[floatleft]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/rb63/cover.jpg[/floatleft]Squad based action takes another crack at console gaming. While many of the PC gamers are already familiar with the squad based shooters, there still remain console gamers that are just now getting their feet wet. The Rainbow Six Series has a brilliant past. With the release of each game Red Storm has been able to improve enemy and squad AI, making for a realistic gaming experience through and through. Comparisons with the Rainbow Six Raven Shield game will, of course, be made as Rainbow Six 3 is obviously based on its PC brother. Red Storm may have had a new demographic in mind when developing for a console. What we got is a more action packed, though less strategic, yet just as fun squad based action game.
[heading]Ding Chavez, the man, the myth, the legend, the gameplay![/heading]
Ding is back, however, in a new light. Instead of being one of an elite team, Ding is the main character. You, of course, play as Ding as you lead a team through each level. You have your mission objectives which are given to you in the briefing that happens before each mission. They cover the full gamut of rescuing hostages, securing an area, deactivating bombs, and some stealth is mixed in there as well. RB63 shines with its gameplay. Of course, you must keep your team and yourself alive and well while engaging through the tough missions. The developers have given you some nifty tricks in which to do so.
First off you get a map that is extremely informative. The map will show if an area is safe or not with a designated shade of gray. This helps you plan your incursions with proficient ease as you order your team to breach room after room. You can also set up more complicated orders and send your team into a room while you breach another entrance at the same time via the Zulu commands. Each Zulu command will have your team perform an action when given the command. This allows you to position yourself for a perfect incursion to a hot zone. The Zulu command is an extremely beneficial feature.
How do you command a team of three with the press of a button? Raven shield introduced an excellent technique and Rainbow Six 3 puts it to use. You will be given team icons when looking at certain objects. Should you, as lead, want your team to breach a room and clear it, you would look at a door and the “open and clear” icon would appear. A simple press of the button activates the action and your team does as ordered. You can order your team to position itself in the distance, climb ladders, deactivate bombs, gather in position, and hold position, among many other useful techniques. Commanding a team has never been so easy. Of course you must know what you are doing. Sending your team to a distant location may have them walk into heavy resistance and before you know it you have a man down, or even worse all of them. You can use the Xbox Live headsets to give the same commands to your troops as you would with the icons. While this is a great feature, you can imagine there are some flaws. I don’t know how some commands get picked up but often my team will breach a door when I did not issue the command. Still it is a neat feature bringing you into the game and immersing you into your role further.
[floatright]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/rb63/ss02_thumb.jpg[/floatright]Not only do you have great command of your squad but you have excellent control over your character. Moving Ding along is a breeze. While you can order your team around you may also defuse bombs, secure hostages, and the like. Most important you can slowly creek open doors to take a peek inside. Doing so and dropping in a well placed flash grenade can be the difference in most successful missions. You move about smoothly and of course can adjust how your controls move along the X and Y axis with the menu buttons. With the adjustments made you can turn around faster and aim slower. It’s up to you. Regardless, you will have no trouble getting Ding from point A to point B, all the while putting a .50 Cal in a terrorist.
[heading]Where did my customization go?[/heading]
This is where the obvious toning down of Rainbow Six happened. In previous PC incarnations you can customize everything about your team. You could place team members in different squads and assign them each weapons, sub weapons, ammo, and armor. Rainbow Six 3 for the Xbox lacks all these features. You cannot control what guns your team members have or their armor. For a customization fan like myself I was very disappointed in the lack of options and equipment. In the past I had become accustomed to taking a weapon slot to add a silencer, or carry extra ammo, none of this is to be found in Rainbow Six 3. Perhaps they thought that people were anxious to get to killing and did not want to spend that much time setting up. Who knows?
[heading]Repetition, repetition, repetition[/heading]
The levels are quite remarkable graphically and model wise.. Taking you from closed quarter offices buildings and houses to Alcatraz (my favorite), the levels in RB63 are a sight to behold and the ambiance sound and gunfire will bring you into the environment. The levels will make sure to test your skills in leadership as well as survival. The missions do however have an annoying knack of becoming predictable and repetitive. As you play each mission you will know exactly when and where bad guys will pop in at. Gone are the days of terrorists that just patrol and react to gunfire, now they are just triggered events. While first playing the levels it’s great, but you will know that when you defuse the bomb two guys will come around that corner. You will be waiting to put two in the chest and one in the head.
Squad based action shines in multiplayer. You can tackle missions with three of your friends or PVP with up to 16. All connected via live and a headset, RB63 is an extreme experience. I usually take point man and issue out strategy to my friends. The fun in breaching a room is endless, and your heart will pound as you try to stay alive. Of course there are many game modes including terrorist hunts where you try to neutralize all the terrorists, as well as a few PVP modes. Survival games are fun where you play against the other players. Team Survival is the best as you use your squad based strategies against actual players. So far I have been lucky enough to not run into Online Gamer and his crap PVP tactics, however the game is only a week or so old. Give him time and Online Gamer will know the kinks in the maps and where the best places to snipe you are.
[heading]Lock and load.[/heading]
Rainbow Six 3’s faults are outweighed by all the things it does right. The AI for both bad guys and your squad is dead on. Watching your team clear a room is a sight to behold. Graphics, sound, and most everything is extremely well done. The game play is a standard of first person squad based shooters and yes. Red Storm has once again outdone themselves. For those with Live, the gaming experience is just that much better. Rainbow Six 3 is well worth the price, and already a Snackbar Favorite. Go out and add it to your Xbox library.