rAge 2015: We Lay Siege To Rainbow Six
Rainbow Six Siege is Ubisoft’s latest venture into the world of the tactical first-person shooter. As a more complex shooter than either Call of Duty or Battlefield while covering the modern era of combat that those two games have laid claim to in the past, its questionable whether it’ll be able to build up and hold a community of players outside hardcore Rainbox Six fans.
So naturally, we went to find out, laying siege to the Megarom stand until they let us play. Check what our our respective tactical teams — Cavie and I, and A-G and Marco — thought about it.
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With Rainbow Six: Siege we managed to get in two rounds thanks to the awesome promoters at the Megarom stand, late into the last day of the expo. I’ll be honest, this is the one game I didn’t care about in the slightest. I’ve never been much of a Rainbow Six fan and my online experiences have always been… less than satisfactory.
Fitting then that we experienced stark contrasts in play experiences, when we were teamed up with, first, three really solid and tactical-minded teens who played the game with skill and composure, and inspired Bracken and myself (playing on the same team against AG and Marco) only to then be met by three CoD-kid mom-joke-toting, foul-mouthed cool school rejects who ruined the fun in the next round.
The game itself was a sort-of Search and Destroy, where one team defended a position and the other team had to find and then attack the position, with the round ending once all five of either team was killed. Each team got the necessary tools and gadgets to help, including barricades for defenders and search drones for attackers. A player death meant they sat out the rest of the round, and while the first team of players did excellently to keep everyone alive, the CoD-kids TK’d half of us and ruined the fun. A perfect representation of the two extremes of what will likely be seen online when this game releases. I think I’ll pass, thanks.
Tom Clancy’s Counter-Strike. That’s what Rainbow Six Siege feels like but much better and far deeper. It helped that the mode we played was quite literally a form of Terrorists versus Counter-Terrorists. Not in those exact terms but one team defended a bomb while the other team attempted to breach the building the bomb had been placed in and neutralise the threat.
Playing as terrorists you have a minute or two before the match proper starts to set up defenses, barricade doors and take your positions. As the CT side you control scout robots which can enter the building, locate the bomb and tag enemies.
Once the match starts communication becomes key. Failure to communicate leads to death and once you’re dead that’s game over for you while the rest of your team has to press on. The defensive side largely requires communication those two minutes of prep and thereafter it’s more or less a free for all. The attacking side has a somewhat different dynamic. Teamwork is cohesion is essential in mitigating surprise attacks and effective breaching of the building. Someone with a shotgun or shield will lead. The crucial moment of breaching the room that bomb is holed up in.
Assuming responsibility and synchronising with your team here is the best way to ensure success. In our first round myself and Marco faced off against Cavie and Bracken (each pair armed with three other capable soldiers) and the way we worked together felt quite natural. Not to mention necessary. The second time around each side was stuck with three pubescent spuds who couldn’t stop trash talking their own teammates. It felt like guiding a blind human through open-heart surgery using nothing but mom jokes and euphemisms.
Siege is immensely fun and rewarding when played with the right people. As with games such as Rocket League, coordination is incredibly important so your level of enjoyment/ probability of success hinges on the people you play with in a big way.
It seems I’ve just not played a wide variety of games in the past few years, and this goes doubly so for tactical based shooters.I don’t know anyone who does play tactical shooters in a serious way, and that’s something you’re going to need to do with this game to gain a fulfilling level of enjoyment–play seriously with 4 other serious friends.
It’s telling what you can glean from a game based on how it’s presented to you: with a guide. It basically means this is not your general “plug and play” shooter. At the start our Rainbow Six “tutorial” we had one of the exhibition people playing with us who gave general commands while explaining to us headless chickens the scenario and the methods to achieve our objective.
The basic scenario was like Search And Destroy, with one team defending a position and the other assaulting it. As someone who’s not done tactical shooters since S.W.A.T 4, I got to see that part of the enjoyment with this game will require those extra minutes of pre-planning before you ever fire the first bullet or take your first steps in the game. This translates well in the game as you have different classes with different levels of armour, weapons and methods of breaching a room.
This does mean that there needs to be co-ordination and communication to gain the reward of a fire-fight that ends in a matter of seconds. If that’s a scenario you can find fun in and ignore the 4 other team mates saying “Breaching your mom’s room in 5 seconds” then this game should be fun for those who know what they want from a Rainbow Six game.
Rainbow Six Siege was another tactical game on show at Ubisoft’s stand, and definitely the one with the more complex skill barrier. As a defending team, which is what I played in the first round, your job is to secure a room from attacking forces and hold them off. This can be done with a variety of barricades, both metal and wooden, which can be constructed over doors and windows and other obstacles such as barbed wire left on the floor. The attackers then come in and try to rain on your parade, which you’re supposed to try stop. We won that round, although I died, by holding tight together while the enemy team tried to split across the two entrances to the room we were in.
The attacking side was quite different – you take control of a drone to be used for scouting, which I hadn’t noticed in the first round. The drones can be moved and placed in and around the room where the enemy team is, and be used for intel throughout the round. They can, of course, also be destroyed, but if you place them carefully, they are a useful bonus to your team. After this, you charge in with a variety of tactical weapons and attempt to take out the enemy team. My first reflex was to go in with an assault rifle, which was a mistake: the gun handled poorly in the close quarters of the basement and I was out of the game quickly, despite breaching the room the enemy was in. Later rounds would see me use the UMP-45 and P90, which handled much better in the areas I was trying to fight in.
My lasting impression of the game fell solely to my team, however. The mechanics may be fairly complex for a shooter, but in a team of fairly focused players, they can be incredibly useful – which was the first team Cavie and I played with. The second team was filled with what can only be called stereotypical Call of Duty kids – who chose the master bedroom as a defensive point so they could see one of their friend’s mother. Playing with a team like this was like pulling teeth, and after taking off my headset (because that can’t even be called banter) and leaving the room they had each taken a corner in, I decided to throw a spanner in the other team’s breaching efforts.
This actually worked alarmingly well, as I got the jump on three separate enemies, winning us our last round, but it wasn’t a discussed tactic, more the result of my frustration with my team’s lax defensive efforts and vile behaviour. That’s largely what will determine whether Rainbow Six Siege will be a good game, not whether it’s a solid shooter or not – which it definitely is – but whether it can get players to work together efficiently and how it curates its community.
Rainbow Six Siege was a good experience, despite some unsavoury team mates and a set of new mechanics for our team to wrap their heads around. While the fact that the game is so divisively different may cause some people not to get it, the game will certainly be entertaining with the right party to play it with. Finding that party may be the tough part however, as you’re not likely to run into many of them in random matchmaking when the game comes out on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC on December 1, 2015.