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Publisher: Aspyr Media    Genre: Action
Min OS X: 10.2    CPU: G4 @ 733 MHz    RAM: 256 MB    Hard Disk: 1700 MB    Graphics: 32 MB VRAM

Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield
January 19, 2004 | Dakota Brown

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The franchise that invented the tactical shooter has never looked better in its triumphant return to Macs everywhere. If you’ve never heard of Rainbow Six, then it is time to get you cleaned up, up to speed, and out from under that rock. In Rainbow Six: Raven Shield (R6:RS), you are placed in command of Rainbow, an elite, international anti-terrorist organization and tasked with the “delicate resolution” of several terroristic situations.

Game Play
In terms of game play, R6:RS is simply unforgiving. One or two shots will usually kill you, you can’t quick-save during levels, and if an operative becomes incapacitated during a mission they are lost for the remainder of the campaign. This can be a harrowing experience for frag-fest fanatics, but it is a welcomed change of pace for those of us who are for looking for a break from the daily death match.

Newcomers to the franchise will find a set of training exercises where they can learn the basics of the game; weapon use, environment/object interactions, and commanding and working with your teams. One of the best additions to R6:RS is the ability to give quick contextual commands to the team you are commanding. For example when you come across a closed door, quickly looking at the door and pressing the action key will command your team to open the door while in tactical positions. However by looking at the closed door and holding down the action key, you bring up a menu with which you can quickly order your team to open the door, throw a grenade in, and clear the room upon detonation.

The only aspect that you aren’t trained in happens to be the weakest link of the game- mission planning. Those of you who want to save the world without much forethought don’t really need to worry. R6:RS comes with pre-designed plans for each mission. While it is possible to muddle through the missions utilizing these plans, they just aren’t always the best ways to approach each scenario. Even on the easiest difficulty setting, it is really a crapshoot on whether your teams clean house or just get slaughtered. It is often just a better idea to design your own mission plans. Additionally with the wide variety of weapons, gadgets, and specialists available, players always want to address each scenario in accordance with their own particular style.

That’s not as easy as it sounds. The developers of R6:RS have really outdone themselves in terms of level design, as they are hardly linear in concept. Maps include oil refineries, shipyards, airports, and penthouses all realized in glorious detail. These levels are provided in such detail, that attempting to plan a mission for a map you haven’t experienced firsthand could be maddening. There are so many catwalks, corners, 2nd levels, and windows, that trying to cover all possible sight lines may be impossible. Unfortunately, the mission planning screen doesn’t do much to simplify the process.

It is easy enough to place waypoints on the map, assign actions, and coordinate assaults, but the planning screen just does not give a player much of a “feel” for the level. Planning occurs on two-dimensional maps corresponding to each level contained within a map. It is at times difficult to associate shared game space between an upper and lower level. In the games defense for each waypoint you assign, you a given a window which you may use to survey the immediate in-game area. I found myself designing plans, play testing them, and then going back to the drawing board to iron out the wrinkles. If you choose to do this, you quickly learn that there are “hot spots” in each level where terrorists either are or aren’t. I realize I’m coming down hard on planning, but that is because it is one of the few things this game does not do exceptionally well. The good news is that brilliant AI will save your butt from a lot of planning errors.


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