PC software: Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Raven Shield

Even after an almost four-year hiatus, team Rainbow shows why it’s still the top antiterrorist team on the PC. If you’ve enjoyed past Rainbow Six games or just have an itch to take out terrorists on your own, Raven Shield will completely fulfil your trigger finger needs.

Engaging in close-quarters combat takes a special breed of soldiers. In Raven Shield, as in previous Rainbow Six games, you take control of this special breed — Tom Clancy style. This means that although it’s fictitious, Rainbow’s action mirrors real military combat techniques and contains real-world elements ranging from authentic weaponry to believable global terrorist threats. It also means (and staying true to the Rainbow Six theme) that without proper planning, you’ll wind up starting over from the beginning more than completing a mission. This type of realism is the core of Raven Shield.

The game’s realism, however, has its limits. Controlling up to eight team members while frantically shooting away in first-person mode can get daunting at times. Adding to that problem, switching between weapons is extremely slow, which is uncharacteristic of both real military soldiers and the Rainbow Six series.

But beyond this blemish, Raven Shield’s controls have been finely upgraded. You can now easily order team-mates to open, grenade, and clear a room (as in Tom Clancy’s Sum of All Fears game) with ease. Don’t be surprised, though, if your team annoyingly misses an obvious target when they open the door. Another clean control setup is the ability to quickly jump from one team to another or from one individual to another, so you can take in the action from any place you want.

The graphics and sound engine is as powerful as the usable guns featured in the game. There are a whopping 57 familiar and non-familiar bullet-shooting mechanisms that you can use in missions. Each seems to be fully modelled from the real gun, including the rate of fire and type of barrel flash. The impressive visuals, though, don’t stop at the weapon models. Terrifically designed structures that you infiltrate are full of sharp detail even if the graphical options are set to medium or low. Rings from flash grenades, surrounding enemy fire, and chatter over the radio all contribute to an engaging battle, too.

Raven Shield is more than a worthy follow-up to an already outstanding series. Satisfy your hunger to save the world and make it a better place by eliminating the next round of virtual terrorists.

Publisher: Ubi Soft
Developer: Ubi Soft Montreal/Red Storm
URL: www.raven-shield.com

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