Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow
As one of the many denizens of Xbox Live, you can be sure that I've played
my fair share of Rainbow Six 3. Well, I've actually played my share, my neighbor's
share, and my cat's share, too. Like many, I was impressed by the changes that
Ubisoft made in making the game more user friendly to console gamers. Gone were
the extensive pre-mission planning areas, the weapon selection, and the first-person
previews. Instead, you were simply given an objective, dropped into the level,
and left to your own devices. Take your time and play it safe, or run through
the level with guns a-blazin'.
Needless to say, I was excited to get a look at Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow.
In some ways, Black Arrow can be thought of as an expansion pack. Nearly all
of the content is new, but most of the underlying technology is the same as
was used in the previous title. You can still issue orders to your team using
both the controller and the Xbox Live headset, and the always helpful Zulu codes
are still in place. The developers have added a split-screen co-op mode, allowing
players to team up with an offline buddy to vanquish the bad guys. There are
10 new single-player missions, as well as 14 new multiplayer maps, more than
enough to keep aspiring counterterrorists busy for months.
As in the previous titles, you control Ding Chavez, leader of the world's greatest
anti-terror team, man about town, and lifetime member of the NRA. A group of
terrorists from the former Soviet Union have decided that they want to restore
the USSR to its previous glory, and they figure that the only way to do that
is to start a war. Not just any war, mind you, but a multi-national battle between
the states surrounding the Black Sea. Once the smoke clears, the Soviets will
sweep in and take over the oil rich countries. Starting a war isn't the easiest
thing in the world to do, so the baddies kidnap a group of rocket scientists
in an effort to obtain their devastating technologies.
While the single-player game looks like fun ( I was only shown half of a level),
the multiplayer is what will really make the game great. Thanks to the new Xbox
Live 3.0 technology, players will be able to create eight member clans and set
up multiplayer tournaments. It's these tournaments that made the PC versions
a worldwide phenomenon, and Ubisoft is banking on the fact that most Xbox Live
players feel like they are missing out on the fun. All of the clan information
(as well as the tourney specifics) are centrally located on Microsoft's Xbox
Live servers, making it easy to access and update. Players will even be able
to leave voicemail-style messages in the inboxes of their teammates.
Unfortunately, in the build I saw, many of the animation and A.I. problems that
were noticeable in the first game were still present. Bad guys don't always
react when they see (or hear) you, and your own virtual teammates have a tendency
to get stuck on the scenery. While this can be a definite pain in the neck,
it happened rarely enough that it can almost be forgiven. The producer that
I spoke with said that they were still trying to iron out some of these bugs,
and were working hard to make the animation smoother. If they succeed, Rainbow
Six 3 is sure to be back on top of the Xbox Live charts.
All in all, Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow is shaping up to be another great title
in the Ubisoft/Tom Clancy canon. The addition of clans and tournaments is sure
to enhance an already excellent multiplayer experience. It looks like I'll be
spending a lot more time on Live.
Standalone expansion to Ubisoft's Xbox Live tactical shooter, Rainbow Six 3.
A series of attempts to kidnap telemetry and rocket scientists pulls Team Rainbow
into a spider web of international intrigue. An international cabal of renegade
military officers is trying to create a war in the oil-rich regions around the
Black Sea, giving them an excuse to swoop in and seize control. Team Rainbow
must stop the terrorists from developing weapons of mass destruction and prevent
them from starting a devastating war. The game features a new single-player
campaign, new weapons and equipment, Capture the Point and Capture the Flag
online multiplayer modes, as well as advance Xbox Live functionality like user-created
tournaments, messaging, and clan statistics.
Publisher: UBI SOFT
Category: Action Adventure
System Requirements: Xbox video game system; Xbox compatible controller, Xbox
compatible memory card for saves; Xbox Live for Online play