Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow E3 2004 Hands-On Impressions

We glean additional details on Ubisoft's new Clancy shooter from the E3 show floor.


Though we already posted some extensive hands-on impressions of Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow prior to E3, we took the opportunity to visit the Ubisoft booth to get some additional details and some hands-on time with the single-player game. Black Arrow is not a true sequel to the original Rainbow Six 3; it uses the same graphics engine to deliver more of the same experience that made the original game such a big hit with Xbox fans.

Black Arrow's primary focus is on improving and expanding the multiplayer experience. The game will offer two new multiplayer modes (retrieval and total conquest), 14 multiplayer maps (four of which will carry over from the original RS6-3), and Xbox Live 3.0 functionality. There will be increased support for clans, including a clan logo editor, and clan Web pages that will keep stats. Tournaments for up to 128 clans will be possible with Black Arrow, and a new prematch interface will allow teams to talk strategy and plan out their attacks. Those who were upset at the imbalance of the .50 caliber rifle in the original game will also be pleased to learn that the weapon has been removed entirely from Black Arrow and replaced with a standard Dragunov sniper rifle.

We were able to try out one of the game's 10 single-player missions at the Ubisoft booth. In this particular mission, we were armed with M4 carbines while infiltrating a tank hangar. The mission started off with a scripted sequence where our squadmates were dropped off by a helicopter at the entrance of the objective. A couple of enemies attempting to fire on the chopper were gunned down immediately, after which we were able to enter the structure. The rest of the mission played out like most other Rainbow Six games--lots of rooms to clear and many enemies to take out along the way. In one room, we were able to fire on an explosive barrel, which set a few nearby terrorists on fire who then ran around screaming. As an example of the game's tweaked artificial intelligence, the remaining terrorist in the room fled, realizing he was suddenly outnumbered.

Aside from our hands-on time with the campaign, we learned that your top scores from single-player missions can be uploaded to the Xbox Live so you can compare with friends. A lone wolf mode has also been added, where you guide a solo counterterrorist operative through a map filled with enemies and hostages as a timer counts down. You're scored based on the amount of time you have left when the map is cleared, although you can gain back time by killing terrorists and rescuing civilians.

Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow is scheduled to ship this August for the Xbox. We'll have more information on the game as it becomes available.

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