Review: Rainbow Six Siege
Tom Clancy novels are a premonitory in their approach to their title’s gameplay, because the substance of a game is defined by its constitution, its position in relation to a genre, and how to substitute to give it the unexpected twist that would alter the videogame landscape. With Rainbow Six, Tom Clancy reinvented the concept of superheroes, those who don’t wear pantyhose and fly in the winds with their cloaks, but normal men who uses wit and sophisticated equipment and Kevlar armor. Those men are part of Special Forces and intelligence services which task is to overcome terrorist attacks in the world. Clancy has always dressed his books with a symptomatic narrative power with a much-documented story and rich in action. With Rainbow Six Siege, Ubisoft drops their latest take on the novel, with a goal to immerse players in a series they had not seen for 8 years now. Is it a winning return?
Rainbow Six Siege is a game that is surprising in many ways. It has the muscle and feline allure when it introduces its new in game modularity but with enough generosity. Do not run away if you think that thereby we proclaim that this first-person shooter is a casual one. It is a much more nuanced thing than that. Because like any good shooter, it is the hours of practice on the maps in this new episode that will define the tone of your experience and its value in the end. An experience that might not amuse the less serious player, even if it falls to the specific needs of that production on a single bullet point, that of an online game.
Such is the price of a game that may be seem cumbersome for many potential players to try, it is a proven fact the content of Rainbow Six Siege at launch is still not really fleshed out, but Ubisoft promises weekly side challenges and some free DLC content during its first year. As a further follow-up, Rainbow Six Siege will need it, much like all dedicated online games which have their little bugs that create these dissatisfactions which can turn into true disappointment. But in its primary constitution, in its ambition of being a tactical shooting game, I love to see the basics of the Rainbow Six franchise, because it speaks the language of the purist loaded with passion.
I love to see the basics of the Rainbow Six franchise, because it speaks the language of the purist loaded with passion
To embark on the game and as surprising as it may seem, Rainbow Six Siege propose to get hold of a heavily made-up tutorial for a tour of its many possibilities. Many sneer and say that few shooters usually need a tutorial, but Rainbow Six Siege has the vocation rather to consider teaching you the genre once again, after a series of very “arcade” oriented shooters released in the past couple of years. The Situation Mode is for many an introduction to the basics of the game and the model of the Rainbow Six series. You are going to have to go through eleven maps, which are all forms of game modes the player can encounter in multiplayer, in addition to introducing the characters that will be a key role in the game: Operators.
The latter are all different, and it is up to the players to choose which one to embody depending on their abilities. In total, 20 of these operators are all based from elite units of international Special Forces (the French GIGN, United States of America’s SWAT, Russian Spetsnaz, or German GSG9 and Birtish SAS) and are distinguished by physical features or very specific abilities to use sparingly during games.
The operators are even more than just characters, and could even be considered heroes. With the popularity of eSports in the world of gaming, and of course known titles like League of Legends or Dota 2 as references, Rainbow Six Siege uses the MOBA ideology of its heroes in their game, which makes sense as long as it meets a certain balance and a sense of practicality.
Through Situation mode, players discover the joys of using tactical scout drones and handling explosives to create gaps in the maps’ walls. Also notice that the AI of the game is acceptable in realistic mode (the highest mode of difficulty of Siege) as the latter will still miss some of its shots when covered by a smoke grenade. Thus you’ll have to go through multiple situations – thus the mode’s name – such as rescuing a hostage, defuse a bomb, clean a building from terrorists, ranking through levels and earning rewards for finishing side objectives to get more Renown points, the in-game currency. Yes, because like MOBA titles, you will need to unlock the operator you want to use for multiplayer, as well as using this currency to customize your weapons, add accessories and change skins and camos.
Playable as a single player mode, Situation is where the player will learn to adopt the tactical patterns that will help him throughout multiplayer. This is also the chance to learn the maps, and the destructive elements of the scenery, which is an important layer of the game design: the environment is mostly destructible, as an attacker you could be sledgehammering a wall to breach a room of enemies, or at the same time you can setup barricades and reinforce these same walls as the defender. Indeed because traditionally, Rainbow Six pits two teams in an asymmetric gameplay, but the backbone of the game is the map on which these players evolve. While some maps are fairly traditional and consists of a central building in the middle of an urban area, we get to try out more exotic landscapes such as a 747 jumbo jet.
