Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Simply the best tactical shooter on the market. The high level of detail and the wealth of options offer a great amount of replay potential.
  2. 91
    Imagine that Rainbow Six is "Splinter Cell" injected full of get the same stealthy action, but it's pumped up on reality. [June 2003, p.57]
  3. We haven't played a more atmospheric single or multiplayer tactical action game since "SWAT3," and despite its shortcomings there is still nothing that comes close to rivalling it for sheer breathe-down-your neck tension.
  4. While retaining its gameplay and adding numerous improvements, R6: Raven Shield is definitely worth checking out for any realistic tactical shooter fan.
  5. An outstanding visual and audio presentation, marred only by cheesy music, support quality gameplay.
  6. Most of the changes and improvements in Raven Shield are more evolutionary than revolutionary, but Raven Shield is by far the best game in the Tom Clancy series and easily the best “thinking man’s” FPS game currently available.
  7. 90
    Everything’s been upgraded and/or redone to make tactical team gameplay as cohesive and fun as the series has always been. Just make sure you have a powerful machine to enjoy every aspect of the game.
  8. A host of revisions and improvements propel Raven Shield way past the original R6 games in design and playability, making Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield the new benchmark in tac sims. [June 2003, p.82]
  9. It’s by far the best-looking and most-realistic game in the series, and finally begins to deliver the team-based tactical gameplay its predecessors haven’t quite pulled off.
  10. 88
    A great game franchise gets an even tighter engine. Frustrating AI may turn off some players, but this is still the best tactical shooter available.
  11. A good story never hurts and this is what the Rainbow series lacks right now, storyline and emotional involvement of the player.
  12. The game suffers from a number of small flaws (and sometimes bigger ones, where the AI is concerned), yet it still does many things exceptionally well.
  13. easily the best instalment yet – it looks great, plays great, and has oodles of expansion potential. The only downer is that even on higher-end machines, things can really chug in crowded areas. Still, that’s the price you pay for freedom.
  14. 86
    It's smart, unforgiving and genuinely exhilarating.
  15. I wouldn't go so far as to call it quite the revolution it could have been, but it comes close. And in the world of action/stealth/strategy games, the series still has no equal.
  16. A fantastic tactical shooter that is marred by inconsistencies and minor flaws in design. It is the best in the series, and continues with the same great gameplay that made us fall in love with it in the first place.
  17. The shining star in multiplayer continues to be co-operative play. Raven Shield is able to convey sheer bouts of terror as naturally and easily as before.
  18. The level of detail for the urban environments is jaw dropping. Colors are sharp and crisp and the textures are terrific. A ragdoll physics engine serves up some impressive death animations.
  19. It's the shiny A.I. upgrade that's the game's biggest improvement (though it's still not perfect). [May 2003, p.64]
  20. Resonates much stronger than Sony's otherwise noble hand at tactical combat. Not only is the game not held back because of certain console-based restrictions (controllers, options available, graphics, etc.), but the game seems to be less about nationalism and more about the dedication and strife anti-terrorist groups must experience.
  21. It's received some great tweaks and additions, but it definitely plays it safe in terms of gameplay and doesn't try to break new ground, which is disappointing. [Apr 2003, p.90]
  22. Match-up restrictions aside, Raven Shield is not only a great multiplayer game, but a welcome next step in the Rainbow Six series for gamers that should meet, if not exceed, many of its fans expectations.
  23. 80
    The game's plot doesn't come together in any grand way, nor does it need to. The plot's just a latticework for the excellent, challenging missions.
  24. The underlining story that is supposed to tie the missions together is completely neglected. You just go from one location to another and deal away with potential threats; that's the crux of the matter.
  25. A solid entry in the series but doesn’t really advance it meaningfully in any way. Indeed, in some ways – the brevity of the campaign, the so-so missions – it’s a step back from previous games.
  26. This game makes me yearn for "Ghost Recon," with its on-the-fly command structure and passable NPC intelligence. Rainbow Six 3 not only lacks these two very important features, but it also penalizes gamers who play by its own rules. [May 2003, p.93]
  27. A few more single-player missions, a deeper story line, interactive backgrounds, and some additional tweaking on the technical front could have pushed the game over the top.
  28. With solid netcode, short sharp snappy rounds, and game modes that focus the action without limiting it, this is punishing lethal gunplay at its best. [June 2003, p.75]
  29. Going through the same obligatory missions again and again may be more than some can tolerate.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 66 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 16
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 16
  3. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. holodoc
    Jan 1, 2010
    People are making a mistake when they say that this is a game. Its not. Its an experience! The one that makes you want to feel every time you die so you can enjoy it even more when you enter the mission again. It sure has some flaws like an unrealistically ruthless precision of terrorist weapons and a stupid hostage AI but not rating this game with 10 would be something I would be ashamed of. This game is a legend that will always be playable so therefore... "Alpha... Go, go, go!" Full Review »
  2. ChrisS
    Dec 25, 2009
    By far the greatest rainbow six game out of the three (not including vegas). This game gave me hours upon hours of enjoyment. As a long time tom clancy fan i have enjoyed all rainbow six games, but 3 has definitly taken the cake, They have prefected this game from the previous ones in so many ways that you will play for hours. The missions are great and diverse, ranging from hostage rescue, elimination, bomb disarment etc. The planning of each mission is great letting you customise each members layout and waypoint. The only thing that bugged me is sometimes a single terrorist can wipe out your whole team that is under your command or the AI's, but besides that I found this to be one of the best tactical shooters, much better then SWAT series Full Review »
  3. Jeff
    Mar 30, 2008
    This is very similar to Rogue Spear and the 1st Rainbow Six, but it has a lot better graphics, sound, and new missions. This is my favorite shooter of all time, quite realistic. Ubisoft tech support sucks. I bought this game at Best Buy and the CD was corrupted (CRC error), the tech support guy basically told me "Oh well, it's no longer in print" Fortunately, I found an old ISO of it. No thanks to Ubisoft! Full Review »