Rainbow Six 3 takes place in 2007, when the United Stated is caught in the middle of a deadly global conflict. Terrorists are striking American targets, while the country suffers from a devastating oil embargo. In this unstable situation, even greater acts of terror are in the planning stages while an intensifying cycle of death and destruction seems unstoppable. To combat these difficulties, the United Nations have called on their top-secret Rainbow organization. These are an elite group of international commandos have been deployed to neutralize the terror threat. Each 4-member Rainbow team consists of the best operatives with the best technology the United Nations has. Their top-secret mission is to neutralize the terrorists by any means necessary. As Ding Chavez, you lead a group of four commandos on a series of 14 missions that take you to hotspots worldwide. Before each mission begins, you are given a quick briefing that explains the objectives and goals that your team has to accomplish. After you've been briefed, you equip your team's weapons and tools. Each mission has a different set of objectives and you have to make sure you have the right weapons to complete the mission objectives. To begin, each team member is given night-vision and heat-source goggles as standard equipment. Aside from this, you can select from approximately 30 different weapons including sniper rifles, frag and smoke grenades, pistols, and flamethrowers. Players can also equip their team with laser-sighted rifles, grenade launchers, heavy and submachine guns, sniper rifles to name a few. Within these main weapons groups, there are variations on these that include sights, thermal-vision, and noise suppressors. Different weapons within each class provide varying levels of accuracy and firepower. Additional tools at your disposal include mines, breaching and remote charges. The Rainbow team can also use a variety of tools such as gas masks, tear gas grenades and special White Phosphorous Grenades. There's quite an arsenal at your disposal and each weapon is authentic and operates just as they would in real life with realistic recoil and reload times. Each weapon has a limited amount of ammo, and players will have to reload their weapons when they run out of rounds.
As the team's leader, you can command the other three Rainbows to perform a variety of tasks as you try to infiltrate and destroy the terrorist cells. They follow your lead and you can command them to go ahead of you, regroup to your position if they fall behind, clear out an enemy sniper and cover you as you move forward. Once you reach a doorway, you can either lead the way inside, or command your team to go ahead. You can command them to send to clear out a room, frag and clear, or scan the area for snipers. Team members usually follow commands automatically and perform tasks as soon as you give the orders. You can also issue what are called Zulu commands. Zulu positions the team to perform a task, but they'll do so only once you've given them the go-ahead with a Zulu code. This allows you to perform another task and stay out of their way of explosives or enemy fire. In addition to combat, many missions also include non-violent tasks such as rescuing hostages. You can command the team to secure the hostages while you take out the terrorists. The game's command interface is remarkably intuitive and transparent. During each mission, you can command your team in using either an onscreen map or by shouting commands into the Xbox communicator headset. The command HUD appears on the screen quickly and players simply push the d-pad to select a command, and then press the Z button to implement it. The system is remarkably easy to understand, for example, you need only move your crosshairs over a doorway, then pull up the HUD, and the team will automatically breach the gap and clear out enemies. Using the headset is even easier - shouting "GO" makes your team to perform default commands without any additional commands. This is a much simpler system than previous RS titles, yet still offers plenty of flexibility and gives players a dynamic command system.
The missions themselves are structured logically with intelligently designed maps that require you to complete multiple objectives before successful finishing each level. You usually have to kill multiple enemy "Tangos", clear out snipers, recover several hostages and more. However, you have to be careful not to alert the enemy to your presence. There are several ways to tip them off - they can see you outright, hear you sneaking across the ground. More subtly, they can see your shadows but the easiest way to be detected is to fire your weapons recklessly. This will cause an immediate response from nearby Tangos. Each environment is rather large with multiple rooms and areas. Finding the best path through to meet the least resistance is the key strategy behind the game. Players will find multiple buildings, and inside, multiple doorways. It's important to proceed carefully and with precision, since rushing in will usually lead to an ambush. However, carefully surveying each environment and knocking off snipers before they see you makes it much easier to get from room to room without taking damage. Most of the game is an exercise in stealth, where you have to get enemies before they're alerted to your presence, but there are several areas that are all-out battles with multiple foes at once. While RS3's early missions are relatively easy, later levels are more difficult with snipers and foes pouring out of what seems like every crevice. You may have to play the missions out several times so you can anticipate where the enemies are ahead of time. If you get lost, you can always call up the handy map feature, which helps point you in the right direction.
Rainbow Six 3's challenging single player missions are quite intense, and will require a great deal of skill and strategy to complete. However, RS3 includes an extensive online mode that allows up to 16 players to compete simultaneously. Up to four players can play on each team and can compete in a variety of adversarial and team based game modes. In cooperative mode, you can play the single player missions with other players online, hunt down terrorists in team mode. Survival mode is basically a single player deathmatch and there are also Team Survival modes and a Sharpshooter mode where the team with the most kills wins. These modes are exciting and intense with levels from both the main game and online maps used to make large combat zones. Connecting to the service using Xbox Live is a snap and the service allows you to either set up and host a game or join an ongoing game right away. You can also set parameters to your preferences and compete against other players in an Optimatch. The Xbox Live service allows you to chat with friends, see your ranking against other players and more. Playing online was seamless and the game suffered from little lag, as expected.
From a visual standpoint, this is a breathtaking technical achievement that showcases the Xbox console's raw processing power in a way few other games have. Rainbow Six 3's environments are photo-realistic and include both indoor and outdoor locales. Even the smallest objects such as crates and scattered papers seem authentic, with detailed texture mapping evident throughout. The level of detail in RS3 is astounding and the game's overall look equals the high-quality polish seen in Splinter Cell. Each level uses dynamic light sourcing with lifelike shadows and dynamic environmental effects such as rain and sunlight to create a photo-realistic world that's absolutely convincing. As you'd expect, the weapons look absolutely authentic in your hands and seem to act as a real weapon would as well. Another key feature of the game are the night-vision and thermal viewpoints which look stunning while helping you find hidden enemies. Rainbow Six 3. The animation of the game is superb, with outstanding character movements and realistic reactions by your teammates adding to the game's immersion. RS3's audio is excellent as well, with great voice-over acting adding tension and drama to the plot. Adding to the game's polish, elaborate and beautiful cinematic cut scenes enhance its flawless production values. The visual quality evident throughout this installment represents a huge leap forward for the series. Its attention to detail makes Rainbow Six 3 the most realistic-looking military simulation on the market.
While many gamers worried that the Xbox version would dumb-down the series, the streamlined interface and simpler command structure make this the best playing Rainbow Six to date. Losing the tedious pre-mission mapping sequences might be seen as evidence of this, but the reduction in tedium allows players to jump right into the action. While action is given more prominence, the series' attention-to-detail remains evident in the detailed back-story, mission briefings and real-world tactics. The missions require a great deal of on-foot planning and require patience and skill to defeat, so this is far from a mindless shooter. The single player missions are intense, but the addition of multiplayer cooperative and competitive online play adds a lot of depth and excitement to the series. From a visual standpoint, Rainbow Six 3 is unmatched and creates a stunningly realistic world few other titles can match. It's definitely one of the best-looking Xbox titles to date, and equals last year's Splinter Cell in terms of pure beauty and polish. In terms of play-balance, the game is sophisticated, yet doesn't bore players with dry, dull gameplay. There's more action in this installment, but the game still offers plenty of depth and challenge. It is not a purist simulation, but there's more than enough realism to satisfy most players need for authenticity. Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 is yet another technically brilliant title from developers at Red Storm, following in the wake of the brilliant Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell over the past year. This is easily the best team combat title on the market for the Xbox, making it a must-purchase for all fans of the genre.