A few weeks ago, I was busy checking out the Beta for Rainbow Six: Siege, and ever since then, I’ve been meaning to write about it. I’ve composed some thoughts on the game so far, so hit the break and find out what I think.
Unlike previous games in the Rainbow Six franchise, Ubisoft have confirmed that there won’t be a singleplayer campaign. In some instances, I might call that a crying shame, and I was tempted to do so when I first heard the news. Yet, after playing the Beta, and reading the news that all DLC would be free, I started to come around and accept the lack of a campaign mode.
While I can accept that there won’t be a campaign mode, I won’t pretend that I’m not slightly disappointed. However, I believe Siege will prove to do what Counter-Strike did for the competitive FPS scene on the PC, for consoles. I know Siege is also coming out on PC, but I think it will find its home on the consoles. The way the game is set up is, on the surface, much like Valve’s monster two teams go to battle, alternating between attack and defense. A simple idea that works well, but what sets Siege apart, is the focus on how you plan the attack and organise your defenses, rather than simply defeating your opponents through gunplay.
You step into the boots of the classic Rainbow teams, be they FBI, the SAS or some of their more exotic European counterparts, you have a chance to plan your approach. Select a starting point, and send in remote controlled rolling cameras to identify where the defenders are hiding the bombs or hostages. You can also see the defenses they are putting up to help you plot your route to the objective, but you have to stay on your toes to avoid your camera being destroyed by your enemy. This, and the art of breaching the target building would be good by itself, but Siege excels with its class system.
I was concerned before I first played the game, that there wouldn’t be too much difference between the different Operators you can unlock as you earn experience. I only had time to unlock a couple of Operators while playing the Beta and largely played with SAS member, Sledge. As you might expect from his name, he goes into action with a Sledgehammer which he uses to smash through some of the barricades you will come across. Other Operators go by general MMO Archetypes – a Tank or a Healer, but more focused Operators have equipment to disable enemy comms or breaching even reinforced barricades.
The various Operators provide you with a welcome range of options to go into battle with, but only one type can be used in a match. If someone on your team has chosen your favourite class, you will have to try something different. It is sure to frustrate some, but I think it is a great move as it will encourage people to explore the variety of combat approaches the game offers.
While playing online, I most enjoyed being a defender. I didn’t unlock many of the defensive focused Operators, more often relying on the armaments of the Recruit to help my team out. In the preparation phase, you are busy putting up chipboard barricades, laying barbed wire and keeping an eye out for the remote cameras. Once this time ends, the tension rises. In the Beta, I often took the approach of hiding out next to one of the bombs. Unless I get into the rhythm of things, I don’t have the twitch reflexes required to be a success in one-on-one combat, so hiding and praying was my way of helping the team. As I would be cowering in the corner, I would hear the rumble of distant explosives as the attackers started entering the building, then suddenly a crackle of gunfire as a friend goes down. Soon enough of course, I would be forced to venture out of my hole…which would quite often result in my death.
The online action itself is great, but the singleplayer (or co-op) Terrorist Hunt mode is quite something as well. I spent quite some time checking this out during the Beta (you can see a few rounds of mine in the video above), and was very, very impressed. You take the role of an attacker and have a horde of AI foes to take down. The AI are smart, much smarter than I expected them to be. They will set up defenses as the match goes on, and won’t be afraid to leave the building they are holed up in to hunt you down. There were a few instances when I was trying it out, where I would take out a couple of enemies before retreating to try and flank to the other side of the building. On my way outside…I would come across some of the bots trying to flank me themselves.
I can see myself spending quite some time just in Terrorist Hunt, trying to get used to the different maps and identifying potential routes to use when going back online. So while it is a shame there isn’t a fully realised campaign mode, the strength of Terrorist Hunt, and the free DLC plan, makes up for some of the disappointment.
Siege is looking to be an extremely high class shooter, and I can well imagine it making inroads in the competitive scene. My only concern though? The PC version is retailing at the moment for £5 more than the console editions. That is a bit odd in this day and age, does it have something to do with UPlay? I don’t know, but the cost will be something people should keep in mind when deciding what platform to buy it on. And where your friends are going to be playing it of course, an online match will be won and lost depending on how the teams are communicating.