Breach and clear.
Back in the glory days of Xbox Live, Tom Clancy games were an event. I can remember spending countless hours with friends on GRAW, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, and of course, Rainbow Six. I was first introduced to the series on PC, which was a completely different beast than what it has become today. Rainbow Six Siege is the first game to hit the new consoles, and it has been a long-time coming. While it still retains that stressful mentality of past games, it is missing a few key elements that keep it from becoming an instant classic.
Right off the bat it needs to be said, Siege is not a game for the solo player. The lack of a campaign is disappointing for sure, but it has never been what this series was about. The game does have some options for those going alone though. There are ten missions labeled situations that pit the player against AI opponents in a series of tasks to teach the basic game mechanics. Terrorist Hunt can also be played solo, although it is certainly not the ideal way to play.
Platforms: XB1, PS4, PC
Price I’d Pay: $49.99
Rainbow Six Siege is a team-based game, and un-apologetically so. Everything is structured around this idea, and for those that take the time to learn it, there is truly nothing else like it. Intense situations are the foundation; characters are not bullet sponges, a twitch shooter this is not. This is a game that requires constant teamwork, so for players that unplug their mics, a good time will not be had.
The online mode focuses on two opposing teams either attacking or defending. The setup is simple, but what makes it interesting are the dynamics in place. The objectives can change, and depending on the map, there are multiple ways to tackle situations. On paper it sounds divine, and in practice when it works, there is truly no better feeling. Executing a well-laid out plan is the stuff of water cooler discussion the next day, sadly this generation of gamers is not built for that style.
This is where Siege falls apart. Unless players have a dedicated group of five people, it is going to be hard to enjoy the game as it is designed. Much like Evolve before it, everyone has to do their part in any given match. This is a risky proposition for the development team, and I wonder what the player base will look like, even thirty days from now. Those that get into it, will surely stick with it though. As I mentioned the satisfaction from executing a mission is intoxicating.
One of the bullet points for the game early on was the destruction and freedom of ways to approach situations. In practice most of those promises hold true. Breaching through walls, rappelling down rafters is all as fun as it sounds. It also makes any situation a unique experience depending on how the team decides to handle it, again stressing that communication and teamwork are imperative to the enjoyment of Siege.
Terrorist Hunt can also be played with friends, and this is the preferred way to do so. This is the mode we spent hours on in the Vegas titles. I would easily pay $20-$30 for a standalone version of this for playing with friends. These missions are simple – the team has to take out a set number of enemies, without respawns, so every move is crucial. Playing on realistic difficulty allows for zero errors. One bullet could mean game over. It is intense, and I love it.
As a shooter, Siege feels a bit dated and archaic. The controls are more sluggish than most current shooters, and take some adjustment. Cover has also been removed from the previous Vegas games. Now more sticking to a wall and surveying the threat, which is both good and bad. While it makes it tenser, it also leaves players more open to blind fire from all sides.
The visuals are of two minds. On one hand the destruction is like a symphony of technology. Walls crumble, windows smash; it is impressive to say the least. On the other hand there are some seriously dated textures and level designs. The game does run smoothly though outside of the sporadic server issues that cropped up around launch time.
One of the biggest talking points of the game though is its implementation of free-to-play ideas. While all future map DLC will be free, the game still has a currency system that allows for cosmetic unlocks. This currency can be paid for with real money. There is also a season pass for the upcoming content, which simply allows early access to it. It feels like the developers decided it needed the standard list of features, even if it didn’t fit into the structure of the game itself.
Rainbow Six Siege is a nice return for the series, but know about its caveats before diving in. This is a team game. Communication is necessary, and it is not a twitch shooter. If those things sound appealing, then Siege is definitely worth the time.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.