Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 Review

Rainbow Six 3 is a squad-based tactical first-person shooter that puts you in charge of an elite team of commandos sent around the world to find, secure, and rescue people taken hostage. Should the kidnappers try to stop you, well then you have free reign to make use of your state of the art weaponry and extensive training to take them down for good.

Taking aim at terror.

If you’ve played Rainbow Six on the PC, then you’ll find that the game has been streamlined a bit to make it friendlier for console play. This is most evident in the pre-mission planning phase where you can now just listen to the mission briefing and then jump right into battle. You still have the option of changing the weapon loadouts for your men, but by default the game will make sure that you have what you need for the mission. Other than those who enjoy meticulously planning each mission, most gamers will appreciate how the streamlined pre-mission process gets them into the game faster.

Once in the mission you control the team leader of a four man squad. By default your squadmates will follow you though the mission, providing back-up and covering fire as needed. What sets Rainbow Six 3 apart from many other action games, though, is that you can also give commands to your squad. To give an order, you simply look at an object or location and then select the appropriate command from an onscreen pop-up menu. You can also give commands via the headset, but the menu is so easy to access that it is actually quicker to do so via the controller. Orders range from a simple “move to location” order to more complicated ones such as securing prisoners, defusing bombs, and room clearing. The last of these you’ll be using quite extensively as you move through indoor locations. When you reach a closed door you can order your team to toss a grenade or flashbang into the room and then go in firing. You also have the option of specifying that the order should not be carried out until you give the go command which allows you and your squad to assault a room through two doors at once.

For a tactical game, missions are surprisingly linear, and you’ll essentially move from one waypoint to the next while using a small onscreen minimap as your only guide. However, Rainbow Six 3 does not feel like a restrictive or linear game because it does an excellent job of keeping the tension high as you make your way through the levels. Part of this is due to the excellent level design that makes you constantly feel that enemies could be lurking anywhere, but a large part is due to the game’s realistic take on combat. First of all firefights can erupt very quickly seemingly out of nowhere and sometimes be over in a flash. You won’t have the luxury of always knowing where your enemy is firing from or time to think about a plan of attack. You also do not have the benefit of a large health meter and first aid power-ups in Rainbow Six 3, and so you can find yourself in trouble if you try to go charging around in the open with your gun blazing. Rainbow Six 3 is not as unforgiving as some of the other Tom Clancy games where one or two well-placed shots can take you down, but you’re still going to have to be pretty careful to keep yourself from getting shot. Finally, the game limits you to just three saves in the middle of a mission so you can’t save the game every time you manage to clear a room without getting yourself shot.