Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
Buy On
    If there was an award for best grenade launcher sound effect in a game, Rainbow Six 3 would win. The bass-filled 'thwooomp' as it launches (and the room-shaking explosion that follows) make up just one of many Guns-N-Ammo-erotic moments. [XBM]
  2. This is easily my favorite first-person shooter (yes, it's better than "Goldeneye", "Halo", "Perfect Dark", "Half-Life", and anything else) and my favorite game on Xbox. [Grade = A+]
  3. The level of immersion that it provides is possibly the best that Xbox gamers have seen to date...The single-player campaign mode warrants a purchase alone and when you factor in the Xbox Live multiplayer options, this is the best Xbox game since "Halo."
  4. RS3's team-based gameplay, combined with good AI troops and enemies, and a cool voice command system that's incredibly simple to use make this game amazingly fun to play.
  5. From the graphics to the online play, this game just oozes quality.
  6. 95
    The incredible amount of depth within the game is superb, the graphics are simply inspiring, the sound effets and vocal talent is quite notable and the game mechanics themselves are solid as a rock.
  7. If "Splinter Cell" hears Rainbow Six 3 coming, it better move on over - the top spot for the single player military strategy/action title has been taken, by a first person shooter no less.
  8. Ubi Soft has taken their PC masterpiece and trimmed it down just enough to make it accessible on the Xbox while adding enough new features like the voice command interface to make Rainbow Six 3 the most immersive tactical simulation you can experience without years of military training.
  9. 93
    The co-operative gameplay options are outstanding and set the bar quite high for every online shooter on the way to Xbox including the mighty "Halo 2."...The game just keeps drawing you in with one feature or another until you're completely under its spell.
  10. There are just so many ways you can approach a given situation within each mission and this is the heart and soul of Rainbow Six 3 ... and what makes this such a pure joy to play on a continuous basis.
  11. With a gripping story, top of the line graphics, fantastic sound, unsurpassed multiplayer, and innovations such as the Voice-Activated Order System - this is one of the best and most impressive games to come out on Xbox yet.
  12. Official Xbox Magazine
    Best Xbox Live game ever made? Yeppers. Best first-person shooter this year? Indeed. [Dec 2003, p.54]
  13. It’s the little details in Rainbow Six 3 that really impress me.
  14. From it's single player and multi-player via system link to the profound enjoyment on XBox Live, this is the ultimate stocking stuffer this holiday season. If you don't have it yet, I pity you.
  15. The co-op online component is really the big selling point. That's not to say that the there isn't a compelling, if not addictive, single-play mode included.
  16. Xbox Nation Magazine
    The game achieves excellence through realism, feel, and transparent interface. [Mar 2004, p.88]
  17. This is the best online shooting experience available today, including the recently-released Xbox translation of the PC sensation "Counter-Strike."
  18. This is simply a faster, tenser, more action-oriented Rainbow Six. In other words, it's better. It has none of the tedium of the PC games and more suspense and drama to keep players on the edge of their seats.
  19. Cheat Code Central
    Submachine guns, assault rifles, grenades and pistols comprise the arsenal. All of the guns not only look great but they sound amazing.
  20. 90
    A very good single-player game, and a brilliant online game; Ubisoft's streak of Xbox greatness continues.
  21. 90
    My only real complaints are that some single-player missions feel a little too simple and the game engine occasionally stutters even when you're not playing online.
  22. 90
    Go get a copy -you won’t be disappointed.
  23. 90
    As long as you know the rules of engagement, Rainbow Six 3 is a rewarding game with a lot of tactical depth hiding beneath all the incredible sights and sounds.
  24. It's a completely immersive game, and despite our few niggles with enemies that stay rooted to the spot and missions that don't vary hugely, we're still going back for more. [GamesMaster]
  25. A fine addition to the series and a perfect complement to "Splinter Cell" and "Ghost Recon" in the modern tactical warfare stakes.
  26. No one person can sing the praises of this title's presentation enough. [Jan 2004, p.142]
  27. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    A near-perfect blend of first-person shooting and smart-guy tactics. [Jan 2004, p.146]
  28. Despite some issues with the game's online performance and artificial intelligence, Rainbow Six 3 delivers quite possibly the tensest, most serious first-person shooter experiences on the Xbox to date.
  29. Play Magazine
    While the game is satisfying in single-player, it really takes off online. [Dec 2003, p.84]
  30. GMR Magazine
    What really sets it apart from other first-person shooters, though, is the attention to technical and tactical detail, as well as the skill it demands from the player. [Jan 2004, p.78]
  31. The single-player is compelling and disappointing in equal measures in a seen-it-all-before-but-I'm-enjoying-it-anyway kind of fashion, but it's the multiplayer action that saves the day.
  32. As long as you (and your Live friends) know the rules of engagement, Rainbow Six 3 is a rewarding game with a lot of tactical depth lurking beneath the incredible sights and sounds.
  33. games(TM)
    The atmosphere in the game really is fantastic - it plays very much like a stealth shooter but the action is fast and brutal when it does happen. Along with the headset, this consistent tension offers an experience that you simply will not find with any other squad-based shooters, regardless of format. [Christmas 2003, p.96]
  34. Manages to be that most rare thing; a PC-to-Console port that not only retains the quality of the original, but also tailors its gameplay perfectly to the console. This game is a hell of a lot of fun.
  35. Despite long load times and somewhat questionable AI, Rainbow Six: 3 sparkles with the freshness of a newly scrubbed kitchen floor.
  36. Weekly Famitsu
    8 / 7 / 8 / 7 - 30 silver [Vol 183; 16 July 2004]
  37. If this is your type of game then Rainbow Six 3 won't disappoint, but if like us you're beginning to grow a little tired of these games then best to look elsewhere.
  38. 70
    Disappointing gameplay will plague anyone who has ever experienced previous Rainbow Six games. On the other hand, if you’re new to first-person tactical shooting, this game is a perfect starter.
  39. Edge Magazine
    This is a stupefyingly linear experience. While the individual stand-offs and shoot-outs are exhilirating, the removal of any sense of choice or any requirement of tactical thought makes this more of a theme park ride than a military operation. [Christmas 2003, p.117]

Awards & Rankings

#20 Most Discussed Xbox Game of 2003
#68 Most Shared Xbox Game of 2003
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 34 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 34
  2. Negative: 3 out of 34
  1. Ryencoke
    Mar 10, 2006
    Why can't they make another great game like this? I mean, Black Arrow was good too, but this one was just to perfect. I remember playing Why can't they make another great game like this? I mean, Black Arrow was good too, but this one was just to perfect. I remember playing Xbox Live and I couldn't get off, it was to intense to good, it was perfect everything about this game is just amazing. It was the best Xbox Live experience I have ever had, I hope they can someday make another like this. Since they horrendously screwed up on lockdown. Full Review »
  2. Jan 22, 2020
    this game all I can really say is boring boring BORING this abomination of a game is one of the worst games I have ever played the missionsthis game all I can really say is boring boring BORING this abomination of a game is one of the worst games I have ever played the missions are boring is very confusing on where to go and even though this game only sells for about $1 now just don't get it Full Review »
  3. Dec 18, 2012
    The most addictive and challenging gameplay.