Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield Review
Despite its minor flaws, Raven Shield is still a very impressive addition to the series and a very worthy heir to the Rainbow Six name.
Since its debut in 1998, the Rainbow Six series has been an outstanding example of how exciting sophisticated tactical shooters can be, thanks to its challenging "one-shot kill" gameplay and complex mission planning. And even though the tactical shooter subgenre has become even better thanks to great games like SWAT 3 and Operation Flashpoint, fans still eagerly look to each new Rainbow Six installment to see what the series has in store next. While Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield does little to push the tactical shooter genre forward, it's still an exciting entry in the series.
Just like the previous Rainbow Six games, Raven Shield lets you lead a group of elite international counterterrorists known as Rainbow. These guys are equipped with high-tech gear and high-powered firearms and are itching for an opportunity to shout, "Tango down!" In Raven Shield, you'll help the Rainbow operatives on a mission with a rather forgettable plot that involves a James Bond-style madman and Nazi loot from World War II. In fact, as you play the rather short single-player campaign, you'll find that storytelling isn't one of Raven Shield's strong suits. You'll receive clear text and audio mission briefings and see a few well-directed but brief cutscenes, but these sequences don't quite create a strong sense of drama or immersion. Rather, the storytelling feels like merely a flimsy framework to hang the tactical combat on.
Also, the mission goals sometimes tend to blur together into a repetitive string of "Kill the terrorists and rescue the hostages." This sometimes makes the Rainbow team seem like a regular SWAT team instead of a truly elite international organization. And unlike the classic SWAT 3, Raven Shield rarely creates any real emotional connection with the hostages. In many cases, they'll essentially be a mission goal, similar to the hostages in the extremely popular Counter-Strike--you won't even see them until the very end of a mission.
Still, whatever their flaws, Raven Shield's missions provide lots of intense tactical action. Each map is filled with lots of cover and sniping spots, as well as a seemingly endless number of places where you could be ambushed or caught in a brutal crossfire. In the first mission, for instance, you make your way through a Venezuelan oil refinery at night, creeping around railroad cars outside and then wending your way through a maze of heavy machinery and catwalks inside. Later, you'll shoot your way through an airport in the Cayman Islands, battle in the streets of Brazil, and cleanse a London bank of terrorists. Overall, the missions provide really diverse and interesting settings, though a few missions reuse the same maps, merely changing the basic goals or switching from daylight to a night setting.
With so much happening tactically in each mission, preparation and planning are vital. After a mission briefing, you select up to eight operatives to take part in the coming mission. You'll get to fill out up to three sub-teams, choosing from specialists in assault, sniping, demolition, and so forth. Each operative is also rated in observation, leadership, and other general skills, and these stats will rise over the course of the game, particularly if an operative takes part in and survives a mission.
After you've chosen your team, you get to equip your operatives individually. Real-world weapon buffs will love this part of Raven Shield, as the game's extensive arsenal includes assault rifles, shotguns, sniper rifles, and more. Experimenting with all the different weapon capabilities, ammo types, and optional attachments is almost like a minigame in itself. Along with the firearms, you can equip your troops with breaching charges, flash-bang grenades, tear-gas grenades, and other special weapons and tools. In addition, you can choose from a wide variety of different uniform camouflage schemes and body armor types.
Once you've outfitted the operatives, you head to Raven Shield's planning room. This is the trademark feature that helped put the Rainbow Six series on the map, but it's also the one that's caused players a lot of grief because of its complexity. Here you'll see a schematic map of the mission area, along with a 3D view window of the area currently selected on the map. During a mission, you can only directly control one operative at a time and only give simple orders to your currently selected team. So, you'll need to set up a complex string of waypoints for each team on the planning map to ensure that all your operatives know what to do on their own. You'll choose from available insertion points, set rules of engagement, and assign special actions for particular junctures, like throwing a smoke grenade to cover an assault.
- Player Reviews: 67
- Game Universe:
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six (DC, GBC, N64, PS, PC),
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon (XBOX, PC, GC, PS2, MAC, NGE),
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 (XBOX, PS2, GC, MOBILE),
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear (PC, PS, DC, PS2, GBA, MAC),
- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell (XBOX, PC, PS2, GC, GBA, NGE, MOBILE, MAC, PS3),
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Island Thunder (PC, XBOX, PS2),
- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow (PC, XBOX, PS2, GC, GBA, MOBILE, PS3),
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm (PS2, NGE, MOBILE),
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2 (PS2, XBOX, GC, PC),
- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory (PC, XBOX, NGE, PS2, GC, DS, 3DS)
- Online Modes:
- Number of Players: