Rainbow Six Siege Review

Attempting to breach into Esports.

Rainbow Six: Siege is the answer to a call to get a new title in the long standing series, after Rainbow Six: Patriots met an untimely end. Ushered in a little while after the introduction of this console generation, Rainbow Six: Siege seems to be the answer to the trend of multiplayer only, hero shooters. But where games like Battleborn and Evolve languished, Rainbow Six: Siege has seen a modicum of success.

GAMEPLAY

Rainbow Six is fantastically violent. The frenetic battle that echoes throughout every map as bullets are flying and tangos are being mowed down is just… It’s amazingly fun. Blasting your way through a map is just stupidly entertaining, and when you have a good team at your side, you’ll feel invincible. I mean, just look at what you can do…

Never have I seen such wonderful destruction since the days of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 or Red Faction. Need a hole to pounce through and take out someone on the other side? Just make one. Hear someone on the other side of a door? Just go ahead and fire through it.

Speaking of doors though, there aren’t any. Apparently they’ve all been removed to facilitate the use of magic wooden barricades that just roll down like a pair of blinds and are secured in place with a couple nails. Actually, while we’re on the subject; I’m not sure what sort of nails these Operatives and terrorists use, but they must be incredibly strong to require sustained gunfire or explosives to breach through. Also, who is designing all of these buildings with exposed hatches between floors?

Yes, I realize it’s a game, but Tom Clancy titles used to be more focused on realism. I’ll get to that bit later.

Despite the shift from grounded gunplay to an arcade style, it’s still ridiculously fun to play. The controls are tight and movement is pretty intuitive. Abilities are tied to specific controls and displayed directly on the screen, which make it pretty easy to figure out how to get a hang of things. It’s a good thing too, because Rainbow Six: Siege just kinda tosses you into the deep end.

PRESENTATION

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Sometimes things don’t go according to plan

For a game from 2015, that saw a few delays in development, Rainbow Six: Siege looks pretty good. Not breathtaking by any means, but good. The appearance really shines in is the destruction of materials, where walls break and splinter under the stresses of gunfire and explosions, and tangos burst into crimson sprays when bullets are applied to them. If I have any complaints about the visuals, it’d be that the HUD is fairly cluttered with extraneous information, even if you turn everything off. In my experience, not many people make use of the compass, markers, drones, or health bar information at all. The only “healer” Operator, “Doc”, is often taken by players that neglect to do anything resembling healing.

There’s great detail in the audio however, with so much aural information that aids players in combat. Ubisoft make great use of directional sound, making it possible to hear where enemies are based on the noise they make. Sure, that’s something that many games have, but in a tactical shooter like Rainbow Six: Siege, it’s imperative to know where fire is coming from as soon as possible.

Interestingly enough however, it’s still remarkably buggy to this day. Playing on some modes puts you at the mercy of the host, where a bad connection can cause the match to terminate without warning. Rainbow Six: Siege is best played with a perfect connection, otherwise you might as well prepare yourself for headaches galore.

ORIGINALITY

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Ubisoft definitely wanted to go a different route with Rainbow Six: Siege

There’s a certain feel to Rainbow Six: Siege that is hard to shake. Matches are quick, lasting roughly five to fifteen minutes, and the time in between matches is usually limited to about a minutes (even when playing “offline”, oddly enough). With each Operative possessing unique abilities, a heavier focus on PvP multiplayer, and the arcade style action; it’s pretty clear the direction that Ubisoft was trying to make Rainbow Six: Siege an Esports title.

This difference between Rainbow Six: Siege and the rest of the series definitely set sit apart, and whether or not that is a good thing for you as a player depends on what you value you in a Rainbow Six title.

STORY AND MULTIPLAYER

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These 11 missions are the closest you’ll get to a campaign

Uh… Well, let’s go ahead and skip to the multiplayer.

Wait, no. No, let’s not. I need to address the fact that Rainbow Six: Siege doesn’t have a single player component that’s on par with the rest of the series.

Single player was pared back in Rainbow Six: Siege to a great degree, with the only single player options being going Lone Wolf on Terrorist Hunt, or participating in the Situations missions. So let’s talk about the Situations for a moment.

Situations in Rainbow Six: Siege are solo efforts that have specific objectives and challenges associated with them. Each different Situation puts you in the shoes of one of the Operators, and pits you against a team of enemies and a timer. The Situations can be harrowing, and certainly difficult, but there’s no substance to them. The purpose of these missions function as a tutorial to the game, and that’s basically it.

There’s no campaign to speak of, no context for what’s going on. The only Situation that points to any potential Rainbow Six: Siege might’ve had would be the final mission, Article 5. However, the excellently crafted Article 5 mission is the only mission that comes close to the legacy of the previous games. Upon finishing that mission, it’s over. You’re treated to a cutscene that showcases a game that could’ve been, only to realize that the only thing left for you is simple carnage.

Playing in Terrorist Hunt mode doesn’t afford you many customization options offline. You can choose to avoid certain game modes, like bomb defusal or hostage rescue if you wish, but filtering out matches on the fly isn’t possible. Playing Lone Wolf doesn’t give you any flexibility either, forcing you to contend with the same level of difficulty as if you had a team of four people behind you; no AI companions to back you up, no split screen co-op… Just you.

At least there’s multiplayer to add something to the game.

Multiplayer in Rainbow Six: Siege takes the structure of a 5v5 multiplayer game, where players are pitted against each other to defuse or guard a bomb, rescue or secure a hostage, or simply wipe out the opposing team. It feels close to being a hero shooter more than a traditional Tom Clancy title, but for the most part it works. Well, when it actually works. God help you if you’re playing a mode that isn’t popular on that particular day. I also have a hard time believing that there aren’t four other people wanting to play Terrorist Hunt on Realistic difficulty.

The good news is that when you get to play, it’s actually really fun. Jumping into battle with four others and completely wrecking a house to get to the tangos is a blast, both literally and figuratively. Each Operator has unique characteristics that help make them useful in specific situations, but you’ll quickly learn that some are vastly superior to others.

WILDCARD: RAINBOW SIX HEROES

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The elite “Blue Team” of Team Rainbow

If you’ve played previous Rainbow Six titles, you’re probably acquainted with a giant catalog of firearms, full character customization, a team that operates in the shadows as a singular unit, and a game grounded in realism.

Not so much with Rainbow Six: Siege. Each operative only can uses a couple different firearms a piece and retains their association with their original counter-terrorism unit. Character customization is extremely limited as well, and also locked behind a paywall. There were also a number of concessions that Ubisoft made with Rainbow Six: Siege in the realism department, like changing the way that destruction worked from the original trailer where the idea originally was to allow destruction of just about surface. Additionally, boarding up windows and setting barricades is a snap, but likely for the sake of making gameplay less of a chore.

Unlocking DLC Operatives without paying for them with cold hard cash though… Holy crap. I can understand having it available as a paid unlock to some degree, but it takes forever to save up enough Renown to afford even just one DLC character. Don’t worry though; you can unlock them without spending any Renown by paying $20 for the Year 1 Operatives, or $30 for the Year 2 Operatives.

I just lament the changes a little I guess.

Revelations

The key to having a good time with Rainbow Six: Siege is to let go of any of your attachments to the series proper. Despite being pared back a great deal, it’s still frantic fun, as long as you’re looking for a fairly basic multiplayer experience. I’d still love to see Ubisoft make a Rainbow Six title that is a little closer to the roots of the series, but that may be a pipe dream at this point.

At least there’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands to hope for…

 

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