When Ubisoft first announced Rainbow Six Siege, the series’ die-hard fans felt a lump in their throats. An only-multiplayer variant of Rainbow Six? The Tactical FPS series that lit a beacon for incredible single player campaigns seemed to have been taken down a few pegs in Ubi’s eyes.
And yet, the game has evolved into what is perhaps the single greatest capturing of the Rainbow Six essence: detailed, coordinated, tactical teamwork.
At first glance, Siege may seem like a severely downsized version of the maps previous iterations in the franchise featured – but to write them off without digging deeper would be a massive disservice to the amount of work that went into creating each virtual play-field.
Each map is not only a beautifully designed location, but also features numerous points for attacking parties to breach and clear – while the defenders do their best to snare and slay the oncoming attackers. Small vents peppered throughout the map give the adorable little two-wheeled drones carried by each player a means to zip around the map and mark enemies, spot bomb locations, or locate the hostage in need of rescuing.
The gadgets aren’t just limited to the stock array of drones, stun, frag, and smoke grenades. Each time you drop into a match of Rainbow Six Siege, you will be prompted to select your “Operator”. These Operators function as the game’s central characters, and although their voice lines are minimal, they certainly manage to have a healthy dose of character injected into them – as much as baclava wearing, face-obscured characters can.
Each Operator is tagged as either an “Attacker” or a “Defender”, and is only usable when you find yourself on the respective side. Where it gets interesting is that each Operator has a specific loadout unto themselves. Will you choose Sledge while attacking, and beat down enemy barricades with ease? Or will you opt for someone like Twitch, who can send in a shock drone to annoy and pip away at the opposition’s health?
The same goes for Defenders, who range from the communications jamming Mute, to the LMG-deploying Tachanka. The roles create a variance within the game, ensuring that no two matches play out the same. While the character’s may not vary to the lengths that Overwatch’s colorful roster might, they can certainly be the decisive factor on whether or not your team finds success at the end of the match or faces defeat.
It’s difficult to believe that we’ve made it this far in without mentioning the gunplay, but no introduction is needed – it’s as fantastic as it ever was. Best-in-class sound design not only gives each weapon a wonderfully realistic and punchy feel, but is also crucial to being able to spot where enemies are shooting from, and what sort of kit they’re rocking. Trust us: there are few things that will send the hairs on the back of your neck standing as hearing fully automatic fire echo down the corridor you only just secured.
Siege has all the markings of a fantastic game, but Ubisoft’s dedication to keep it supported and thriving must be praised. With dozens of new maps and Operators included for free since the base game launched, we’re tempted to say that the international mega-publisher may have turned a new leaf.