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     " If you're a solitary Monkey you'll unquestionably get your money's worth, but if you have Live you simply need this game. "

      Title: Rainbow 6: 3 by Ubisoft

      Format: Xbox Tactical Shooter

      Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult

      The Hype: Easily the most successful, and arguably the most entertaining, PC tactical shooter franchise in history finally comes to the Xbox. And while this isn't the first time the series has hit the console market, this is quite possibly the first time the system has been able to do justice to what was unquestionably a computer game. But will this heavily hyped translation clear the room or get capped on the way through the door? Lock and load and we'll breech it together.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: The strong point of Rainbow's graphics, unequivocally, is the attention to detail. The character models are among the most specifically accurate of any game I've seen and include mouths that move with speech (even in multiplayer), load-outs accurate to what the character is carrying (including the types of grenades, primary and secondary weapons, and armor), and some pretty phenomenal motion capture. That being said, however, overall the graphics, due to mediocre texturing and some rough level issues, are good but not anything to rave about. They are certainly pretty and very functional but lack the refining touches, especially on the backgrounds, that other games in the genre have. 3.75 out of 5

      Playability: Historically, Game Monkeys has always been partial to the Rainbow series. They are, without a doubt, some of the most original and entertaining first person shooters out there. The notable exception to this love, however, was the rather mediocre ports of them to the Dreamcast and the Nintendo 64. Not that they were bad games, per se, but rather that they were obviously ported just for the sake of making the extra buck and no real effort was put into making the game functional for the console market. Thus, as you might expect, the office was filled with a decided amount of trepidation at the arrival of this Xbox title. Granted, we were duly impressed by the playable demo at E3, but still…there's a lot more that goes into a game than can be shown in a 10 minute deathmatch on a show floor.
          The good news, however, is that while this game remains a port of the PC version, complete with identical characters and plots, near identical maps, and little in the way of original equipment additions, there have been numerous adaptations to make it a solid performer on the Xbox. The available controls have been remapped and refined to function naturally on a gamepad, the maps have been simplified, the AI is slowed slightly to reflect the somewhat more sluggish reaction times, the weapons were tweaked for faster paced play, and-most importantly and impressively of all, a balanced and functional auto aiming system has been implemented. Rather than either automatically putting the cross hair on the target, or just letting you pull the trigger and hit things at random, it works by giving you a variable-sized circle that gets larger the more stable you are and smaller the more you move or with weapons with poor accuracy. When you pull the trigger, the odds are that you will hit a target that's within the circle (I say the odds because it's still not an absolute given but there's a high likelihood)-thus, the more you move or shoot the harder it is to target (since your reticule circle is smaller), but when you are stable or crouching it's much easier to hit your intended target.
          Add it all up and you have some seriously genius gameplay. After dozens of hours of play it is unquestionably the most effective and entertaining fps on the current console market and is the one I keep coming back to time and time again. Not to be all praise, though, there are a few noteworthy flaws that keep it from being faultless. Firstly, the damage system seems to be incredibly inconsistent and in need of a serious reality check. Characters will routinely take incredible amounts of rounds and damage from high caliber rifles (like .50 BMGs and 7.62 NATOs) but then off an opponent with single shots from piss-ant damaging submachine guns. Secondly, the map designs and weapons offered are, while numerous, incredibly limited. There is not, for example, a single decent sniper map despite the inclusion of numerous sniper rifles, nor is there any decent reason, aside from novelty, to use better than half of the weapons offered. Finally, as has been the case with all of the Rainbow games, the AI is notorious for cheap shots and, dare I say it, cheating. It is incredibly common for you to get shot by a guy who either targets on you far faster than you could ever dream of accomplishing or that they'll know of your presence despite of your best sneaking efforts. That being said, however, this version is plagued with it the least of all the incarnations and so still shines for its series. 4.5 out of 5

      Story and Drama: Never a series known for its plots, you get a few brief cutscenes that basically tell you there are terrorists and you have to take them out. Ah, well…can't have it all. 2 out of 5

      Multiplayer and Replayability: Systemlink will allow you to play 1 person per Xbox, but the real appeal of Rainbow's multiplayer is Xbox Live. Perfectly suited for both the strong sense of community and the headset capabilities Live gives you, Rainbow has unquestionably become my favorite on-line game. With numerous modes of play including deathmatch, team deathmatch, one life survival, and-most importantly and noteworthy- two different modes of a kick ass four player cooperative component, this game is damned hard to top. No matter what you're in the mood for, there's something for you to do with other people on this game. My only complaint is the lack of a 4 player split screen…but ah well. Guess you can't have everything. 4.5 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       All in all, Rainbow 6 is unquestionably one of the greatest console shooters we've seen in years and at times even vies for the best Xbox game period. It's appropriately fast paced but still intense, merging the more spasmodic gameplay a console provides with the smooth tactical feel the franchise is famous for. It is undoubtedly my favorite Live play game and stands with the likes of Halo for games I probably won't get rid of until the sequel comes out.

      The Good: Killer gameplay, great feel, and phenomenal online play.

      The Bad: Limited weapons and level design, some serious damage issues, and no split screen.

      The Overall Ugly: If you're a solitary Monkey you'll unquestionably get your money's worth, but if you have Live you simply need this game.

      What it's Worth: Market

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