Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 First Look

Ubisoft unveils the PlayStation 2 incarnation of its respected tactical shooter franchise.

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Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3
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The latest incarnation of Ubisoft's Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 franchise, which appeared on the PC and Xbox last year, is now headed for the PlayStation 2 and GameCube platforms. The game will be based on the Xbox version, which offered a unique experience that was quite different from its PC cousin. We recently had the chance to take a sneak peek at an early version of the PlayStation 2 game, which is slated to ship this March.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Xbox version of Rainbow Six 3, the game is the latest entry in the long-running tactical shooter franchise originally developed for the PC. However, the game is structured in such a way as to make it a perfect entry point for newcomers to the franchise. The introduction fills you in on the major points of interest, but basically, Rainbow Six is an international counterterrorist unit called in to various global hotspots to take out bad guys, rescue good guys, and defuse bombs. Essentially, we're talking real-life superheroes but without the tights and with a lot more stealth.

As for the game's content, Rainbow Six 3 on the PlayStation 2 will contain everything found in the Xbox version's single-player game, including voice command support, via the USB headset, that lets you issue orders to your squad. However, the game won't be a mere port of the Xbox game, thanks to some exclusive content that's being included to liven things up. While the single-player game will feature a new mission, the meat of the extras can be found in the multiplayer game, which features new maps and a new split-screen mode for co-op play. Ubi's Shanghai studio, which is quickly shaping up to be one of the hardest working crews in the industry as a result of its work on Rainbow Six 3 and Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, is currently ironing out the specifics of the multiplayer game. The multiplayer should offer three adversarial modes for roughly eight players. As of right now, the exact number of players is still being determined since development is still in progress. The gameplay is solid already and just needs some fine-tuning to get everything feeling right. The controls map out well to the PlayStation 2 pad and should complement the USB headset support nicely.

The game's graphics are looking quite sharp even in this early state. The environments are faithfully re-created, although some have been reworked to ensure smooth performance on the PS2. The character models haven't had to have as much work done and manage to look comparable to those found in the Xbox game. The lighting has been re-created surprisingly well on the PS2. The only rough edges in the presentation right now involve the clarity of some textures and an apparently inconsistent frame rate. However, the game's fundamentally looking good so far.

Audio in the game is coming together well and should offer an immersive mix of voice, ambient noise, and weapons fire. Sound has been one of the important elements of the Rainbow Six games, and Rainbow Six 3 seems poised to maintain this tradition. While there were a few placeholder bits that we heard, overall the audio seems to be headed in the right direction.

From what we've seen so far, Rainbow Six 3 is shaping up to be a promising PlayStation 2 game. The game looks good, plays well, and presents a decent amount of extras that should easily entice players. While a GameCube game is also expected to come out down the line, specific details on it are a bit sketchy. We expect there'll be some cuts made to the game, such as the voice command functionality, unless some new peripherals are announced for the system, which is rather unlikely. Rainbow Six 3 is currently slated to ship this spring for the PlayStation 2. Look for more on both games in the coming months. For an exclusive interview on the game, click here.

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