Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3 (Xbox)
Genre: First Person Shooter
Release Date: 10/30/2003
Let me get this out first, I don’t like First Person Shooters very much. I don’t hate them, but the majority of them feel the same to me. You walk, you shoot, and if you’re me you die. Well, maybe there’s another reason I don’t like them. So why would I even be remotely interested in this game? Voice recognition. Yeah, it’s stupid, but I like telling my game to do stuff then watch as it actually does what I asked.
There’s a game mentioned in the Dreamcast: Sega’s Last Scream feature called Seaman that I had never heard about that I’m really thinking of picking up because of the voice recognition. Someone who has played the game can correct me if I’m wrong but it sounds like a virtual pet that you can talk to. So when I say I got hyped for that feature I’m not kidding.
The first thing I did after I bought this game was show it to my roommate who looked at the title and said What the heck is a Rainbow Six? That sounds kind of lame’. Of course I then had to explain in great detail not only what Rainbow Six was, but why it wasn’t lame while she started looking for the nearest escape route(like I hadn’t blocked those off already). Anyway, I’m sure you’re now dying to know as well, what is Rainbow Six?
The game is based off of a Tom Clancy novel about an elite worldwide counterterrorism squad who go and rescue hostages, and counter terrorists. The first Rainbow Six games offered gamers a more tactical approach to the shooting genre with giving you control of multiple teams and having you plot on a map where each team is going to go and what they are going to do. With the newest game a lot of the previous planning is taken out and you are put in charge of one 4 person team. So how does the transition work?
You play the part of a counter terrorist squad so I’ll give you three guesses to what the story is about and the first two don’t count. That’s right, fighting terrorism. You and your team get sent in when it gets too hot and heavy for the locals to handle. The game is set slightly in the future in the year 2007 and starts of with terrorist activity sparked by Venezuela going against an OPEC decision to ship oil to the US.
This terrorist activity has to be stopped by you, Domingo Ding’ Chavez and your international squad which consists of Louis Loiselle (French), Eddie Price (British), and Dieter Weber (German). Who said we can’t all get along? The orders come from John Clark, the head of Rainbow Six, who will lay out your objectives at the beginning of each mission. Oddly I don’t think they ever mention that Ding is John’s son-in-law at all in the game like he is in the book. They missed some deeper story telling right there.
The entire games story is told through cut scenes at the beginning of each level. The FMV cut scenes are excellently done and reek in high production value. They’re short, to the point and at the same time they’re pretty and move the story along at a good pace. The voice actors did an excellent job in these scenes as well, although the audio is much quieter in the cut scenes than the rest of the game.
Even with well done cut scenes, and a plot that explains the motives of the terrorists, none of the actual characters of the squad are ever examined. They are all there to do their job and that’s all of what we know of them. I was expecting more out of a game with Tom Clancy’s name on the front cover. The effort is there, but I want to know more about the guy I’m playing as than why the terrorists are causing trouble.
Let’s just say if this game were a woman, then she would be out of my league.
The game is good looking. The character models are fairly well detailed, and there’s enough different enemy models to make you feel like you’re not fighting the same guy over and over again. Your teammates are all well animated for the most part, with details like covering their eyes after throwing a flashbang grenade. Sometimes the animation for them gets jerky when they’re all trying to go through the door and occasionally on ladders.
The weaponry is even more highly detailed. Each weapon looks realistic and has little touches to them which make them even better. Such as your character holding heavier guns differently, to muzzle flashes being different for different guns, and different reloading animations. Sometimes you can only tell where an enemy is shooting at you from where the spray of bullets is coming from. Even here there are little touches like the spray pattern of a shotgun whizzing by your head will look different than a machine gun. Secondary weapons like the smoke grenade, flashbang grenade and tear gas grenade have great effects. The smoke will start slowly coming out of the canister but will quickly obscure your vision, and the tear gas visibly effects the air. Stepping into a cloud of tear gas will make the colors on the screen run like a crying lady with heavy mascara. The flashbang grenade will not only blind you, but leave an after image of the last thing you saw obscuring your vision for a moment.
The best part of the graphics is the environments. Someone must’ve read Haley’s little things column because each level has a surprising amount of detail. It’s hard to accurately describe but there will be rooms that you wont spend more than a couple of seconds in with just stuff like potted plants and boxes just lying around. Sure it’s just a box lying there, still it adds to the effect that people used this room before and left crap lying around. Things like that put me more into the game. No surprise since this is the same developers as Splinter Cell, but the shadows are awesome and really help add to the realism. In the game you have at your disposal the use of both Night Vision goggles and Thermal Vision goggles just like in Splinter Cell as well. There will be some parts of the game that you’ll need the Night Vision in order just to see where you are going. The Thermal Vision is a great asset when you know you are about to enter a big gunfight you can drop a smoke grenade and turn them on giving you a big advantage.
