Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield
Tactical shooters, those are the games… getting killed by one shot and having no idea where it came from, guns that are so realistic you can hardly aim with them and friendly AI (the few men following the leader) that are actually spies from the evil world-threatening opponents we fight: they make sure you get agitated, they block your way, they do not hear gunfire and it’s an universal law that they always have their backs turned on an enemy.
That’s pretty much how I felt about tactical shooters for quite some time, over time I tried some and had to admit it was not my cup of tea. After a few games I got so frustrated by my “team” mates I finished them all off with a single bullet between the eyes in the beginning of the mission so I could finish it on my own.
You can get the gamer out of Quake, but you can’t get Quake out of the gamer.
I’ve heard a lot about the Rainbow Six series, but I never tried one, so Raven Shield is my first taste of this series… and it tasted sweet.
No aliens or zombies to fight here, just good old plain terrorists. The single player consists of the casual hostage rescue, bomb defusing or just killing terrorists. Concerning the backgrounds no real surprises, the obligatory airport, factories, huge villa etc.
What struck me the most is the possibility to plan all the actions before you start the mission. You get a nice planning room where you can set waypoints for your teams. Maximum teams are 2 teams consisting of 4 members each and a team with a solo-sniper. Planning the entire operation is no walk in the park, adding way points, placing throw points for grenades, pointing out where they have to wait for a “Go” code and so on. I found it to be frustrating to plan everything, checking the “3D window” inside the map to see if your teams are facing the right angle, going through observer mode first to check if they don’t go too far behind a corner and so on.
I played most missions without a plan and with just one team, however 7 missions later and having only 2 members left of my assault team, I had to use the “back-up assault” team members. I felt something was wrong when I lost 3 people on a mission where I had to save 2 hostages. In order to fully enjoy the game you’ll have to do more planning and certainly more interaction between two teams, but I’m guessing that Rainbow veterans have no problems with that area.
Luckily you can use the plans the developers made and they’re just fine. There was one mission that bugged me, saving hostages that were in a big room, to do it right you should have two teams bursting in through separate doors while each takes a terrorist out. I always took one out while the other killed a hostage thus resulting in a failed mission. In the end I ordered my two team members (another one died along the way) to go through one door and I went through the other door, worked like a charm.
As for the graphics I can be short, this game looks really great, the grenade effects and especially the tear gas effect is very cool, everything turns into a psychedelic blur and the world record coughing gets broken. The detail on the models is very good, the only weird thing is the positioning of the dead bodies, however since I’ve never killed a terrorist in real life and never saw in what kind of position his body fell I can’t really know if it’s realistic or not.
The gameplay is excellent, the friendly AI hardly bothered me, they have great aim and they give great back cover. However, if this is the first time you play such a game as I did, you might need some time to learn to appreciate it. I know I did, but eventually I kept on playing and I sympathise deeply with the 15 or so families that lost a caring father, man or son under my watch.
The multiplayer on the other hand was not my cup of tea, I get frustrated when I’m killed with one bullet and have to wait to play again, when I finally get back in I’m so pumped up with adrenaline because of that |@# camper with his |@# sniper I run out to teach him a lesson to get shot down by another player behind some |@# crates.
You’ll love it if you’re into that, I’m a real man though, I need rocket launchers I can use to make me jump higher and stuff like that.
In conclusion, if you are into these games, buy it, you won’t regret it. There is always the demo to check out first which I would recommend to players that never played this sort of game. I’m pretty sure everybody will love the single player, but the multi player is a bit too tactical for me to enjoy.