The first shot
I love Squad Based FPS shooters, as long as you can use stealth tactics and the Squad AI isn't a pile of bricks on a slippery slope downwards. I was a huge fan of Rainbow Six when it made its debut on the PC many moons ago, and spawned a plethora of sequels and expansion packs, it was inevitable of course that it would make the leap to Xbox eventually; it did so with Rainbow Six Three.
Now it's time to sharpen those skills once more and follow Rainbow on another Tom Clancy whirlwind adventure. Rainbow Six Three: Black Arrow.
It's Clancy all the way with Team Rainbow (Not Geoffrey, George, Zippy and Bungle) comprised of Ding Chavez, Louis Loiselle, Eddie Price and Dieter Weber. When these boys are called in you can bet your goggles that it's not to shake hands. Terrorists are trying to create a war in the oil-rich regions around the Caspian Sea and Rainbow has to stop them, by any and all means at their disposal.
There's really not much can be said about the gameplay if you've tried your hand at Rainbow Six Three previously, nothing has really changed. It's Squad Based FPS action and stealth with your team providing a decent level of covering fire and assaulting objectives with tactics and guile. A few taps of the correct controls and you can use the context sensitive cursor on screen to issue orders and send your team into a room.
Thankfully Ubi Soft's in-house developers have made sure they kept the 'GO' on 'ZULU' command in the game, so you can coordinate a quick strike on a room or location with your team.
A few new weapons have been added to Rainbow's arsenal and the important thermal vision still allows you to see through doors, showing heat-sources behind thin obstructions. One of my favourite tactics is to lob in a 'Willy Pete' that's a 'White Phosphorous' grenade, and watch the tangos come running out into my team's crossfire.
I'd also like to note that if you have a Headset for your Xbox you can use that to order your team as well. There is a handy list of workable commands in the back of the game manual.
Yes it's back once more, tweaked and buttered to near-perfection showing a new level of detail and even better lighting, these developers know how to push the Unreal engine to its limits, it really should be called the Clancy Engine or something. It's been shoved to a nice rattle of frame-rates for this part 2 instalment of the game's series and I can't wait to see what they come up with next.
Dynamic lighting and the usual bells and whistles compliment the crisp character models and slick texturing, it really is quite a delight to actually play the game and see all the nice touches. Shadows cast from strong light sources can serve to tip off the enemy and of course give away their position to the astute player.
The bane of every Squad Based game, thankfully over the years Rainbow's AI has been improved quite dramatically, from sluggish, slow to react morons to sharp-eyed (Most of the time) killing machines who often land more kills than the player leading them. But of course it's not just Rainbow that has been given a sharp re-tooling in the AI department - the tangos now sport better AI, team tactics and shoot from cover, lobbing grenades and laying down suppressive fire.
They will actively try and hunt you down.
The weapons fire could be tweaked a bit but that's really only a minor niggle and one that I tend to have with a lot of games, I like meaty sounds for my guns and I want to feel I'm holding something capable of mass destruction in my hand.
The rest of the audio is a good mix of ambient sound effects, screams and cries of pain from tangos and buddies alike.
System Link, Split-Screen and LIVE are all on offer with this latest instalment as the developers have finally realised that people like to play co-operatively as well, you can also take on missions with a buddy on the same Xbox which is a godsend for those casual team-gamers.
The biggest advance is that this instalment comes with Live 3.0 and upgrades any previous version of Live you have.
A quick rundown of the game's Seven MP modes are as follows:
- Practice Mission: Single Player missions played with friends.
- Terrorist Hunt: Hunt randomly placed tangos throughout the map with friends.
- Survival: Last man standing, play against friends, the last player alive wins.
- Team Survival: Two teams battle out for supremacy, the last team standing wins.
- Total Conquest: Control all of the COMSATs simultaneously for a certain amount of user defined time, wins.
- Retrieval: Get the bio-hazard canister and take it back to your collection point, get a point, bit like capture the flag.
- Sharpshooter: It's basic deathmatch renamed, die, respawn, person with most kills wins.
Cooperative Modes support up to four players while the Adversarial game modes support up to sixteen, depending on your Internet connection you may not be able to support the full amount of players.
If you missed out on Rainbow Six Three for the Xbox or you want a more-rounded team-gamer package, perhaps you just like the stories from the Clancy Universe? You'll want to get this game, it's slick and has 10 new missions for you to play Single or Co-op with friends. The simplicity of the game compared to the PC version Raven Shield may put a lot of the hardened Tactical FPS fans off, but it's worth getting for a good solid blast.