Rainbow Six Siege is the latest game to join the ever-growing list of online-only multiplayer shooters with a unique blend of explosive gameplay, tactical planning, and an interesting progression system, but does it search and destroy the opposition, or does it crash and burn?
Rainbow Six Siege at its core is essentially Counter Strike: Global Offensive but with more polished and fancy graphics, a keen focus on the operatives you play as, and of course, more explosive close quarters gameplay. But the comparisons are very hard to ignore.
Players take the role of either terrorists or counter terrorists. While one team defends either a bomb site, a bio-hazard container, or a hostage, the other team must figure out the best way to execute the mission, either by taking down the enemy team, or defusing the bomb/container.
Where the two games differ is that Rainbow Six Siege has the terrorist team barricade themselves in, set up defences, and baton-down the hatches, while the anti-terrorist group send in a gang of remote-controlled drones to scout the area. If successful the anti-terrorist squad will have some idea of how to tackle the mission, if however the opposing squad manages to set up defences quick enough, the anti-terrorists will have to go in blind.
One thing that’s fantastic about Rainbow Six Siege is that no matter how many times you play the bomb defusal or the hostage rescue mode, it’ll never get old as every game is different. This is party due to the game switching out lobbies after every game, the sheer number of Operators which can be chosen, once unlocked, and the random placement of each objective on each map.
There’s an impressive amount of replayability in Rainbow Six Siege, providing you can find players with decent connections to play with. As with all multiplayer-only shooters, Siege suffers the same problems and that’s finding other players who have decent connections. A problem I’ve faced a few times during both the closed and open beta, and the final release. Fortunately these problems come on rare occasions, but when they arrive they can make the game almost unplayable, which is a real pain in the ass.
Speaking of players, Rainbow Six Siege also suffers with the problem of rage quitters often leaving your team in the lurch when someone isn’t happy with the situation. Due to the game’s one-life nature, mistakes can often have you watching the game unfold while you twiddle your thumbs, which for some, just isn’t good enough and often leave half-way through a game. The good news is that players are drafted in pretty quickly to replace rage-quitters, but this takes away all feeling of having a solid team.
Siege suffers with the whole “when it’s good, it’s good, but when it’s bad it’s incredibly bad,” gameplay. For example, if you’re thrown in with a communicative team who actually work together to complete the objective and making use of their Operatives unique skills, games can be incredibly fun. However, on the complete opposite of that, when players decide to just storm in all guns blazing, things can go downhill in seconds. More often than not I was left shaking my head as the wannabe Leroy Jenkins ends up being turned into a cloud if red mist.
Thus is the problem with most team-based tactical shooters. If you find that your team is full of rage-quitting lone-wolves, you’re probably going to have a bad time. If however you have a team that uses the mic for something more than calling players “fags”, you’re probably going to experience the game as it’s supposed to be experienced, and it’s a ton of fun.
Graphically, Rainbow Six Siege looks fantastic, especially on PC, and that’s party thanks to NVIDIA’s work with Ubisoft to throw in all of the bells and whistles to make the most of its GeForce hardware.
Having played the game on a system running an Intel Core i5-4690K CPU at 3.5GHz with 20GB RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970, I can say that the game runs incredibly well and looks fantastic. On this system the game is pretty processor heavy for both the GPU and CPU, but even after a few hours gameplay, I never witnessed any problems, in fact things just got better once NVIDIA rolled-out their latest Game Ready Driver.
As someone who plays primarily on consoles, I will say that the game’s default keyboard configurations for the game are pretty fiddly, requiring someone with massive hands capable of both using WASD while holding down the “G” key. This isn’t aided by the fact that each Operator in the game has their own key bindings, which just adds to the confusion.
Considering players are required to think fast during both the pre-planning phase and the action phase, having the keys and buttons perform different things for each Operator is a nightmare. More often than not I’ve ended up placing my deployable shield instead of barbed wire, or instead of placing a breach charge, I’ve just opened up my Operators special ability.
Fortunately Rainbow Six Siege has the option to use a controller, and not only that, the added benefits of controller play are also here such as configurable axis speeds and aim assist, something which has often separated PC gamers and console gamers. This however doesn’t make the button configurations any more confusing, but at least I don’t need to be Shaquille O’Neal to comfortably reach them all.
The games Operators are just one of many reasons to keep playing, as there’s a huge number to choose from, each of which require the player to unlock via the in-game currency called Renown. This currency is earned at the end of each match and can be used to purchase new Operators as well as customise their Operators’ load out.
Each Operator has their own unique abilities which can aid both attacking and defending the objectives, as well as a number of weapons to choose from, from shotguns, automatic weapons, and of course, riot shields. These tools can all be used to make detecting enemies or defending enemies a doddle, if they’re used correctly. However, as previously mentioned, these only work if the players using these Operators use them correctly. There’s no point having a player play as Doc, the game’s medic Operator, if they’re only going to bugger off and seal themselves into their own room.
The same goes for Mute, another defender who comes with a pack of Jammers which not only jam remote explosives, but also stops the Attackers’ drones from getting anywhere near the objective. There’s no point placing the Jammers after the objective has been discovered as their drones have probably found themselves a comfortable spot under a unit and is being used to spot your every move.
Of course, I could argue all day as to how each Operator should be correctly used, but that’s just my opinion, other players probably have reasons for doing what they do, they just don’t communicate the fact. One of the biggest problems for this, and any other game which relies on other players to work together.
Fortunately, if you’re sick of people not working as a team, you could take on the game’s Terrorist Hunt mode, a mode which is being touted as the game’s “single player” mode, but still requires an Internet connection in order to play. Alas, always-online complaints aside, Terrorist Hunt is a great place for you to test your skills against AI controlled enemies, but it’s not easy, and you need to keep your wits about you. It’s also a great co-operative mode for you and your party, provided you work together…
Speaking of single player, Rainbow Six Siege does kind-of come with a campaign, albeit a pretty shoehorned one. Though it doesn’t contain a story, the Situation modes acts as a sort of tutorial where you’re presented with a scenario and a number of challenges to complete. Though it’s by far a solid replacement for a campaign, for those wanting to get away from the trails of online play and want to scrub up on gameplay tactics, the Situation mode is pretty solid, in that respect.
Overall Rainbow Six Siege is a pretty solid multiplayer shooter, one that I can see myself playing for a long time to come, and with a year of additional content planned in the form of both free maps, and paid-for Operators, I can see this sitting up there as one of my favourite multiplayer shooters for a while. Sure, you can never really rely on your team, unless you’re in a squad of friends, but that doesn’t stop the game, at least for me, from shining bright.
This review is written based on the PC and Xbox One versions of Rainbow Six Siege provided by the reviewer and Ubisoft, respectively.