Less than a year on from Rainbow Six 3, Rainbow Six 3 - Black Arrow sees you once again picking up where Domingo "Ding" Chavez, a longtime Tom Clancy character and the leader of the crack antiterrorist force Team Rainbow left off.
The game for all incenses is virtually identical to the successful and popular title launched at the end of last year. Changes have been made to offer new content, a couple of tweaks, some new multiplayer maps the ability to play spilt screen co-op on the single player missions, however new or old to the genre this is still a great game.
For the uninitiated, the game sees you play and command a crack squad of men sent around the globe to defuse terrorist situations. Levels are played out in hotels, train stations and other everyday environments and all the maps include a mixture of close corridors, open areas like lobbies and station platforms all for you to balance your play against.
Gameplay, fans will be pleased to know, hasn’t change over the year in development and again for old and new this is a good thing. You physically control one character while you command either via a quick access panel or voice the rest of your team. Commands involve everything from moving into position to “breach flash and clear” when you need to enter a room with explosives, flash bang the room and then make sure you get all the terrorists (if any) in there.
As before the gameplay insists you have the ability to manage both skill sets if you plan to get through the missions unscathed. That’s not to say you can’t do it without there help, but you would be pretty foolish if you tried.
Difficulty can be set to three levels while in-game saves are restricted to those difficult levels, something which ups the ante even further although at times when you get stuck, and trust us when we say you will get stuck, can become very frustrating.
Those who already have Rainbow Six 3 and looking for something new will most likely gravitate to the added ability to play the single player missions in co-op mode with another human player. This makes things very interesting (you have to work as a team for starters) and just like in Halo you have to save each others’ necks over and over again. The rest of the teams AI are good, but not without its weaknesses and in the co-op and single player missions you are expected to go unto the breach with them to cover that blind spot.
As before, the multiplayer element of Rainbox Six 3 makes up a big part of this game replacing the AI characters will real-life people on the Xbox Live servers. Aside from the odd tweak and new maps though not much as changed here - again over the original a good thing.
Overall this is more of a mission pack than a whole new game, and the name on the box and the price reflects that. That said, you won't need to have played the original title to still benefit from the gameplay or have an understanding what is going on.
For the newcomer there is a comprehensive tutorial that walks you through all the controls while the old hand will relish the new elements. Either way, both should enjoy the atmospheric graphics, the easy to use controls and the ability to shout and the television if you've invested in the Voice Commander.
In total then a very satisfying title and one for the Xbox shopping list.