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Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow Review

Developer: Ubisoft Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: August 4, 2004 Also On: None

The 2003 release of Rainbow Six 3 on the Xbox marked this strategic shooter’s first appearance on the next-gen consoles. At the time it was released, Rainbow Six 3 was the most popular Xbox Live game, played on a global scale. The single player offers some challenging, yet fun gameplay. Black Arrow is considered to be the expansion pack to the popular shooter. Does it top the charts or is it just a ploy for Ubi Soft to make more money?

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Basically, the game looks exactly the same as it did before. You would expect to see some graphical upgrades, but this is sadly missing. While Rainbow Six is good visually, there are some things that could have been fixed. While the opposition in the amazing cutscenes look great, through actual gameplay, they folly. Every terrorist looks identical to one another, just with different clothing. This, on top of them not being very detailed, is perplexing to me, especially for a Xbox game. A few tweaks to this would have been quite nice. Lighting and shadow effects are still grade A, second to only a few games: Splinter Cell, Halo 2, and The Suffering.

The sound is again very nice in Black Arrow. There is some new music that is quite interesting and nice to listen to through the menu screens. Clark’s briefing is now broken down so that you can either read it easily or actually know what it is you are going in to do. His voice blends perfectly for the narration of the mission. Guns sound more realistic than any other game. There are no forged weapon sounds made here. Red Storm captured the sounds by firing the real weapons. The use of voice command through the headset has become much more responsive, giving you that sense of command.

The difficulty of Black Arrow seems to have been toned down a bit from the original to create a better experience. While the higher difficulties are still very difficult, the lowest setting is quite easy for even the newcomers to the series. You still can’t come into rooms with guns blazing however, which adds a bit of strategy to the mix. The realistic kills would bring you down easily if you didn’t take cover in a firefight. This works to your advantage however, since you can bring someone down with 2-3 precisely aimed shots, one with a headshot. The new split screen mode allows you to go through the campaign and do terrorist hunt with a friend. This was lacking from the first Rainbow Six 3 (except the GCN and PS2 versions) and many are glad that it was added.

Xbox Live play is still the best of Rainbow Six 3. It plays much like Counter Strike and that is why so many people enjoy it. A few new gameplay modes were added, such as Total Conquest which plays like territories, and retrieval which plays much like CTF. This just adds to the already enjoyable experience. There are only 8 levels on the campaign to play, but the expansion was built for Xbox Live. Black Arrow is worth a rental, if you don’t have Live, but a must-buy for any avid XBL players.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 9.5
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 7.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 8.5
Final: 8.5
Written by Shawn Review Guide