Rainbow Six 3: Gold Edition

This one should have been called You and Charred Earth.

Joking aside, the game will sadistically beat the tar out of you.

I remember when the original Rainbow Six came out, it required me to get an upgrade of RAM in order to get it to even run. When I finally did get it running, I discovered it was one of the hardest shooters ever devised. Unyielding in its consistent approach to hardcore realism, it killed me more often than tomato sauce after 7:30 in the evening. Rainbow Six 3 took the Unreal 2 engine, which had already been used for America’s Army 2.0 at that point, and added a planning component in addition to the "shooter" part of the game.

It was the last version of Rainbow Six that ever did that and the series has suffered for it ever since.

No health packs, more guns than you could possibly imagine (much less use) and horrifically difficult AI — even on the easiest settings — and you begin to form a picture of something completely hostile to casual gamers. You know something? It is.

RS 3

Graphics are somewhat muted by today’s standards, but at the time it was revolutionary when compared to games in the series that came before it, which in their own way were also nothing the gaming world had ever dealt with before. The blur you experience whenever you accidentally walk into a room that just had a tear gas grenade tossed in it without the benefit of a gas mask is severely disorienting and entirely believable. Even today, they’re convincing and it was one of the first games to offer true support for widescreen resolutions.

Audio was even better. I remember having the advantage of a Creative Audigy2 ZS Gamer sound card and with EAX sound enabled, you could tell when a fat kid sucked down a Twinkie by difference in the weight of his footsteps, it was that authentic and credible. Ah, the days before Microsoft rewrote the audio stack.

RS 3: Gold - What Works for the Casual Gamer

Not much. I mean it, not very much. You can futz with the auto-aim radius to give you a small competitive advantage, but that actually reduces a lot of the fun you can have in ranged combat and in some cases can actually result in a serious disadvantage in close-quarters combat as the auto-aim tends to get a mind of its own — and a slightly retarded one at that — when trying to "target" someone for you to shoot, and by that time the enemy AI has leisurely produced a pistol and shot you in the ass. It really doesn’t do much good.

RS 3

The AI is still pretty strong and unless you enter cheat codes into the console (which you might as well take a large object called a Fun Eraser and liberally slathered it all over the game) you will not likely get through too many missions without getting yourself or a team member killed.

So, in summation, this is probably one best left to the big kids. Or for whenever you’re feeling like a little masochism. Or when American Idol is on.

RS 3: Gold - What Doesn’t Work for the Casual Gamer

Would I be too sarcastic if I said "pretty much the whole game?"

RS 3: Gold Pros

  • Sound and visuals are still very convincing, even without EAX.
  • Briefings, mission planning, outfitting make you feel like you’re really a part of a very special, super secret tactical entry team.

RS 3: Gold Cons

  • Ridiculously aware (and fast) enemy AI.
  • Much-hated lone-wolf, Splinter Cell-esque missions.
  • Auto-aim screws you up more than it helps you out.
  • Seemingly more keyboard commands than MSFS: radial, right-click menu isn’t bad, but not as intuitive as other games use of the right-click menu.
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