I confess, I completely missed Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3 when it was originally released on the Xbox and PC late last year. My friends all raved about it, magazines gushed over it, and it went straight up the charts … but I was too busy playing other games to give it the time of day. Fast forward six months and I finally have a chance to see what all the fuss was about. With my copy of the PlayStation 2 version in hand, I looked forward to seeing just how impressive this game really is.
Unfortunately, now that I’ve spent some time with this game and have seen what it has to offer, I have to say that I’m a little under whelmed. UbiSoft has delivered a solid tactical shooter with a number of impressive bells and whistles, but the game just feels dated, and fails to offer anything new or original.
You take control of Ding Chavez, the leader of an elite, international terrorist unit … who just happens to have the lamest name I’ve ever seen in a video game. Ding, along with his assortment of commandos (each with equally horrific names, like Dieter Weber and Louis Loiselle) are world’s best chances of thwarting all of the evil plans.
The Tom Clancy line of video games has a long tradition of providing interesting and intelligent stories that feature high stakes deals and some huge plot twists. For the most part Rainbow Six 3 delivers. It opens with terrorists attempting to disrupt oil distribution, using it as leverage against oil-dependant countries, but soon enough things go from bad to worse when all signs seem to point to chemical weapons.
Though there is a lot of story, it’s all pretty cut and dry; a lot of ground previous Tom Clancy games have already touched on. Unfortunately, a lot of the mission objectives feel like that, too. Early on most of the missions consist of you and your team rescuing hostages, finding evidence, and other bland objectives. It’s not until the very end that things start picking up, and you finally have tasks to complete that actually seem worth your time.
The game is presented in the first person-style, one where you actually see the gun, and the direction you’re aiming is the same direction you’re looking. You are able to switch between three different types of vision, including night vision, thermal goggles, and of course, your own unfiltered eyes. From the very start it’s pretty clear that you will have to use all of these visions in each level. The problems arise when you realize that the night vision is far too bright, and tends to make everything look hideous. Things aren’t much better on the thermal vision side, where you have to squint and hope what you’re looking at really is a warm body. I applaud the developers for giving us different ways of seeing the action, but like so much else in this game, it feels like it should have been tweaked a little more.
The good news is how easy it is to control your squad. While you are able to use the USB headset to bark orders at your team mates (similar to the way it’s used in SOCOM), most people will find it faster and easier to just use the control to give your group purpose. Thanks to a pop-up menu it’s easy to order your back-up around, control when they strike, and more. Though your squad doesn’t always do what it’s told to, that’s more a problem with the game’s flawed A.I. than a control issue.
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