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If you are a shooter fan looking for a nice stealth/strategic title to pass away the nights with, this title is a hard sell. The single-player campaign features some cool gadgets and missions from the past, but is a short experience in the end. This isn’t the swan song of the Rainbow Six series on the Xbox, but feels more like a quiet passing in the night. For hardcore Rainbow fans, a revisiting to the past, the return emphasis on strategy (although there is still some tweaking that needs to take place), and some suitable multiplayer goodies may make this worth the $30 entry fee, but for everyone else, a rental for the weekend will suffice. With the newest Rainbow title recently being announced for the Xbox 360, it is time to look towards the future.
Critical Hour, despite being the latest game in the series, takes several severe steps backwards in both graphics and audio technology, and the unpredictable enemy AI and target assist put this game more in the action genre than the tactical one. If you are dying for a fresh Rainbow Six fix, especially if you never played any of the older games, then Rainbow Six: Critical Hour is certainly worth a look, but if you despised Lockdown or don’t plan on investing a lot of time playing online then you might want to pass.
Compared to other games in the series, Critical Hour doesn’t offer much in the way of tactics. The pre-mission load out options are limited to only a few weapons. Once in-game, commands can be issued using a either a context-sensitive command button or a microphone. Either way works, though the number of things you can have your squad do is far less then you could have them do in previous games. Even if you’re a fan of Rainbox Six, Critical Hour is not recommended. The game is over before it even begins and the online experience is flawed to the point of being no fun.
Rainbow Six: Critical Hour wasn't a bad idea and it's not a bad game. But it's not good. Had Ubisoft incorporated any kind of real story into the game, other than the "look back" concept, we may have cared. Had there been immersive visuals and sound effects that drew us deep into the action, we may have cared. It's hard to recommend Critical Hour to old gamers familiar with the stellar R6: 3 and Black Arrow, and it's hard to recommend Critical Hour to those new to R6 because they can start with those titles as well. Fans will be satisfied with the intense, close-quarter shooting that R6 is famous for, but mediocre graphics, sound and presentation hold Critical Hour back. It's not a bad game, but it's not the way we would have liked to see the franchise bid farewell to the current generation of consoles, and in the end it's a forgettable title that gives you a reason to rent instead of a reason to care.
It's a shame that the reputation of a once top-flight franchise is being sullied by budget-style treatment. Between the short and poorly executed single-player game, and the bugs in the online multiplayer, there isn't much reason for anyone to play Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Critical Hour.