When I first played Rainbow Six back in 1998, I was hooked. Detailed tactical gunplay that forced you to take your time and plan your attack.
Over the last decade due in part to the popularity of games like Call of Duty the amount of games that tested your tactical thinking where diminishing quickly, to be replaced by titles requiring lightning-quick reflexes.
But over the last 17 years, Rainbow Six has remained pretty true to it’s roots, it didn’t please everybody when the planning phase was removed, but the actual gameplay has remained at the core, and with innovations such as tactical online team play (RS3) Persistent Elite Creation from Lockdown, (Which later became known by kids and COD Fan-boys as the ‘Call of Duty ranking system’) and a near perfect cover system in RS Vegas, The Rainbow Six series has always been a personal favorite of mine, So what about Rainbow Six Siege, and is the decision to leave out a full campaign really a good move.
Rainbow Six Siege started life as Patriots, but due to the move to next gen consoles, the name was changed, and the idea of a storyline and campaign was dropped, Siege aims directly for the online multiplayer and seems to have it’s sights lined up for a headshot.
First off it’s easiest to explain the game modes, Hostage rescue see’s a VIP located on the map which has to be defended by one team, and extracted to a certain location by the other, Bomb defusal gives 2 bombs both of which need to be defused, while the defending team must wipeout the attackers, or defend the explosives until the timer reaches zero. Finally Terrorist hunt classic is a terorist hunt mode where you simply have to defeat all of the enemies.
So looking into game modes, and the above becomes a little clearer, Firstly ‘Situations’ is your offline single player experience, a short blast of mini-missions which require you to complete one of the above objectives alone, within each mission you’ll be on a set map with a specific operator, Situations shouldn’t be seen as anything more than a training mode, there’s 3 challenges in each, and while it does add a little longevity the main reasoning is to make the task in hand a little bit more difficult or time sensitive which will force you to play a little more tactical.
Onwards to Terrorist hunt which is a mode where you play in a team of 5 and have a core objective with a few dozen AI enemies trying to stop you, and thankfully this can also be tackled lone wolf, or with just a few friends in your party if you prefer not to have random online players fill the extra slots, Terrorist hunt is a long-time staple in the series due to what has generally been high quality artificial intelligence in the past, and you’ll be pleased to know the AI is once again top-notch, of course this doesn’t mean it’s perfect, but after many, many hours of T-Hunts, I can’t remember a single instance where I was disappointed with the AI. Actually I’ll happily declare it’s some of the best system intelligence I’ve seen i a long time, they’re alert and tactical,and while on normal difficulty they’re far from sharpshooters when you ramp the difficulty up to Hard or Realistic you’ve really got to take your time and check those corners.
Obviously with time you’ll think you’ve got the hang of it, you might even be able to run through the occasional Realistic hunt without too much trouble, but that’s where online multiplayer comes in, because in the world of online gaming, theres (nearly) always someone bigger, and better.
Online games are made of of two teams of 5, and are this time preceded by a short preparation time, where the defending team have chance to fortify their location with reinforced walls, trip mines, and tactical positioning. Meanwhile the attacking team control a rolling drone fitted with a live feed which allows you to monitor the situation and try to locate the objective.
This is where the tactical play starts, run in randomly and you might fall lucky, but organise your approach with your team and you’ll easily cover the entire map between you, with good communication a defending team might take most drones and make the task in hand a little tougher, whereas if it’s the attacking team playing tactically with good communication, even if a drone is shot and disabled, they might already have relayed the position to their comrades.
After this preperation, the round begins, and as an Attacker you’ll start at your chosen entry point and make your way to the objective, this can be made tough if the defenders know the map and popular entry points, so it’s best mix up your tactics, obviously there’s a heavy emphasis on tactics, and a team that can co-ordinate their attacks and entry points will easily be able to complete the objective, however likewise for the defenders, if you know the entry points, and take up good defensive positions, working together reaps it’s rewards.
Things take another step to tactical-ville with the selection of operators, you’ll initially unlock one, but gameplay gives you renown which is then used to unlock more operators, each operator has a specialty and his/her own set of weapons, to make the most, you’ll have to unlock various attachments to silence, add a scope or reduce recoil of your preferred weapon. With a wide selection of popular guns and plenty of options for those preferring a pistol or riot shield, the weapons alone are a tough choice, but this is balanced with the specialty your chosen operator has, and altogether there’s twenty to choose from, two attackers, and two defenders from each of 5 special forces.
From Glaz with his unique weapon allowing a hot-switching scope, Fuse who carries a penetrating cluster charge to blow up inside a room from outside, or maybe I.Q who can pull up a device to read electrical devices nearby. Attacking can depend greatly on your chosen operators, as Fuse and I.Q might not be as good if you’re trying to find a hostage, while others like Blitz equipped with his flash inducing riot shield prove useful on any mission if controlled by a guy who knows who to use it.
On the other side of the spectrum, defenders have an equally tough choice, reinforced barricades are great if there’s limited entry points, but place them wrong and you might be inviting the enemy in, while Smoke can lay down remote gas canisters to gas out the attacking force, but place them poorly and they’ll be disabled before you even know the enemies outside and ready to blow through that window behind you, No matter what Rainbow Six Siege is a tactical genius, it’s such a simple formula which is balanced to near perfection making it great fun especially if your on or against an equally skilled team, but even when the odds are tipped, there’s more than enough chance to make one good round that can turn the tides of the match and this will keep you playing, especially when you step up to Realistic Terrorist hunts, capturing every star from the Situations and Ranked matches online, add to this the promised DLC, While many Publishers prefer to lock sections of the game away behind paid access, Ubisoft have made the welcome move of making all future DLC, Maps, Modes and operators completely free, For those wanting early access with the additional bonus of some R6 credits (used to unlock some fancy weapon skins) then there’s still a moderately priced season pass, but anyone stepping into Rainbow six Siege will know that they’ll still be able to play with their friends regardless of who does or doesn’t pay for the season pass.
Finally we’ll look at how it all looks, some will have mixed opinions on the graphics, they’re not perfect, there’s a few loose textures, and maybe not as sharp as some other titles, however when you’ve spent a little time with Siege you realize that they’re actually very good, very very good, not because of how sharp or over-saturated things are, but because of the amount going on, dust effects, destructible environments, window barricades blowing through while your colleague shoots a hole in the floor to take out an enemy below, While some objects can’t be moved, there’s nothing stopping you crouching behind a counter and shooting some pans off the top to give you a tactical advantage, and when you take into account little details like picture frames hanging off the wall, the few graphical shortfalls aren’t just forgiven they’re completely forgotten about and most importantly it all runs to near-perfection.
I will mention that due to the overwhelming demand and popularity Ubisoft did have a few server issues at launch effecting matchmaking on both PS4 and Xbox One, thankfully a patch was quickly released which fixes 99% of the issues.