Every Rainbow Six game, in release order

Every game to feature Team Rainbow in action.

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The Rainbow Six series is one of the most well-known shooters in recent times and probably one of the most realistic and grounded. The series is based on the novel ‘Rainbow Six’ by renowned American author Tom Clancy which follows Team Rainbow, a secret international counter-terrorist organization engaged in eliminating various terrorist threats. As a result, every game in the series has Tom Clancy’s name on it. Twelve mainline games have been released in the Rainbow Six series from Red Storm Entertainment and Ubisoft. Let’s look at them all in release order.

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Rainbow Six (1998)

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The first game in the series is titled Rainbow Six which was released in 1998 and was developed and published by Red Storm Entertainment. In this game, Rainbow is a newly created counter-terrorist organization comprised of elite NATO soldiers and headed by John Clark, a fictional character from Tom Clancy’s novels. They are engaged in taking down the Phoenix Group, an eco-terrorist organization, and stopping its biological weapon attacks.

Rainbow Six is more stealth-oriented in its approach than focusing on frontal combat. Allies, terrorists, and hostages can be wounded or killed in a matter of seconds. As such, players plan their approach during the planning stage before the start of every mission. The multiplayer was comprised of two teams being pitted against one another to complete a set of objectives. An expansion pack titled ‘Eagle Watch’ was also released in 1999 that added more missions, modes, operators, and weapons.

Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear (1999)

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Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear, also developed and published by Red Storm Entertainment, has similar mechanics to its predecessor except for the premise. Rogue Spear is set during the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union and follows Team Rainbow dealing with various terrorist attacks around the world while stopping the spread of weapons-grade plutonium as well as stopping nuclear terrorism.

The addition of the multiplayer mode is a notable feature here with two modes being available: cooperative mode which is PvE and adversarial mode which is PvP, the latter of which is similar to the modern Team Deathmatch. There were no dedicated servers and each could only support up to sixteen players. Rogue Spear had three expansions: Urban Operations, Covert Ops Essentials, and Black Thorn, the latter two of which were stand-alone.

Rainbow Six: Lone Wolf (2002)

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Rainbow Six: Lone Wolf was developed by Red Storm Entertainment but was published by Ubisoft for the first time. This is a unique game as this was solely created for the PlayStation in 2002. It comprised only five missions making it shorter than previous games and expansions as well.

The game lets players take the role of Ding Chavez, Rainbow’s best operative to neutralize terrorist threats in Norway.

Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield (2003)

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Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield is the first game to be developed and published by Ubisoft in collaboration with Red Storm Entertainment. It was made with Unreal Engine 2.0 for PC and featured even more realistic mechanics than previous games. The game tasks Team Rainbow with investigating Neofascist attacks across South America and Europe.

Raven Shield included features like ordering AI teammates to move, engage enemies, breach rooms, and more. Missions featured three Rainbow teams which could be switched between one another at any moment. The missions could be played solo as well as via multiplayer.

Rainbow Six 3 (2003-2004)

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This version of Rainbow Six 3 was solely released for the Xbox in 2003 and then came to the PlayStation 2 and GameCube in 2004. It is essentially the first title to be developed and published solely by Ubisoft. It was the same as the PC version including the game engine, models, and mechanics but the plot and gameplay were completely different. In this game, Team Rainbow is tasked with taking down terrorist attacks that harmed US interests in South America.

In this version, there is no mission planning stage like in previous titles and players take on the role of Ding Chavez once again, with three AI teammates. The squad AI is much improved over the PC version and the gameplay is more forgiving.

Rainbow Six: Lockdown (2006)

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Rainbow Six: Lockdown was co-developed by Red Storm Entertainment and Ubisoft once again. Ding Chavez also comes back as the playable character with his Rainbow team being tasked with stopping the international terrorist organization Global Liberation Front and stopping the spread of the nanotech aerosol virus, Legion.

The gameplay of Lockdown is much more action-oriented and features less emphasis on stealth. The combat is also more arcadey as enemies and players can take more hits before dying. Different team-based multiplayer game modes were also available including Team Survival, which is essentially Deathmatch, and Team Sharpshooter, which is simply getting the most kills.

Rainbow Six: Critical Hour (2006)

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Rainbow Six: Critical Hour returns to the classic style of realism featured in the old Rainbow Six titles. In this game, Ding Chavez now heads Team Rainbow instead of John Clark.

The game featured several missions from the first Rainbow Six and Rogue Spear which were remade. A better and enhanced combat model as well as gameplay much more focused on strategy were introduced as well. Better AI and several innovative multiplayer modes were also introduced.

Rainbow Six: Vegas (2006)

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Rainbow Six: Vegas was developed by Ubisoft Montreal and featured several changes. Players take on the role of Rainbow Team leader Logan Keller who looks for his lost squadmates and focuses on taking down Irena Morales, a terrorist who has holed up in the city of Las Vegas.

The game features a regenerating health bar when not taking fire. A third-person mode is also present for blind or cover fire. The enemy AI is also revamped and much improved. The player could also give voice commands to their AI teammates as well. The mission-planning stage from previous games has been removed.

Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 (2008)

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Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 is dubbed as both a prequel and sequel as its story takes place before, during, and after the previous game. Instead of Logan Keller, the player takes on the role of Bishop, an experienced Rainbow operative.

The player character and their equipment are completely customizable for the first time in the series and can be used in both the single-player and multiplayer modes of the game. A system was introduced where players would get different weapons based on what type of tactics they used in the single-player and multiplayer modes. The Terrorist Hunt mode is introduced in Vegas 2 where players will have to take down a certain number of terrorists as well.

Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard (2011-2012)

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Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard was developed by Gameloft and published by Ubisoft for iOs devices in 2011 and Android devices in 2012. The game has the same plot as the first Rainbow Six game with minimal changes.

The game comprised several unique features like tagging enemies via a ‘”Snake Camera” and detecting heartbeats via sensors.

Rainbow Six: Siege (2015)

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Rainbow Six: Siege was released by Ubisoft in 2015 as a completely multiplayer-focused game. While there is no campaign, the initial story details the rise of the terrorist organization, White Masks, while Team Rainbow has been deactivated since 2012. Seeing this threat, Team Rainbow gets reactivated.

Siege features 5v5 multiplayer modes that are set in various situations with players having one set life. Later, the Team Deathmatch mode was added. The PvE modes: Situations and Terrorist Hunts are also present. Players can choose from various fictional operators from real-life counter-terrorism units around the world each with unique abilities and gadgets. The planning stage is known as the preparations stage now and players can choose various routes to complete objectives. Players will have to use the environment and surrounding to their advantage as they are now destructible and can be penetrated.

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Rainbow Six: Extraction (2022)

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Rainbow Six: Extraction is set several years after a limited-time event in Siege where there was the outbreak of the Chimera Parasite. The Parasite has now evolved into the Arch├Žans, a more advanced form. Team Rainbow’s new REACT team is tasked with hunting the Arch├Žans and finding a way to stop them.

Players can choose a team of up to three players with returning operators from Siege. They need to complete various tasks known as ”Incursions” in the specific deployed zones and survive the AI enemies. The health status of the operators is a major emphasis here as players will need to keep a certain amount of health from using those operators again. Other features like destructible environments and bullet penetration also return in Extraction.