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     " It gives me all kinds of warm fuzzies deep down in places sane people don't have. "

      Title: Rainbow 6: Raven Shield by Ubi Soft

      Format: PC Tactical FPS

      Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult

      The Hype: The most renowned tactical shooter of all time, and arguably the most celebrated game in this magazine's history, returns for number three and makes its debut under new management (Ubi Soft). Will it be the same bulls-eye as its predecessors or go dud in the chamber? Read on, my monkeys…read on.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: Say it with me, monkeys, "Ooooh. Ahhhhh." Raven Shield is not on of the more solid looking shooters I've ever seen but also one of the most detailed I've had the pleasure of laying eyes on. Sticking with the overall for a second, we have levels that are well laid out and richly textured, models that are well formed and don't suffer from an exceptional amount of clipping (though there is a bit more than I'd like to see), and some pretty damned cool weapon and explosion effects. All in all, it's a nice showing that earns a solid 4 out of 5. But what really caught my eye playing this through was the equipment detail! While we've had games where the models are accurate with the weapons they carried, for the first time that this monkey's seen the models have accurate equipment, too! So if a guy's packing frag grenades he has a frag grenade on his belt. Want to know what side arm he's carrying? Just check out his thigh holster. And let me tell you, few things are as fun as zooming in with a sniper rifle and assigning target priority based on the accessories the bad guys are carrying. It gives me all kinds of warm fuzzies deep down in places sane people don't have. 4.5 out of 5

      Playability: : For those of you familiar with the Rainbow 6 series, much of Raven Shield will be old hat. For those who aren't…what the hell's wrong with you? Alright, alright, fine…for those of you who aren't it is, essentially, a standard first person shooter with three fundamental differences: 1) It is much slower paced than your standard Doom clone. 2) It takes recoil from your weapon into account (so your shooting gets less accurate the more of it you do). 3) It uses semi-real life wound effects, so get shot once or twice and your dead. This is what really separates it out as a "tactical shooter" and is, arguably, the most realistic a video game has ever been. But the question remains, is all that good? Answer: Abso-frickin'-lutely. Raven Shield is, hands down, the most fun play style and most engrossing format of game that this monkey has ever played. It sucks you up, draws you in, and will have you screaming like a little girl when you get shot and jumping behind your monitor when something startles you. As a play style and format it is undoubtedly amazing.
          Not to be all praise, though, it unfortunately suffers from it's own share of problems as well. Most of these issues, oddly enough, are some old problems from the earlier games that have actually been made worse in the new one. First and foremost is the planning stage, a pre-mission map where you can organize and select the entry method for your team. In a bizarre twist Raven Shield has the most difficult to operate and least customizable of all the Rainbow 6's. Second is the inconsistency of the weapon damages…always a problem with the Rainbows, the amount you may have to shoot someone and the lack of importance of hit location means that you will frequently be dislodged from your intense gaming experience to curse violently as to why a terrorist wearing nothing but a t-shirt needs to be shot more than once in the groin by a .50 bmg sniper rifle. These lead into a myriad of smaller game problems, such as the lack of modern weapon options (for an uber-elite special forces team, Rainbow has dick for flashy gadgets) and the fairly repetitive mission options. Ah well…things to look forward to in the next one. 4.5 out of 5

      Story and Drama: Always the lag point in any Rainbow 6 game, there is a story to be had but it's told exclusively in little mini-briefings that you'll just as likely skip. How a game based on a Tom Clancy book can shirk so much in the story department is beyond me. 2 out of 5

      Multiplayer and Replayability: Everything I can think to say in this section will sound like I'm trying to crawl up Tom Clancy's arse and take a nap so I'll just simplify and give you the facts. 1) The single player has enough excitement and variation that you will replay the missions over and over again just for the fun of it. 2) There are a ton of quick play options that will keep you going long after the single player missions get old. 3) The multiplayer is every bit as bad ass as any fps you've ever played (though, unfortunately, there is still no respawn option for mp games). 4) It continues to provide amazingly sweet AI for you and your friends to pit yourself against…and that's one of the most entertaining and replayable play types I have ever seen. 5 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       : All in all, this game is simply amazing. It's a bit disappointing to see problems that have been around since #1 appear in #3, but it's easily forgotten in the engrossing gameplay and killer atmosphere. A definite must have.

      The Good: Killer graphics, great gameplay, amazing multiplayer.

      The Bad: Some obvious and significant glitches that really should have been caught and taken care of.

      The Overall Ugly: We've LANed this game so much I've forgotten what daylight is.

      What it's Worth: Market and then some.

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