With a rather dry spell of Live games for the online play for Xbox, leading up to the busy Christmas period we certainly can’t complain with the choices that have been presented us other than can we afford all the great titles for the online play there are.
This is still a pleasurable position to be in though but it does make it more difficult for games to stand out above the rest with so much choice, so can Rainbow Six 3 do just that?
Before we get into the online play let’s sit down and review the offline play as still there are many people who haven’t realised how good Xbox Live is.
You have a great choice with this game. If you have the official headset or pay a bit more for the game and get a specially designed headset for the game you can actually give orders to your computer controller fellow soldiers. This may seem just something that’s been thrown in for novelty value, but before you jump to that conclusion let me just say this. It works very well! OK it might not understand you 100% of the time but this really does save you the hassle of going through an interface every time you want them to open a door and stick a flash grenade in to blind the enemy. Another way in which the headset is utilised is the ability to receive all your commands through the earpiece rather then blasting through the main speakers where it is likely you could miss some very vital information. Don’t forget you also get the 2 month free trial of Xbox Live so if you have broadband make sure you give the online play a go when you feel confident enough with your skills.
Graphically the game is full of the very familiar Splinter Cell tricks like the awesome shadows and light sources which really do add atmosphere, although this could have been used more in the game and only seems highlighter in the odd area. The draping material hanging from above also moves brilliantly even when shooting the material it reacts convincingly realistic. In fact I have known and seen players messing about shooting the material in an online game not realizing he is giving away his position only to find he ends up with a bullet right in his head for the efforts, but it just illustrates this nice little Xbox trickery.
All the environments are visually impressive but lacking some refinery in the old texture area of which I am always pointing out in games recently, what can I say I like nice textures that are rich and vibrant. They are good enough to add to the realism and style but just being cranked up a little more and it would have made a difference, but still I am really just nit picking.
The game unlike other titles such as Ghost Recon which concentrates on large areas, Rainbow Six 3 is a lot more close combat. There is a sniper rifle in the game, but there are very few levels where you can position yourself and sit waiting for your prey to come waltzing through the door. It is better to have something that has a good zoom and great damage level as doors are really a large thing in this game.
Doors, doors and more doors litter the areas making counter attacks, enemy coming from all angles and of course the thought of someone shooting you in the back is actually quite an eerie thought as you try and cover your team mates.
The Artificial Intelligence of both your team mates and the enemy are just superb. Ducking behind objects, peeking out to shoot you in the head or even running off to fight another day only to find the little beggar has thrown a grenade and there you are all huddled up together in a small space with your colleagues only to leap high in the air with the blast.
The areas are also very varied ranging from office buildings, sewers, little towns and all manner of location. This really does add the needed mixture in a game like this where similar games like Ghost Recon maybe lacked the variety which made us all keep moaning we needed more content.
Like Ghost Recon though movement is pretty slow and if someone does come from behind don’t expect to turn around in time to save yourself. Although adjustments can be made the tightness of movement is needed as you creep around the areas hoping you’re not spotted. Although a frantic fighting game stealth is the key and just running blindly into rooms will not give you the desired result unless you like your body to be something resembling an old jumper, full of holes that is.
Let’s not forget the important vision modes though. Whack thermal on and you may just spot someone waiting to get you through a door. This is nice as now you can throw a grenade and enjoy the fact that he doesn’t think he has been spotted. Detecting the heat from people is great and visually impressive, but it will also pick up other heat detectable objects like fires, lights and other little bits and bobs so be careful you’re not firing at a large container that is on fire.
The other vision mode is of course the trusty night vision and even in daylight in some slightly eeirly lit areas this does come in use. It is always a good idea to play around with both of these modes to find out which situations they come in most useful.
Ghost Recon stand aside, a new online title has taken your crown. Many hours of fun for most people and if you have Live you can eagerly await a frantic and satisfying experience. Just watch your back.