December 21, 2015

Rainbow Six Siege - Review

Right off the bat, you need to know one thing about Rainbow Six Siege, it is no Rainbow Six game, what it is, is still a great game, but it lacks anything that connects to the older games.

Rainbow Six Siege lets you experience a variety of online game modes, in a 5v5 setting with players given a small window of time to get things ready. When playing on the side of the counter-terrorists, you can launch little drones to survey the space and attempt to locate your objective and if you are on the side of the terrorists, then you can fortify your position, or create obstacles for your enemies to avoid. What is different here is that in past games, you were given almost unlimited time to survey the land and plan your attack, there was even the option to command other members of your squad to have them attack at the same time as yourself, to create pincer moves. While some semblance of the planning remains, it lacks none of the depth found in older entries of the series.

The lack of in depth before mission tactical awareness is going to put off some long-time fans from the game, but the preparation time that is here does bring the game into the modern shooter period and as it has been over 7 years since the last game in the series, it had a lot of ground to cover. When you are actually playing the matches, depending on which game mode you are playing, things will play out a little differently, the most common match type that I played was team deathmatch, which plays out just like you would expect, but it actually plays a little more like Counter Strike in that regard, with players having to wait until the next turn before they are able to fight again. This method of deathmatch actually works two ways, first it punishes players who run out guns blazing, forcing them to wait a long time for their next turn and the other way is that players are meant to be methodical, tactical in how they approach a room, a corner, etc.

Checking your corners is a military tactic and it plays a crucial role here, while a lot of players might check one every now and again, in Siege, it is something that you will need to teach yourself to do with each room you enter. As the terrorists can set up barriers over doors, lay down rolls of barbed wire and other inconveniences, it might look at times like the room is sealed tight, but again this plays into the game itself, as some Rainbow operatives will actually have the ability to make an entrances where they like. Sledge carries around with him a very large sledge hammer and can take out large sections of walls, granting players access to the room. This then requires the players to check the corners again, as you never know when an enemy might be. Of course the flip side to this is when you are playing as a terrorist, you can attempt to direct players where you want, but you never know which wall they might come through to get you. All of this can be negated if you have a team of players ready to help, something that is harder to get than first appears.

Playing as a team is the most critical function here, if you don’t you won’t survive, it is as simple as that. There were quite a number of matches that I played where I was matched up with random people and while there is an adjustment period, they usually ended the same way, with one or two players running off to do their own thing and the team failing as a result. If your team is not working as one, you had better hope the opposing team is as well, because whenever I fought against a team that was working together the results were never in my favour. Of course, as you level up, you will be granted the blessing of playing against players who take the game seriously, therefore are going to play as a team. When you are playing as a team, the game feels incredible, executing moves as one is perhaps the most satisfying feeling you get in the game, being able to take down a bad guy, rescue a hostage, it just feels wonderful. Of course, being able to join into a match like that will require you to be proficient at the game, which means joining a ranked match and to do that you need to be level 25. While that might seem like a high number, by the time you do get to that level, you won’t find yourself plagued by players who refuse to play as one.

The other two game modes are Hostage Rescue and Bomb Defusal, which are similar in their approach but very different in their execution. In hostage rescue the main goal is locating the hostage and then get them to an extraction point, this can be easy if you kill all the enemies first, or very hard if they are left standing. The big thing here is you can’t blind shoot through walls, as you might hit the hostage, so you really need to ensure you have scoped out where they are in the beginning, fail to do that and it becomes a lot harder. Bomb defusal is actually a much more challenging game mode as it needs you to locate a chemical bomb and then defuse it, but the defuse is not some 5 second task, it generally will take around 40 seconds and you need to defend it the entire time, which means you are stuck in one location, making you the proverbial sitting duck. This is probably the weakest of the three modes and while fun, you will likely not play it that much.

For those looking to keep things offline, or maybe just playing with a mate, Terror Hunt returns to the series, which can offer some fun diversions, playing here will set you objectives to complete, be it killing a set number of enemies, surviving for a set length of time or locating a defusing a bomb hidden somewhere in the map. What is important about this mode is that they missions are not connected at all by any sort of story, in fact there is no story to be found here at all, the storied campaigns past is all but a distant memory and that is a real shame, when you are using the name Tom Clancy and you don’t have a story, you are surely missing out. What makes it even worse though is that the AI is not the best, they can put up a fight for sure, but if you take out one of them, another will usually run to take their place. There were some instances of AI in the same room taking no precautions to defend themselves from my attacks, which can take the wind of out things.

Across the games 11 maps, there is plenty of ways to explore and create tactical options for you, but that all pales in comparison to the 20 available characters available for you to use in game. As you level up, you will unlock additional characters and a small introduction video will play on them, giving you an idea of their perks available for you to use. Sledge as mentioned before can take down large sections of walls pretty easily, while Thermite can use explosives on re-enforced doors, each operator has a benefit to using them and they also have a weakness to another type, so there is a little strategy going on there. While there are 10 avatars per side, only one of each time can be used per match, so while it’s nice to have a go to, if someone else gets there first, you had better be prepared to use someone else. As you level up, you will earn renown points, which you can use to unlock gear, should you be a few points shy for something and you can’t wait another level, you can use real world money to buy more points, but it is not something you will need to do, if you don’t want to.

The game itself generally looks very nice, the weapons are the stars of any shooter game, but there they play a more subdued role, they are of course important, but the star is the locations themselves. While the 11 maps are different in their styles, they all stick to a similar structure, multiple stairs, ingress points and so on, but what makes them fun to play on is that at any time a wall could be blown away, leaving a new door way, boarded up windows that were safe to be near can be exposed to create a line of sight for a sniper. As the environment changes, things can get quite chaotic, ensuring that most matches won’t stagnate and players will get lots of things to experience. Sound wise, the guns sound right, using silencers and such can have a different effect on the noise created depending on where it is fired from, with grenades and breach charges providing a lot of bang, once things get going, it can be hard to locate anyone.

While to me this is not a Rainbow Six game, it is at its core a very fun game, as long as you can find a good group to play with. The reliance on team work is a blessing and a curse and while it’s nice that a shooter is not all about copying Call of Duty, it feels like a missed chance to build something truly unique.

Thanks to Ubisoft for supplying the game for review

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