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PS2 / Review / Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3
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Publisher: Ubi Soft
Developer: Ubi Soft
ESRB Rating: Mature
Graphics: 4.5
Sound:4.5
Control: 4.5
3.5
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Review by: Four-Eyed Dragon
Posted: 04/14/04 [view screens]

The game may carry the legendary name of Rainbow Six, but the gameplay has been reduced to a close-quarter combat shooter with training wheels.

Team Rainbow has gone through a lot of changes since it first set out terrorist-hunting years ago. And while many of those changes have been obvious improvements, Rainbow Six 3 has drastically departed from the series' original concept, begging the question of whether it's an improvement or not. For Rainbow Six enthusiasts, the answer is definitely no. But for newbies to the series, well, it doesn't really matter.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Rainbow Six fans should be familiar with the overall scheme of RS3. You guide a team of highly skilled counterterrorists through dangerous close-quarter environments using precise shooting and unparalleled team tactics. From here, veterans of the series will immediately notice that the gameplay takes a different turn. Gone is the tedious plotting of your team's path and the jumbled timing of actually executing the predetermined plans. Instead, as team leader Ding Chavez, you issue simple commands in real time to three subordinates. Most of the orders are for different ways of entering a room, such as flash bang and clear or breach and clear maneuvers. It's a simple concept, easy to carry out, and seems authentic enough for a crack commando team.

What doesn't seem realistic, however, is the layout of each level. Along with simplifying group movements, the game also simplified the path that you take. You no longer have the option to choose from multiple paths and entry points. This time around, you follow one predetermined path with few chances to flank enemies. The result: a much faster, arcade feel that also eliminates team strategy. This is no longer a squad-based game; rather, it's a pick-up-and-play first-person shooter with teammates strictly as backup for your rear or if you make a mistake.

In My Sights
Mixing up your time with other people is a welcome distraction from playing the game alone. The action is just as fierce online as in any other PS2 shooter, but unfortunately, only up to six people can play together at one time. The two-player, split-screen co-op mode is exceptional, making buddies effectively communicate with each other at every turn.

Talking to your computer-controlled A.I .works well, too. You can use the voice-command headset or the standard button pushes to direct your team's movements. Either way, RS3's controls are without fault and easy to use.

Another departure from the Rainbow Six series is the change in visuals. The graphics look great---and they should as the game uses the same engine as Splinter Cell. And even though you're on a linear path, stages still seem big with a lot to see as you "liberate" the gun-toting bad guy in front of you.

All told, if you're a Rainbow Six veteran, you'll be disappointed with the watered-down gameplay. But if this is your first time combating terrorists, you'll find that RS3 is adequate enough to appeal to your shooting instincts.


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