Maps are highly built on giving multiple options, and one of them is a lateral approach. You can use a grapple for example to reach a roof, and blow up the ceiling of the rooms under you, to penetrate more aggressively a bastion. This discursive possibility of destroying the most fragile walls makes the gameplay much more organic in Rainbow Six Siege. Depending on the material, Ubisoft physics engine accommodates both the cosmetic of the game and its gameplay. Creating holes in the walls for example gives visibility on crossings and paths that the opposing team will take which is greatly realistic thanks to a proper dispersion of projectiles weapons. With a small SMG holes will be tiny, while shotgun creates a gaping hole in the walls, perfect for a team shooting or barricade positioning.
The real purpose for the defensive team – usually the terrorist – is to keep the hostage in its camp, or protect your bomb – reassuring you that typical Team Deathmach is present – and for that you have the material and tools to protect yourself. Your team can deploy barbed wire, shield building doors or windows, put traps of all kinds ranging from toxic grenades to infrared explosives to become almost a passive aggressive team. All these capabilities are not available to all, as they depend on your Operators, and by allowing only a single profile to be used during a game, Ubisoft created this balanced debate for a team before the game. 20 operators, 10 attackers and 10 defenders, each with their customizable profiles are at your facility in order to give a real added value to the experience for teams and single players.
In addition, the whole dimension of the game makes sense when it is played in conjunction with people knowing how to communicate with you online. The game will have very little interest for lone wolves. Team cohesion reigns in Terrorist Hunt mode (a PVE game) or traditional PVP multiplayer. The tactical aspect of the game is enhanced by an impeccable ambience in sound weapons and 3D sounds such as footsteps on the lower or upper floors, wood that breaks, drill noise when deploying traps, which demands a sensory reflex from all players. The numerous sound feedback help locate and anticipate opponent’s movements, and at this level mind games works pretty well. A shot in a door as a diversion, to help your teammate counter from the back enemies is a rich experience. Take chances, small change of tactics, live or die for your team, it’s all up to you, but there’s a hitch.
Rainbow Six Siege plays mostly without respawning
Like Counter Strike or Search and Destroy on Call of Duty, Rainbow Six Siege plays mostly without respawning. This development will disturb the FPS hotheads, but Rainbow Six Siege emphasize on making sure teams take each action in a coordinated and precise fashion, adding tension and taunt. When a player dies, he can still participate in the game and help his teammates via drones. These cameras will give extensive information for your team to stay alive and on point, but it is not an overpowered feature – as I was afraid it would be – since the opposing team can shoot down these cameras.
So all these features are swell, but what is the problem with this game? Well, like most title nowadays, Rainbow Six Siege is rather filled bugs that can sometime ruin the experience. Glitch textures, connectivity issues stopping you from reaching the game servers, long matchmaking, being stuck at spawn, etc. I hope that all of that will be fixed in the future with game updates and patches. But the point which may make you cringe is the micro transactions system and prices of the elements you can buy. Although you could grind the game to collect a lot of Renown point, the reality is that the grind will be insanely long in comparison to other game.
Which brings use to the topic of boosters, although mechanically efficient to get more renown points, are only available through real life currency, which can stack, thus pushing some of the least serious players to abuse and unlock weapons and accessories faster. Ubisoft has confirmed being very careful at this level on micro-transaction, but during my playing sessions, I have not been able see this intention. Nevertheless, Rainbow Six Siege will be built over time, as long as its servers stay alive and stable, because it is a game with enough potential and personality to convince any kind of FPS player.
Rainbow Six Siege was reviewed using an Xbox One downloadable copy of the game provided by Ubisoft Middle East. The game is also available on PlayStation 4 and PC. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published
• A calibrated gameplay
• The variety of Operator roles
• Destruction of scenery is not only cosmetic
• Maps are smartly designed
• A game that emphasize teamplay
• The well contextualized soundstrack
• Weapons training available for you to try gear out
• Some bugs and glitches can be quite disturbing
• The pricing range of the extra content is over the top