REVIEW: Rainbow Six Siege

“I’ll respawn in 5 and kill that sniper, and then I’ll top the scoreboard and carry my team to victory…what team?” The common thought that goes through many modern first person shooter players as they grind their way through games. Constantly being rewarded for common in-game actions. Mainstream titles such as Call of Duty, Battlefield and Battlefront give emphasis on individualism and the need to be a great individual player, rendering them as one-men-armies against everyone in the server. As dying becomes irrelevant and having the luxury of respawning back into the battlefield, the concepts of objective based gameplay, team cohesion and communication fly straight out of their barrels. In Rainbow Six: Siege, you won’t find any of this nonsense.

Only 2 months after its launch, Rainbow Six: Siege has become a game that a lot of people have come to hate or love. Earlier Tom-Clancy branded titles were well known for their tactical, methodical and unforgiving aspects of combat, and as Siege is not your staple Rainbow Six style based game, some fans are not too keen on it. Those on the other side of the spectrum however, love the new mix up of arcade style gameplay, coupled together with the original Rainbow Six DNA, of a skill-focused and forward thinking shooter.

Many have argued that what we have here is a mashup of the action-oriented Call of Duty and the skill-focused Counter-Strike, and that’s absolutely right. The lack of planning in Siege has forced more engagements and thus resulting in more action packed rounds. Some would suggest that this version of Rainbow Six is less tactical. If so, try playing without any strategy or teamwork and just see how you go. With the lack of planning in Siege, a feeling is instilled within the players that manifests a need to be constantly planning on the fly, as tactics are played on player perception and team adaptability. Resulting in suspenseful and intense moments that keep you locked on the trigger.

Currently Siege offers very little in single player content. Players are given 10 Scenario missions, set across 10 multiplayer maps. Each Scenario introducing players to 10 out of the 22 different operators, easing them into understanding the game mechanics. The scenarios, if anything act as a form of training or tutorial for new players, with the only other option for solo play being Terrorist Hunt. So if you are after the “story” and the big old happy ending instead of competitive online play, then this isn’t the type of Rainbow Six you want to be getting into.

Apart from the lack of solo player content, Rainbow Six: Siege is without a doubt, one of the most exciting and rewarding shooters to play right now. With the other solo player mode Terrorist Hunt, players can either play alone or party up with up to four players to tackle terrorists in limited health, one life situations. Forcing you and your team-mates to work cooperatively and decisively in order to succeed. It gives players an opportunity to test strategies and to become familiar with the different operators and their equipment. With each of the 22 operators being unique with their own skillsets and equipment, Siege gives off a slight feel of a team based action RPG hybrid shooter, where players must identify and effectively utilize the tools at their disposal. That being said, all operators must be unlocked through accumulating Renown, which is the in game currency for unlocking operators as well as weapon attachments and skins. Renown can be earned through completing Scenarios, Terrorist Hunt missions and multiplayer games.

Multiplayer Siege can be frustrating as well as rewarding. It’s not your average Situation tutorial or Terrorist Hunt match as it requires absolute teamwork and communication. Yes you will have the odd griefer here and there, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying multiplayer games. When the teamwork and communication comes together in multiplayer games, Siege becomes a great team vs team shooter. With a heightened sense of tension and a responsibility, players can be expected to be kept on their toes in well-coordinated team play.

The walls have eyes and ears! One of the most striking aspects of Siege is its buildings. Every map has been developed around multiple structures, creating flexibility in the attackers approach and how defenders protect their objectives. As boarded-up windows and doors disintegrate by gunfire or melee attacks, most surfaces – glass, ceramic, tile and wood can be penetrated by gunfire and breach charges as well. This makes for some exciting strategies for attacking entries. However, it also means that the defending team has a slight advantage, as the attacking team must come to them. The unpredictability in Siege makes for an exciting contest.

Sadly, Siege has some minor drawbacks, and the biggest might be Ubisoft itself. Microtransactions seem to be the way Ubisoft want to go about this game and the fact that you have to grind renown or pay with real money to earn operators, gun attachments and skins in a $80 retail title is comprehensible only in the literal sense. In other games such as, League of Legends or Heroes of the Storm, you can grind in game currency to buy characters or you can purchase them directly to unlock them. You could pay $80 of real-world money in either one of these games and come out with farm more immediately available content that is initially accessible in Siege.

Another drawback is the network issues around Siege. Every platform has seen connectivity issues, even in offline modes such as Scenarios. Many players have reported disconnections and party problems as well as matchmaking errors. But it doesn’t stop there. Yes Ubisoft has increased the tick rate of their servers from 30 to 60, however, there are incidents where bullets that seem to miss judging by their trails still hit or kill anyway. As well as moments where players have emptied their clips into an opponent, die to their opponent and the kill cam says that they have dealt no damage to their killer.

With time, the impatient players will leave for other things, while the more committed players will stick around. This is good, however, it will make for a more challenging game than it already is. Experience will be the teacher in Siege and at every death you’ll come to understand why you have died. Sometimes it could be that the other player is slightly better than you and in other cases you were just reckless and impatient. In game awareness is crucial and when you lose track of it, you can consider yourself a dead operator. The trick here is to get back in there and to stick with it. Learn from your mistakes, think about every death and how you could have approached it differently. This sort of thinking will make you a better player.

Rainbow Six Siege is as of now battling a troublesome fight to enforce a more methodical vision of a competitive shooter. It is a pity that the poor business decisions around Rainbow Six Siege will hinder it from becoming a great competitive FPS like Counter-Strike. However, there is hope as since its release there have been multiple updates to make Siege better. Rainbow Six Siege is a shooter with consequences, where bad positioning and poor decision making can leave you dead well before the enemy has even taken their shot. Against all other FPS titles available on the market, Rainbow Six Siege brings something refreshing to competitive FPS and it has definitely left its mark.