You’ll be under a lot of pressure when you play Rainbow Six Siege. Mostly good pressure. Ubisoft has managed to bring something new into the team-based shooter scene, but is it a change for the better? For some time now shooters have been putting more and more emphasis on their multiplayer modes. We see less of a story and a developed single-player experience, and more fast-paced multiplayer action that caters for the eSports crowd. The new Rainbow Six doesn’t break that mold, but does fill an space left empty of most of its competitors.
The single-player mode doesn’t offer much. It’s basically the same experience as the multiplayer one, only we’re just one man against a group of bots. Ubisoft expects you to invite your friends to join you, thus turning it into a sort of co-op mode. No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t find a way to invite random people to join me in the campaign. The only way for you to play with others is if you invite someone from your list of friends. You must be asking yourselves why I keep mentioning other players when writing about the single-player mode. After all, the entire idea of “single-player” is playing by one’s self. Well, I would have played solo if the missions were in any way scaled or a single player to take them on. The story missions pits you against a house of not-so-bright AI terrorists. They are told where to stand and where to patrol, so even if you die the first time around, you’ll know when to find them next time. Generally speaking, the single-player mode is nothing more than a weak tutorial from the multiplayer mode, and not a proper campaign.
Populating these teams are Operators. Each Operator has its own abilities and place in the team. Let me give you some examples: on the attacking side you have Operators that can blow holes in walls and barriers, Operators that can neutralize enemy traps, and Operators with heavy armor and shield that can serve as a sort of Tank while the others return fire. On the defending side there are Operators that can deploy metal barriers on walls or doors, Operators that can booby-traps said walls or doors, and Operators that can enhance the armor of their teammates. These are but a handful of the available Operators, and you’ll unlock more and more as the game progresses.
The main attraction then is the multiplayer. There’s only one basic mode which s a sort of an enhanced Team Deathmatch combined with elements from other familiar modes. You have one attacking team and one defending team. The attacking team needs to rescue a hostage or disable a bomb, and the defending team needs to prevent them from doing it. Pretty straightforward. To tell you the truth, very few matches I played actually ended with the attacking team having achieved their goal. Most of the time, the match ended with one team wiping out the other.
What makes Siege such a fun game are the length and complexity of each match. For beginner or observers, the game seems rather simple – you just find the other team and shoot them down. But once you play together with a team that actually knows what it’s doing, a team where every Operator knows his place and job, you all of a sudden realize just how tactical and super intense this game is. You don’t need to be the best shot, but the best at working together with the rest of your team. Each match lasts around 3 minutes, which makes every one of them short and intense. If you are on the defending side, you’re consistently eyeing the walls and doors, waiting for them to explode with fiery doom. On the attacking side, all you can think about is the best way to breach the parameter and take out as many as you can in the confusion. The moment the two teams finally meet, the match is pretty much over. The maps are all arranged to have multiple routes and many ways to approach each scenario. Since every match is short, and you keep unlocking new Operators, you always feel like you have ways to improve and to shake things up, even though the gameplay itself is rather limited.
The final mode is Terrorist Hunt. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to play it very often, since I couldn’t find people to play it with. This mode is pretty much the same as the single-player experience, only this time you’re the one who needs to fend off waves of AI Operators. The problem is the AI simply isn’t challenging enough. It knows when to break or shot through walls to get to you, but other than that its pretty dumb. It also isn’t the best shot, making each encounter with enemy Operators a breeze. If you do decide to gather a group of friends and play Terrorist Hunt, be sure to ramp the difficulty level way up.
As far as graphics go, we’ve already seen better this generation. Still, the game has a unique visual style to it that fits its overall vibe. In team-based games, each team usually has its own color or distinct look. In Siege, you still get the blue and orange colors to distinguish the teams from one another, but the Operators themselves all wear natural colors. It’s sometimes hard to make that split-second decision if you should shoot the Operative that just turned the corner or not – and yes, Friendly Fire is always on. This is also true for gadgets and traps. Some obviously belong to the rival team, but with some the distinction isn’t so clear. If you shot down a gadget in order to neutralize it, you might lose some points if it belonged to one of your teammates. It all serves to enhance that general feeling of anxiety Siege is so good at creating, and forces you to think before you act.
Is Rainbow Six Siege the best team-based shooter in the market today? Probably not. However, it does feel like the beginning of something truly great. It is a tactical shooter that puts as much emphasis on skill and instinct as it does on planning ahead and working as a team. If you’re looking for a fast-paced, intense multiplayer game, that rewards ingenuity and skill – this is the game for you.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.