Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3 Review

UGH…I have to play another first person shooter on a console?  Gimme’ a break! 

Those were my thoughts when I saw that Rainbow Six 3 was in my review queue.  I’m a firm believer that FPS games should be exclusive to the PC.  The amount of control granted to the player by a mouse is leaps and bounds ahead of any analog stick.  I wasn’t totally bummed though.  I have been a fan of the Rainbow Six series since it’s inception but I had never played it for the console.  I was curious to see what, if anything, I was missing.  Here’s what I found.

Although I wasn’t completely overwhelmed with awe by the graphical presentation of Rainbow Six 3, there were a few things that impressed me.  Overall the graphics for the game were fairly average.  Almost all of the missions are completely indoors.  Each of the locales looks unique and makes you feel like you are actually in that type of setting.  Sometimes games like this will use recycled rooms or objects that can make any place you go feel like the same building.  Not so here.  [watch your verb tenses]

Character modeling is just so-so.  Polygons are evident and animation is a little choppy.  Although the weapon effects don’t break any new ground, they are fairly good. Tracers, fiery explosions and smoke trails look like they should.  Night vision goggles really light up the room and become useless when in a room with a bright light.  Thermal vision works well, and is very useful to see enemies through doors and thin objects.  It looks just like it should and lights up hot pipes or steam for a neat effect.

There are quite a few full motion video sequences in the game.  The “camera work” is movie like, but the animation and modeling is, again, fairly average. 

The music for the game is pretty good!  It’s about what you’d expect from a Tom Clancy movie, an orchestral score that is mood setting and patriotic.  You don’t get to hear it much though, as there is no in-game music to speak of. 

Sound effects for the game consist of the expected gunfire, grenade bursts, and rocket whooshes.  Each of the different firearms has its own distinct sound.  If you played long enough I’m positive you could identify any weapon an enemy may be using to fire on you.  I can’t tell you whether they sound like their real life counterparts due to a lack of personal experience but I will say I wouldn’t be surprised if the sounds were extremely close.  Radio chatter from your squad mates is also a pleasant audio surprise.  If you are getting tagged they will remind you to get the heck out of there or to take revenge on the shooter.  If you take an enemy down at a decent range they will praise your skill.  The enemy will also shout at you and to their buddies (in vain) as firefights progress.

Obviously this is the major problem I have with FPS games on consoles.  Surprisingly though, I actually became very comfortable with the controls for Rainbow Six 3.  The basic controls consist of the left analog stick for movement, the right stick for aiming, X for action/squad command, triangle for vision mode toggle and R1 to fire weapon.  Some of the other buttons control weapon switching, advanced squad control, body stance, zoom etc.  The layout worked extremely well considering I always feel awkward using a Dual-Shock with an FPS game.  The controls were extremely easy to learn and felt very naturally in the right place.  Everything responded quickly and was surprisingly accommodating.

The basic premise of the game is to infiltrate an enemy-occupied building, save any hostages, defuse any bombs and wipe out all opposition.   This is repeated for every mission of the game with little variation.  This turns out to be not such a bad thing however as I found myself always wanting to just “give the next mission a shot.”  There is an overlying plot that drives the missions and it is fairly entertaining.  But let’s get to the real meat of the game.

Your team is a super secret UN anti-terrorist unit.  You are the commander of a squad of two to four men infiltrating an enemy-seized holdout.  Each mission begins with you taking control, just after insertion, into the mission zone.

You have quite a few commands available to you to operate your squad.  They will follow you or stop and cover for you at the press of a button.  Another button press will order them to go to whatever point you are aiming at.  There are also commands that allow you to order your team to open a door, frag or flash and clear the room.  You can tell them to wait for your Zulu GO command so you can burst into a room simultaneously from different entrances. 

Your squad mates are no dummies either.  If you send them ahead into the fray they will find cover behind anything nearby all while firing at the enemy.  The enemy AI is also pretty good.  If they see you they will react quickly, whether that is run away, go for cover or toss a grenade and run.  If you do manage to lose a squad mate you’ll have a real rough time at finishing the mission.  Storming into a room solo is not advisable and usually gets you a quick six feet of soil.  Your squad is very helpful at taking out targets and/or covering your tushy, AND for providing extra targets for the enemy.

The missions aren’t too long or too short.  You won’t get lost as there’s usually only one way to go (although a map would have been nice).  The game balancing was done very well.  This shooter was a lot of fun!

I’m not sure Rainbow Six 3 for the PS2 is a $50 title as a single player game.  Although I didn’t play online, I am more than convinced that it is a blast.  The graphics feel fairly dated and the game feels like it could use one more coat of polish.  At its core, however, is a decent tactical squad based FPS.  There are 3 difficulty levels to keep you coming back, but not much more in the realm of replay value except the online multiplay.

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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