- + Approach every situation from multiple angles
- + Large roster of different character classes, each with their own unique attributes
- - No traditional story mode
- - Mandatory connectivity for certain aspects frustrating
Want to look beyond the score? Check out the full review below…
Start Replay: “Cat And Mouse”
My palms are sweating. It’s the middle of the night in an abandoned shipping yard and I’ve been tasked with rescuing a hostage. The complex is swarming with enemies — one of whom is wearing an explosive vest — but I’ve equipped a silenced pistol and sniper rifle to ensure a peachy outcome. My next move must be thoroughly thought through, and my strategy will either result in the hostage remaining in one piece, or leaving this facility in multiple. I must remain a ghost amongst the shadows, an unknown entity, a member of the elite counter terrorist unit, Rainbow Six.
Ubisoft’s latest Rainbow Six Siege acts more as a reboot than it does a direct continuation to previous entries. This time there isn’t a single-player campaign and cooperative online multiplayer modes take precedent. There are options to play offline, mind, but working together with friends in 5v5 matches is a lot of fun. As the name suggests, Siege is all about infiltrating or defending any given objective. Whether you’re saving a hostage, locating and disarming a bomb or simply eliminating the enemy, each objective is situated within small areas that can be tackled from multiple angles. Gameplay therefore tends to focus on shorter, more intense rounds of action. Preparation is key to succeeding and it will take a while to familiarise yourself with each map and its layout. All together there are three modes for you to tackle: Situations, Multiplayer and Terrorist Hunt.
The foremost is an offline mode and acts as a good way to learn the ropes. Consisting of 11 self-contained levels, each one houses three secondary objectives and will allow you to refine and improve your skills before battling against online opponents. I thoroughly enjoyed the solitary nature of these offline situations, as I could take my time to play exactly as I wished and didn’t feel rushed. However, the lack of a single-player campaign is a sorely missed opportunity. Working together with a friend through a strong narrative, whilst also meticulously planning our gameplay strategy, would have been spectacular.
Digging into the hefty filling of this online-centric pie, Rainbow Six: Siege caters most of its content to an online audience. Its multiplayer expands on what’s learned offline and replaces artificially intelligent resistance with much more deadly, real life opponents. When faced with actual people and not off-cut AI, your tactics have to be water tight in order to remain alive long enough to compete. Teamwork is advised and looking after your comrades is vital. If someone is taken down by the enemy you can revive them if you’re quick enough, but if you decide to go alone then tread carefully. If you would rather take lead against the AI with friends then Terrorist Hunt offers that chance. Every mode cycles through different missions on an automatic playlist.
Once you’re in the thick of it, the online system will decide whether you’re going to start by attacking or defending. Going in for the kill will begin via a remote controlled drone, letting you scout out the surrounding area in an attempt to locate your objective; finding a chemical bomb or the whereabouts of a hostage, for instance. When the round starts you’ll then have to figure out how to approach the opposition. I found rappelling on the outside of buildings to be the most fun option.
In defence you’ll immediately have to set up deterrents in order to stop incoming threats. You can do so by setting up barbed wire to slow down enemies, reinforcing walls or windows and planting C4 charges or remote mines. Be careful, though, each piece of scenery can be destroyed or shot through, depending on its durability. By the time the round officially starts, the opposition will have either located you with their drones or, if you’re lucky, will have to go in blind. Progression through the different types of playable characters will open up further possibilities through advanced equipment.
Rainbow’s character class system features a lot of operatives and allows for a variety play styles. There are 4 members to each of the 5 squads available, each of which are based on actual counter terrorist organisations; the SAS, FBI, Spetsnaz, GSG 9 and GIGN. While I personally wasn’t aware of the last two, a handy description of each unit’s background is provided. Each squad features two attackers and two defenders, and every member has his or her own special equipment perk.
You must unlock operators via using credits gained after completing missions (known in-game as Renown), so taking your time to learn about each units’ members will help provide an informed decision on who might suit you best. For example, the character class FUZE found in Spetsnaz has a shield, but includes Cluster Charges that are unique to him. I had a great time feeling a little safer behind some cover, but relished an opportunity to get the jump on unsuspecting enemies with my explosive charges. The amount of variety given by selecting different operators was great, especially when faced with the unrestricted nature of each mission and its environment.
While I’ve enjoyed tense firefights online, I do miss a traditional campaign. Its offline situations are awesome to replay and deploy different tactics, but these limit you to one particular operator. Terrorist Hunt is a good alternative and can be played solo, but the fact you must still remain online even when doing so, didn’t rest well with me. Once again, I don’t want to be told how I play my games, especially if my internet goes down for a night. The last thing I want to do is worry about whether my favourite game can be played whilst I pass the time for my connection to come back online.
It’s such a thrill to dive into snappy multiplayer modes in Siege and continue to experiment with different gameplay styles. While the lack of a single-player campaign is frustrating and some online-only aspects anger me, ultimately there’s a ton of fun to be had with friends whilst you discuss tactics and form the best counter terrorist unit known to mankind. Sadly, mine isn’t one of them, yet.
*Rainbow 6 Siege was provided to Start Replay on PS4 by Ubisoft and on Xbox by Microsoft