having a conversation with my television...shortly later to find out that I was overcome by the shear fun of what was going on. The biggest highlites of R6:3 is it's innovation and gameplay.

While the use of lighting is extraordinary in this game, the overall graphics fall a little short of brilliance.

The lighting in this game is very well done...especially how it drapes over the landscape, structures, and all the characters. The use of shadows are a huge plus since they are detailed right down to what type of weapon or object you are carrying. Ubisoft really out did themselves with the lighting and the great use of shadows.

The environments, however, are a little lackluster, however, play a sensical role in the erie feel of the game's setting. The game encourages you to explore every nook and cranny while the environment stays consistent throughout each map. Do the environments detract from this game? Absolutely fact, with the in your face style of tactical terrorist elimation, who needs a bright fuzzy member of Pokemon racing across your screen?

The reactions of your fellow Rainbow Six operatives perform tastefully done reactions including covering their faces after a flashbang has been thrown. Also, when you see the ragdoll effects in this game when you plant a bullet between the eyes of a terrorist enemy, watch and see how the corpse fall naturally to the surface, up against a wall, or draped over a box. Ubisoft spared nothing when including great character reactions and ragdoll effects.

First and foremost, if you own a 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound system, you're in for a real treat. Since sound plays a huge role in R6:3, having 5.1 is a huge advantage. For instance, if you're playing the campaign mode solo, voices from your AI teammates will sound like they are coming from the appropriate direction. Gun shots and ricochets will sound like they are coming from the appropriate location. But, in the heat of battle with gunfire going frantic, you'll almost feel like there are guns going off all around you...probably because they are!

The use of voice is great, too. Your AI teammates even boast of British, German, and French accents from the applicable comrade.

On XBox Live, you'll enjoy the option for players to come from your TV speakers or your XBox Live headset's headphone instead. Good thing the XBox Live headset only has one'll definately want to hear the sounds from the game since they play an extremely important role in this game....probably moreso than than many games preceding it.

While it's likely that this game will provide countless hours of fun, enjoyment, and lasting appeal over XBox Live, I wish this game allowed for split screen gaming to play through the cooperative missions with a close buddy or buddies. Getting 4 XBoxes and four tvs to play the campaign is hard enough...but, to only have one person on each XBox and TV makes it very difficult...let alone owning a 16 port HUB if you want 16 to play via System Link. One of the many things that makes Halo such an amazing game is that four player split screen is not such a bad thing after all...especially when there's games that follow such as Rainbow Six: 3.

Overall: 9.2 / 10
Gameplay: 9.6 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 9.2 / 10


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