This is one of the best and worst parts of the game.
The voice acting during the FMV’s is great as the voice acting in the levels themselves, what little of it there is. Wearing the headset adds to the experience as you’ll give commands to your squad and they will confirm your order and carry them out, even the other few things they say such as Ding, look out!’ and Tango eliminated’ work well when coming through your TV speakers but the headset adds a little more to the experience of the game. The enemies don’t have much to say except for something that would probably translate as What the hell?’ when they are surprised by your presence. What does a terrorist say when you’ve set him on fire with an incendiary grenade? AAAAARRGGHH’.
The music is also another well done aspect of the game. A sad little acoustic guitar part plays every time a team member dies. Small ambient noise in the levels is also a huge plus to me. In one level you will be looking for hostages in a residential house with some pretty piano music coming from the stereo that gets louder the closer you get to it. I’ve heard pigeon noises in a city street (although no pigeons). The sounds of your steps and that of your team get louder if you walk faster and depend on the surface.
The weapons are also painstakingly detailed here and all sound like you think they would in real life.
So why is the sound one of the worst parts of the game when so far everything else is great?
Most of the terrorist appear to be deaf.
These terrorist are the perfect neighbors (well, besides the terrorism part). You could have Sega sponsor the largest rave of the year at your house and not have them notice.
This is more of an AI issue with the terrorists, but it’s hard not to include it as a sound problem when I’m shooting one guy with a particularly loud gun that his friend 10 feet away doesn’t notice. What’s weird is sometimes a guy from down the street will sometimes hear me shooting in one part of the level, but the guy 10 feet away will not at another part of the same level.
The control is one of the best for FPS that I’ve encountered. The left joystick is for moving, pressing it in will allow you to crouch. The right joystick turns and aims, pressing it in will allow you to zoom in or use the scope. The A button is used for commanding your team, pressing it lightly and they’ll react to what you’re pointing at. For example point down the street and hit A and they’ll move down the street and hold position. Point at a door and they’ll open the door and clear the room, etc. Holding down the A button bring up a more detailed list of commands such as opening a door and throwing a flash grenade before clearing, and toggles the Zulu commands which can be used to have your team wait for your command before executing the last order given. This allows you to occasionally attack the enemy from both sides when done right. In fact this part is done so well, I use it instead of the headset half of the time. I swear at them with the headset the other half of the time. Holding down the X button brings up a menu of weapon choices which you choose with the D-pad. Y controls your Night Vision, and B controls your Thermal Vision. Right trigger fires your primary weapon, and the left trigger switches to your secondary weapon.
The turning feels slow with the right joystick making aiming quickly a little difficult, but they make up for this by giving you an aiming reticule that will auto aim anything within the circle. The reticule will shrink when you move and get larger when you are stationary. There’s also a lot more recoil than in any other FPS I’ve ever played (which admittedly isn’t saying a lot) so you are always better off not holding the trigger down.
There’s no splitscreen multiplayer in Rainbow Six 3, which will drive down the replayability for those looking to have a friend come over and play the game. There is a cool option of being able to play a level with randomly generated locations of terrorist, and an ability to do practice missions on a level. What also cuts down on the replayability is the amount of trial and error involved in the game. Some parts of each level have scripted events, like walking into a trap and getting blown to bits, the next time you’ll know it is coming but playing through different parts of each level over and over again cut down on you wanting to replay the game over once you’ve beaten the single player mode.
However, this may be one of the best Live shooting games out there. There are 5 different options for Xbox Live, 2 of those Co-Op options which allow you and three other people to take on the computer together in either an objective based mission, or to just hunt down all of the terrorists within a specific level. Then there are three deathmatch options: Survival- Last man standing wins; Team Survival- Last Team Standing wins; and Sharpshooter- a deathmatch that allows you to respawn when you die and whoever has the most kills at the end of a time limit wins.
If you have Xbox Live, there is near limitless replayability there, and there is already downloadable content! I still really wish they had included some for of splitscreen co-op, and it sound like they are going to for the PS2 version of the game, which leads me to believe it could have been added to the Xbox version as well.
7/10 (9/10 with Xbox Live)
The game doesn’t really do anything that hasn’t been done before, even though it does it well. The ease of the commands on the controller is a nice addition and I hope other games featuring voice command will copy the simple set up for those that don’t use the headsets.
