Single Player Neutralized, Quality Multiplayer Confirmed – Rainbow Six: Siege Review (PC)
*Reviewed on PC, tested on all settings*
After years away from the scene, Rainbow Six has returned. Complete with a new focus, and less features, Siege represents the reinvention of a franchise. Whether or not the reinvention is successful depends on how you value content, or lack of.
In truth, Rainbow Six: Siege will split opinions straight down the middle. Fans of past entries will have problems seeing the latest instalment as a new Rainbow Six title. The tactical approach has mostly be stripped away in favour of fast paced action. The general pace of the gameplay is a stark contrast to even the likes of Vegas and Lockdown.
Tactics still play a role, but are mostly there to supplement the new environmental destruction mechanic. Siege’s main focus centres around firefights in compact areas. The spine of the game forms around the destructive environments. In theory, attacking players can gain access to rooms from a number of angles, offering various tactical approaches. Defending players are tasked with bunkering down, withstanding any assaults.
Siege’s core gameplay is heavily reliant on the various Operators found within the game. Split between Attackers and Defenders, each Operator has their own unique ability. The gadget each Operator carries is often a direct counter to one of the Defence Operators, and vice versa. The Operator concept gives Siege a slightly tinge of Rock, Scissors, Paper resulting in some thought being needed to build a solid squad.
At the current time, there’s no one Operator that stands out from the rest. Some may be more ‘fun’ to play as, but each choice has tactical justifications. The only problem comes in the form of how players access Operators. Initially, all Operators are locked to the players.
The initial batch of Operators can only be accessed by purchasing them in one or two ways, in-game currency or real life cash investment. Obviously the inclusion of microtransactions makes the process a lot faster, which is a problem within itself. To Ubisoft’s credit, the process of unlocking new Operators isn’t too much of a grind.
Each outfit (SAS, GIGIN, FBI, Spetnaz and GSG 9) contains four Operators. The first Operator costs only 500 renown, the in-game currency, with the cost increasing the more Operator you buy from a single outfit. This system results in Operators requiring a large investment, without the player even knowing if they’ll enjoy that Operator.
The Attack/Defence format of Siege is where the game lives or dies. While both sides are enjoyable to play, there’s slightly more enjoyment to be gained from attacking. It’s not that defending is dull, it’s more down to the feeling of claustrophobia that sets in.
Defending players have access to various traps and gadgets to aid them, depending on the Operator they select. Reinforcing walls, booby trapping entry points and dropping barbedwire are rituals which kick off each game. During this time, attacking players man remote drones in a attempt to recon the area.
Each phase of the game builds tension, creating a calm before the bullet ridden storm. The true enjoyment of Siege comes in how you approach it. Attacking players have the gleeful task of choosing a entry point based on the Intel they’ve gathered. Breach the window, or is it trapped? Move in from the garage, or is it ridden with electrified barbedwire?
A vital part of what makes Siege work so well is the sound design. There’s no in-game music, just the sounds of the environments and players. Hearing footsteps on the roof, movement at the windows and checking of equipment makes for truly intense moments.
Unexpectedly, combat only forms minor part of the experience. Firefights are often brief and spread apart. Each game is typically made up of the approach, with the odd bullet exchange thrown into the mix. It’s easily Siege’s best point, tension and preparation allow the game to stand out from the typical shooter.
Rainbow Six: Siege’s main issue is content. While there is a single player mode, it’s nothing but a glorified tutorial for Multiplayer. Known as ‘Situations’, players are placed in various scenarios. Rescuing hostages, defusing bombs and taking out Terrorists forms the spine of Situations. It’s brief, hollow and unsatisfying.
Terrorist hunt does feature, but feels like a watered down version. Awful enemy AI and small maps result in a distraction rather than a gratifying experience. AI will often run into walls, turn their backs on players or straight up fail to react to damage. The issues with the AI are further highlighted by the missions which require bombs to be defused.
As soon as a player begin to defuse the targeted bomb, the AI will swarm into the room. Staring into space, or at the floor, it’s almost like the enemy require a invitation to open fire. The defuse missions feel totally alien, mostly due to terrorists rushing from outside the map like a swarm of pissed off drunken wasps.
Rainbow Six: Siege’s over reliance on it’s multiplayer is it’s most obvious flaw., or least it should be. It’s hard to explain exactly what makes Siege ‘work’, but the amount of enjoyment in each 2 minute round is undeniable. Ubisoft have managed to craft a accessible multiplayer experience, that stands out from the run-and-gun of most modern titles. While it may not be the tactical juggernaut it once was, there’s still remnants of it’s lineage scattered around Siege.
It’s all down to how much someone values their content. With no actual single player, and only one mode worthy of note, it’s hard to truly justify Siege’s full price. A healthy supply of maps, gadgets and weapons does give value to the multiplayer, making it an attractive option.
This initial release feels like the start of something expansive. More maps and Operators will allow Siege to grow into a much more well rounded game. Even with it’s underwhelming visuals, and the odd bug, Rainbow Six: Siege is an enjoyable, but limited, experience. Essentially, it’s multiplayer only title, and a good one at that. The full price investment won’t reflect the value for everyone.