Well, it’s been an exciting year for Tom Clancy fans. 2002 brought us some fine games for the Xbox like the FXB’s Game of the Year, Splinter Cell, and the ever popular online masterpiece, Ghost Recon. This taste of the Tom Clancy gaming collection has left many gamers craving more. Both Splinter Cell and Ghost Recon turned out to be huge successes, and now, belive it or not, the games continue to pile up in delvelopment for our beloved console. One of these games is Rainbow Six III: Raven Shield.
-15 all new action packed single player missions
-6 dedicated multiplayer maps
-Uses Unreal2 engine for unequaled visual effects
-57 weapons with real-world accessories for endless customization
– New multiplayer modes
-Real-world tactics and methods from SWAT team instructors
-Bears the Tom Clancy namesake and promises to bring the realism with it
-Classic Rainbow 6 franchise
In Raven Shield, as in previous installations of the Rainbow Six series, you command the elite, UN counter-terrorism unit, code-named “Rainbow.” Team Rainbow is a highly trained group of special-ops soldiers who are trained to handle the most covert of missions with the utmost of precision and stealth. This team of specially trained men are sent in to prevent disaster and to protect the freedom of the United States and its allies.
Raven Shield (RS) takes place over the course of 15 action packed missions, spanning the entire globe from London to Rio de Janeiro. While little has been leaked about RS’s plot,we can rest assured that missions will mainly consist of counter-insurgence operations with mission-critical objectives. Objectives will probably be similar to those found in titles of this genre, like basic search-and-rescue and seek-and-destroy missions. The gameplay will revolve around you taking care to see that no squad members are killed and no mission objectives are failed.
Another sure thing is that RS will be in the first person perspective. Since the game is to be set in the very near future, the weapons will mainly be comprised of by real-life weaponry, with some current prototypes and in-development weapons thrown in for good measure. Unlike most Tom Clancy first-person-shooters, in RS gamers will be able to view their firearm on-screen, rather than just having the aiming reticle most Ghost Recon gamers are familiar with.
Many gamers that have grown accustomed to the other Tom Clancy masterpiece on XBOX Ghost Recon may be expecting RS to be a knockoff. However, be assured that this is not the case. The games are and will be alike in many ways, since Tom Clancy games don’t usually vary in terms of genre but the game will be dramatically different from Ghost Recon in many ways, such as the variety of locales in the game, the viewpoint, and the overall variety of missions. The entire idea will be a unique experience for Ghost Recon players, while maintaining the classic appeal that the Rainbow Six series brought to the FPS experience.
As many of you may or may not know, there have been many Rainbow Six (R6) installations prior to RS, on a number of different platforms. Rainbow Six soon proved to be a leader in the covert-ops’ FPS genre, and thus the Tom Clancy name began to stand for realism and innovation, and this can be seen in previous installments of R6. The developers of Tom Clancy games realized that the genre and the name were in high demand and thus the games became more than just based on Tom Clancy’s bestselling books; they became the physical embodiment of all of the intrigue and intricacies that many of Clancy’s books would demand of this sort of presentation.
Overall, the gameplay in RS will be based around stealth, accuracy, planning, and the implementation of these three elements towards the successful completion of the multitude of missions. We can also be sure that RS experience, like that of all of its R6-predecessors, will be built from the ground up to be as realistic as possible while retaining the action of firefights and the spine-tingling excitement of covert-ops. For example, team members who die will be lost forever, and, usually, one shot will kill the enemy; and you as well. To ensure that the realism of counter-terrorist operations is “ported” over to consoles, the design of RS is being overseen and supervised by actual SWAT team members and military special tactics officers; a measure that was never taken in the development of previous installments. With this attention to detail, we can rest assured that RS will bring a challenging and rewarding FPS experience into our living rooms.
The in-game graphics are not, at this stage in the development, very far along, as seen in the video preview that was included with the Ghost Recon disk. The graphics will be significantly overhauled to look their best on the XBOX version of RS. The most noticable change from previous R6 incarnations will be RS’s use of high resolution textures, as can be seen in the latest videos and screenshots of the game. The game is intended to surpass the other Clancy first-person-shooters in the graphics department. Don’t expect Splinter Cell-style graphics, but expect to see some clean, crisp improvements from earlier screens.
The game will be online for the PC and there is already an online demo available for download at www.raven-shield.com but the Live compatibility status is still TBA. The game would be wonderful online with Live but no one can promise anything but the developers and, unfortunately, they are keeping a very tight lid on information about RS. All we can do is keep our fingers crossed. For more information visit the official Raven Shield site as noted above.
Although RS is quite far away from XBOX release right now, it promises to bring the Clancy-style gameplay that we have all come to know and love. If Ghost Recon is any indication, RS should be a success on the XBOX and should satisfy our undying thirst for reaistic gameplay; until, that is, the next jaw-dropping Tom Clancy achievment sweeps us off our feet.
Evan J. Vickers – Funxbox Staff