Review By: Jared
|# Of Players:
||1-2 (6 online)
||Memory Card, USB Headset, Network Adaptor
When Ubisoft brought over Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell
early last year, they did a good job of matching the experience
as close to the Xbox version as possible while working within
the limitations of the aging PS2 hardware. Tom Clancy’s
Rainbow Six 3 arrives in similar fashion, although it’s hurt
a lot worse by the platform switch. A great Xbox game has become
merely a good PS2 one, although it’s still worth a look for
Xbox-less (and without a decent gaming PC) fans of the genre.
In case you aren’t familiar with the franchise, Rainbow Six 3
places the gamer in the role of Ding Chavez. Ding is, of course,
one of the major players in a number of Tom Clancy novels
including…you guessed it…Rainbow Six. As field leader of
Team Rainbow, Ding traverses through a variety of locations
eliminating terrorists, rescuing hostages, defusing bombs, and
completing other objectives as warranted. This is done with the
help of up to three teammates, which follow Ding’s orders without
question. The console versions actually streamline the original PC
concept quite a bit, removing most of the pre-stage planning (like
setting up waypoints) while leaving the action wholly intact. I
won’t bore you with the details, but the result is a game much more suited to a controller
and TV/couch setup than prior console conversions.
The single player game is all about coordinating the team and
issuing orders, and it’s here where the PS2’s limitations really
hurt the experience. Due to the weaker hardware, Ubisoft had to
chop up the original Xbox levels by not only removing alternate
routes but also many of the details (boxes, office supplies, etc.)
that littered the world before. There are also fewer enemies, which
often left me wondering if I simply missed some along the way.
While the barren levels weren’t a huge deal in Splinter Cell,
they are here because gameplay involves a team instead of merely one
man. These chopped up levels offer fewer locations to utilize
teamwork, removing many of the areas where tactics using Zulu codes
or flanking enemies were used before. You take away that and you
take away most of what the franchise is about. The result is a game
that feels more like a straight-up FPS than a squad-based tactical
game. PS2 owners probably won’t know what they’re missing, but they
will know that the game doesn’t live up to all the accolades the
Xbox version received.
There are other minor quibbles, such as the lack of an onscreen map
(replaced by a radar) that hurt the PS2 port as well. Surprisingly
though, the stripped-down port actually makes the stealth level I
in my Xbox review more enjoyable. Basically I
complained that the game engine isn’t suited to that style of play,
and that complaint still holds true here. However, since there are
fewer paths and enemies to deal with in the level it’s a lot easier
to navigate (and get out of the way) in the PS2 version.
Rainbow Six 3
is still my favorite Xbox Live game, and unfortunately the PS2
version suffers online as well. The most noticeable downgrade is
that the game only supports a maximum of six players now, whereas up
to 16 could compete on Live. The result is an empty feeling when
playing online (even compared to other online PS2 games), with a lot
less action and a lot more searching for someone to shoot. It’s
still fun, just not as fun.
To their credit Ubisoft didn’t just cut stuff out, as the PS2 (and
upcoming GCN) version features an additional single-player level
(Trieste) and a co-op mode. The co-op mode features the
single-player levels that were converted into online levels on Xbox,
and does allow gamers without broadband Internet access some form of
multiplayer mode to enjoy.
Graphically, it’s what you’d expect out of a PS2 port. For a PS2
game it looks OK, but in comparison to the Xbox version it’s vastly
inferior. The jaggies are out in full-force (although not to
first-generation levels), and the night vision mode is simply ugly.
Most of the pretty lighting effects are gone, and character models
look somewhat awkward. Textures suffer the most, as most of the
new and reused ones (ex: posters on the wall) look blurry from all
Just about the only area that didn’t see a downgrade is in the
sound. Everything still sounds good, with various footstep noises
on different surfaces and realistic weapon sounds. Enemies yell out
in mostly Spanish, and the player’s teammates have a lot of
well-acted dialogue to add to the atmosphere. The music is the
standard military stuff found in every Clancy game, and won’t
disappoint existing fans.
Although the levels have been chopped up, Ubisoft did manage to save
some of the very best parts of the Xbox version.
The core gameplay arrives intact, and that’s fun under any
An additional single-player level and a co-op mode not found in the
The map has been replaced by radar-only. Were they simply too
lazy to re-draw it for the redesigned levels?
The chopped up levels cut out of most of the unique fun the
Online play has been reduced to merely good instead of great,
although you don’t have to subscribe to a pay service (instead
Ubi.com) to use it.
The core gameplay is still here, but almost everything else that
really made the game truly great is sadly missing. What are
left are a stripped-down single-player mode and a slightly above
average multiplayer mode. Owners of both consoles should
definitely pick it up on Xbox (or PC), but if the PS2 is your
system of choice it's still a decent squad-based experience.
Overall Score: 7.5