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Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 Xbox

Published by Ubi Soft Entertainment
Developed by Red Storm Entertainment
Released: Out Now
Price: £39.99

I think it's hard to over estimate the influence that the original Rainbow Six game had on games developers. Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six was the first real game where you couldn't simply go in all guns blazing and had to adopt a very cautious approach. Despite the difficulty though gamers loved it and it still remains a popular title to this day. In fact the prefix 'Tom Clancy's' has served a seal of approval on a wide range of tactical games with last year's Splinter Cell being a superb title. As the title suggests this is the third in the Rainbow Six series and the first in the series to arrive on Xbox.

Rainbow Six 3 puts you in the shoes of Ding Chavez, the top man at Rainbow. The game is set in the year 2007. America is caught in an embargo which has led to an oil crisis and to make matters worse American citizens have become a target for terrorist attacks. Venezuela, which has been providing the US with oil has also been targeted for terrorist attacks. It's a nightmare of a problem and it's up to Rainbow to sort out the mess whilst keeping civilian casualties to an absolute minimum. In all there are 14 single player missions (and a choice of 3 difficulty levels) and any mission that has been completed can be played again in the custom mission mode.

Rainbow Six 3 is slightly different from the previous Rainbow Six titles that were on the PC. You don't have any complicated pre-mission strategies to work out. In my opinion this is no bad thing and the game is the most accessible in the series and flows a lot more freely as a result. The developers have done a superb job in bringing the game to the Xbox. The controls are spot on and at no point did I ever feel the need for a keyboard and mouse. The game has more pace than the previous Tom Clancy titles on Xbox (Ghost Recon, Island Thunder and Splinter Cell) and I would say it's the most immersive Tom Clancy title to date. The enemy AI in the game is also very good and going in with an all guns (or which ever of the 30 included weapons you prefer) blazing approach will get you nowhere, which is the way it should be with a title such as this.

If you've followed the development of the game you'll know that the game is capable of receiving voice orders using either the Xbox Live headset or by buying the game with the included headset (there is also a version without a headset too). Some of you may have been worried about this, as this is a feature that whilst it's absolutely superb for hearing gamers, is redundant for deaf gamers. There is no need to worry though as orders can be given just as easy through a context sensitive menu. These orders are given via the directional pad and the whole process is quick and simple. You can also quickly give follow or regroup commands by pressing the black button. The current order is displayed onscreen so you'll know what your men are doing.

Ghost Recon and Island Thunder have been very successful on Xbox Live and Rainbow Six certainly looks like it's going to continue that trend with many thousands taking the game online after just going on sale in the US. Using the Xbox Live mode allows you to play through all of the games missions co-operatively with three other gamers, which is certainly an excellent inclusion. You can also play a variety of games such as sharpshooter and survival. There is additional content to download already, a map called Garage, and no doubt there will be more to follow. You have the usual quick match, optimatch and the ability to create a game and you can even block voice chat in your created games to even up the score if you're playing against hearing gamers. If you don't have Xbox Live then you can play system link games for 1-16 players.

When Ubi Soft released Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell last year everyone was impressed with the graphics, including us, and Rainbow Six 3 is certainly just as impressive. Both the night and thermal vision looks stunning and makes full use of the Xbox's graphical capabilities. The character models have been well done too. The best part of the game, graphically speaking, has to be the explosions which look magnificent and I was surprised to see that the framerate didn't suffer (it remains smooth throughout the whole of the game) when these explosions occur. The game features quite a few diverse locations and they are all pleasing to look at.

On the whole Rainbow Six 3 is a truly brilliant game and definitely one of the best on the Xbox. However, there are a few problems for deaf gamers. The cutscenes aren't subtitled but this isn't really a problem because the mission briefing is given in text and in truth it provides more detail than the cutscenes. Your onscreen map doesn't show the locations of your enemies which is realistic but this makes it more difficult for deaf gamers. Your men will warn you if an enemy is behind you but there are no subtitles for these warning and the first you'll know of it is when a bullet flies past you. As you can imagine this is going to increase the difficulty a little for deaf gamers. It isn't so much of a problem in the open spaces because you can switch to your thermal vision and use the scope on your weapon to spot enemies from a good distance away but when indoors this isn't such a viable precaution to take.

Thankfully you are able to save up to 3 times in a mission, so if you use these saves wisely you shouldn't ever lose too much progress. It's important to bear in mind that you can't quit a mission and resume progress at a later date. The three saves that you have (on recruit level) are only temporary place holders and will only remain available whilst you are in a mission. The mission briefings can be recalled but for some reason it takes you out of the mission and all your progress will be lost which is unfortunate, however you are warned of this beforehand. The tutorial is fully subtitled so you'll have no problem at all getting to grips with the controls. Any items that can be interacted with will cause an icon to appear in the lower middle of the screen when the crosshair is placed over them, which again is good to see.

Rainbow Six 3 may be more difficult for deaf gamers but it's far from impossible and if you appreciate tactical FPS games, even only a little, you'll simply be bowled over by just how polished and playable this game is. In fact aside from a few areas not being subtitled it's difficult to pick fault with the game. Left handed gamers will also be pleased to note that two southpaw (left handed) control schemes are also available where the the controls for the right and left analogue sticks are exchanged. How often do you see that in a game? In short then it will prove slightly more difficult for deaf gamers but it's still a superb title and if you are a fan of this genre then it is definitely recommended.

Overall Game Rating: 8.5/10
Rainbow Six 3 is definitely another Xbox classic and is recommended. We have lowered the mark because of the increased difficulty for deaf gamers but if you are a fan of the genre you simply must own this title.

Deaf Gamers comment:
There are a few problems and it would have been good if your companions comments about nearby enemies etc., could have been subtitled.