#Editor’s Note: This review takes a different perspective on Rainbow Six and as such doesn’t go into huge detail about multiplayer. Sarah is predominantly a single player gamer and her approach is based on that. These words are based on Sarah’s experience with the game and not necessarily the game as a whole.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege – Review
PC, Xbox One, PS4
I am the annoying priss who breaks all of the things; a bad habit that I have acquired from numerous dungeon crawlers and breaking in to houses as a young Kokiri child with an attention-seeking fairy. Rainbow Six: Siege pats me on the head for my destructive inner-child, then promptly takes a bullet and paints the other wall with a majority of my blood.
This is not the Rainbow Six that we are familiar with, where you guide your tactical weaponry through a campaign of swift justice. The badness seems ethereal and abstract, yet boasts the extremes of indiscriminate and primal violence. However, despite the bloodshed and bullets, the overarching evil is psychological. Angela Bassett describes Rainbow Six as “the shield that safeguards the civilised world from those who wish to do it harm”, without a hint of irony that you will spend a majority of your time dismantling every iota of protection available in the environment around you.
This is the crucial sell that can either fuel a player’s charge into certain danger, or cripple any desire to take a step forward; the reminder that the environments that we build, the safety that we believe is easily found in the confines of virtual gameplay, always have been a flimsy fabrication.
Isn’t it an interesting turn when you are not the person breaking the pots, but it is the receptacle of your own safety crumbling around you?
Rainbow Six: Siege prides itself on highlighting vulnerability in all of its forms. Walls collapse around you, the ground shakes, and the game environment no longer holds up invisible barriers. Credit is due to Ubisoft as the detail of each explosion and destructive strike is life-like and impactful. As for the missions, these do not have the same level of variation – you are either getting to a place, or trying to keep someone out of that place. The main game mode, “Hostage Rescue”, is a five-on-five battle of wills to either defend a hostage or attempt to rescue them. Confrontation is close and intimate as you tear buildings apart to meet your objective, and the hostage feels like a secondary priority to keeping your calm and not dying yourself. Of course, you can also utilise remote-control robots to make their way through buildings before you commit, but even this is a surprisingly tense experience. After several cautious entries followed by panicked flailing, I felt that my heart got a solid workout through the experience.
The destructible environment is not the gimmick we expected from the seven-year absence since Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 – the main highlight was to focus on the new-generation potential for multiplayer scenarios. Siege achieved this in the way that we all expected it would – by pouring as much time into the multiplayer as they can, without any significant single-player storyline.
In typical fashion of recent first-person shooters, the single player is greeted with tutorials to whet the solitary appetite (yes they are called “scenarios” but no they are tutorials. Come on, people – we have been here before). I had to go through this in Battlefront too, and it pains me that I am dealing with this again because making a tutorial (sorry SCENARIO) in no way prepares you for the kind of tactical experience that is required in multiplayer. Tutorialising (sorry scenario… wait … ‘scenariolising? No that’s not a word…) multiplayer feels cheap and controlling. It is the equivalent of your mother choosing your friends when you are seven years old rather than trusting the limited social skills that you have developed at that age.
If you want to go with a happy medium and focus on cooperative play, you and up to four other poor souls can hop to “Terrorist Hunt”, where you fight against waves of enemies controlled by the AI. As someone who had fun in Destiny’s Prison of Elders, I could see some similarities and this mode felt closer to a spirited shooter than the previous anxiety-fest and disappointment. You and your team are still considering stealth and strategy but get to be a bit more trigger-happy depending on the objective. Of course, this is going to have limitations for a random group who do not communicate with each other, but that is an inevitability of these sorts of multiplayer games.
Ubisoft Montreal have also taken inspiration from recent MOBAs by employing 20 various ‘operators’ with unique weapons, equipment, and nicknames that you suspect the characters picked for themselves. A guy with a hammer would of course want to be called Sledge because Thor is already trademarked, but surprisingly Doc is a doctor and not the owner of a DeLorean. Also common with MOBAs, you can pick up packs that provide extra experience boosts and weapon skins so that you can personalise your gameplay to reflect your … wallet.
Overall, Ubisoft have delivered a tactical shooter with enough differentiation to stand out from other shooters on the market – it encourages you to be slow not just to be “the thinking man’s shooter”, but also to revel in the heightened environmental awareness required to successfully complete your objectives. The question is whether there is enough there to warrant replay value without additional financial investment.
When Sarah was young, her brother complained that she “got through that final level of Super Mario World on a fluke.” Refining this skill, Sarah has continued to be successful purely by accident. Follow her on Twitter at @essieteric.