The game is challenging, and the addictiveness is there just to see if you can clear the next level. There are also 3 separate and challenging difficulty levels to play through giving players who love a challenge the reason they need to keep playing. However you may not be that tempted to play through them again right away because the trial and error.
Most of the addictiveness comes from playing on Xbox Live. With Live you’ll spend hours trying to figure out different maps and adjusting to other players strategies as well as learning from their strategy. Live also makes it very easy to keep track of your friends and to jump into one of their games. The ease of use for the Live portion of the game makes it inviting to play if you’re looking for a quick respawn deathmatch, or a more tactical team survival match. Live also keeps track of your rank through all games, or you could see your rank for individual games and it also keeps track of your kill/death ratio. I don’t know why, for me my rank isn’t that important but I want try and keep my ratio up.
6/10 (9/10 with Xbox Live)
It’s a Tom Clancy game. It’s a FPS. It lets you kill terrorists. It’s compatible with Live. That right there makes it heavily appealing to a certain gaming audience. The game appealed to me and I don’t normally go for first person games.
Rainbow Six 3 didn’t crack the top ten Live games on 411, but I tell you what, if you’ve got Live, give this game a rental at least. Not very many games on Live give you the chance to work together with other players against the computer instead of killing them in a death match, and it is a feature I would like to personally see in more Live games in the future. For those who love death matches there are also plenty of options for them as well. So if you’re looking for another FPS on Live that does something a bit differently, give it a shot.
Even on the easiest setting, this game can be challenging. The game has three difficulty modes, so far the difference I’ve seen between them is that the enemy AI notices you more easily, shoot way more precisely, and there are generally more of them. At the same time there are some flaws in the enemy AI. Like I said before some of them are freaking deaf. I’ve tried shooting my gun in the air while a terrorist was around the corner a little ways away from me and they didn’t react. Sometimes they’ll dive behind objects and peek out every couple of seconds making them easy headshots. There is nothing really horrible about the AI, but some things are still noticeable.
This is evened out by the AI on your squad. Most of the time they will act like the elite soldiers they are meant to be, occasionally though they will act like they’ve been painting in an enclosed space. The retards will do stuff like start climbing up the ladder, stop and climb back down, then let another team member go first. That’s very polite of you Eddie to let Louis go first, but since we’re trying to diffuse a bomb here how bout hurrying the hell up? Or they’ll not be shooting as accurately as the last time I had to do this part of the level. I’ve also been killed by my teammates before. I asked them to go to the other door, then open and frag on my command. I gave the command and opened the door I was near. Instead of opening and fragging, they came over to where I was and helped me shoot the terrorist. I’m just thinking okay, that’s fine, I’ll smack you up later for the insubordination later. Then they go to the door they were supposed to open, and he throws a grenade at his feet. BOOM. How do you respond to that?
I reloaded my last save and shot all of the bastards. Lucky for me it’s not like SOCOM 2 where if you kill a team member the other team members don’t immediately open fire on you. Heck, you can shoot these guys in the knees till they die without them putting up a fight.
Where was I? Balance. There are a few small AI flaws for both the enemy and your squad so I guess that about balances it out right? All of the flaws I’ve encountered have been minor and haven’t actually ruined the gameplay with the exception of when one teammate killed everyone else. The levels do get progressively harder and require a lot of teamwork to get through them all and survive.
The balance on Live is great, with the notable exception of one weapon. There is a .50 caliber rifle that you can shoot someone in the hand with and they’ll die, so if you choose that weapon before entering a game, be prepared to get kicked out and called a cheater among other names. A patch came out just recently that solves some of the issue by allowing people to choose whether or not to allow the weapon in the game, much like people have the choice to allow grenade launchers or not. The maps are all well balanced with there generally being more than one way of entering or exiting a room.
There are two extra modes I’ve already talked about, Terrorist Hunt which places terrorist in random areas of a level of your choosing with the objective of killing them all, and Mission Practice, which lets you practice missions. You can also view any of the cut scenes after you’ve viewed them and previews of Ghost Recon: Island Thunder and XIII.
If you’ve got Xbox Live, the online game becomes a whole new experience that I encourage anyone to try out. The game supports up to 16 players online for the death match modes, and up to 4 players for the co-op modes. The interface is set up so well that finding a game within a matter of minutes is an easy thing to do. I’ve only encountered a little lag in a few of the games I’ve played, with only one being downright unplayable. The game lets you know your connection strength with the host and if you enter a game with a strong connection then you shouldn’t have any problems.
4/10 (8/10 with Xbox Live)
Overall Score: 6.9 (with Xbox Live- 7.8)
Reviewers Tilt: 7/10 (with Xbox Live- 8/10)