Rainbow Six Siege is offering ourselves as an alternative to the twitch shooter affair of Call of Duty and Star Wars Battlefront.
Taking the shooter for a spin at a London preview event (playing on LAN connections), here are four things we learned about the new game.
Single player may be dead
Rainbow Six: Siege lacks a conventional single player narrative where gamers can go and save the world in. Instead the offline element is “Situations”, 11 missions where the player is tasked with a number of challenges to show off all facets of the game. Similar to the “Modern Warfare” series of Spec Ops missions, you’ll be doing hostage extraction in on mission, before taking on an area defence in another. Progress is scored out of three stars, with rewards being given out for perfect performance. After playing five of the missions so far, “Situations” is a fun offline trainer, albeit nowhere near enough game for those just wanting to play offline. Possible additional missions may come post-launch but right now, Rainbow Six Siege is not for the single gamer.
Angela Bassett is a delight
The latest big actor to step into a first person shooter, Angela Bassett is in the game to play the head of Rainbow Six operations, Six. Fully motioned captured and providing voiceover, she lends that added sense of oomph to Situations Mode. (Check out our quick interview with the American Horror Story star here)
One life per round makes gameplay tense, but still on the right side of exciting
There’s no “run away and heal” system to Rainbow Six Siege. There are no health packs either. Or body armour. You start each mission with 100 hit points: if your counter reaches 0, you’re dead and out of the game/mission. It adds an extra layer of tension to Siege sessions, both when playing against the CPU and playing against human opponents. One mistake can see you shredded and forced to restart, so if you approach Rainbow Six with the same gung-ho attitude you would other shooters you could be kicking up dust. This is a game where crouching, leaning around corners and throwing flashbangs is the way to get ahead.
Siege is a fun spin on online play
As the name would suggest, the main meat of this new Rainbow Six is its Siege mode, a
5 vs. 5 online mode where two teams are pitted against each other in a number of challenges. In our session we played rounds of bomb defusal and hostage defense and found the experience thrilling.
When Rainbow Six Siege gets going, it plays like a real return to the great team co-op sessions of CounterStrike, but with a modern twist. Players are only allowed one to pick one of each class per team, giving each set up its own unique flavour. Each soldier has their own unique perks, from combat shields and barbed wire traps on your heavies, to EMP sensors and added camera on your scouts.
There’s an added sense of map destructibility to the game as many maps will have areas with fragile walls, or doors covered in plywood for you to blast through and ambush opponents. In one particular round, our team of four attackers boxed in a bunch of soldiers defending a terrorist. After scoping out the room via a drone (every player gets 30 seconds at the start of each round to send a drone about and map the area in a nice touch), we surrounded the area from the outside before blowing out all the windows in a co-ordinated attack. Opponents flustered, we took them all out in one of the most well thought out organic bits of shooting I’ve ever played.
HOWEVER, and this is a big however: while Siege is a blast to play when you are with four like minded gamers planning and coordinating attacks, it can be a mighty drag if someone doesn’t pick up the slack. In another session, we found ourselves teamed up with four lovely games reviewers from Spain, and try as we might to get past the language barrier, we found our productivity and subsequent enjoyment of the game curbed after being on the wrong end of a 6-0 drubbing from a much better organised team. This is definitely a game you’ll need your mates to go all in on.
For the most part though, Rainbow Six Siege is shaping up to be a fun, enjoyable romp for those who want something different from their first person online shooters. More methodical than Call of Duty and Star Wars Battlefront, and with an added emphasis on team coordination, it could be one to keep your eye out for when it's released at the start of December.
The game is out on December 1 on Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC.