Disclosure ‐ We were provided with a review copy of Rainbow Six: Siege at our request. Thanks Mikey!
It may not have the Sistine Chapel of skill ceilings, but credit where credit is due.
Rainbow Six: Siege is the newest first-person, team based, strategic shooter from Ubisoft Montreal. It combines a class based character selection, with an attack and defend gameplay system, similar to that of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s major mode (or Search and Destroy for you Call of Duty fans).
I’ll start this off with what I consider to be most important. Rainbow Six: Siege is fun. It is a fun game that is made infinitely more fun with either the inclusion of friends, or a co-operative (read: talkative) team, and that is made substantially less fun by the tumbleweeds on the other end of the headset. Obviously, this is a setback that comes with being an early adopter of the game and I can see it improving as more people pick it up and as the game develops.
The gun mechanics boast an great middle point between similar style shooters. It is not quite as in depth as something like Counter Strike, yet offers a lot more than Call of Duty in terms of spray patterns and position-based entry points. It’s fire-rate to recoil ratio is believable and realistic and each gun comes with a great variation in terms of usage and strategy. I say this, however, speaking of primary weapons only. The whole time I played Siege, I did not use my secondary weapon, nor did I see another player. The rounds are fast enough that I always finished with excess ammo on my Primary and it makes me wonder why the secondary weapons are included at all. It seems almost like the developer included them simply because it’s the way other first-person shooters do it. The guns could do with a little more balancing, some guns (namely the shotgun) seem to a little too overpowered. But with enough focus and planning, they can be taken down.
However, the similarities to other shooters almost end there, as the game boasts such wonderfully unique gameplay activities. The abseiling and rappelling up and down walls, the somewhat smaller scale, yet multi-level maps of an office complex or residential home are a really welcome addition to what is fast becoming a relatively stale genre. It really seems like Siege is trying to break the mold of competitive online shooters, and it does so, pretty damn well! I do wonder how the state of the game will progress as it grows older. I can absolutely see a “best course of action” approach taking over each and every game as people learn the ins and outs of this map. All we can hope is that the random (or team selected) bomb (or hostage) locations prevent people from having predetermined steps to guarantee the win.
The graphics are nice, but coming out not too long after Star Wars: Battlefront means it looks average at best. But the parts that the A/V nerds will really like is the sound effects! Everything from the footsteps, to the bullet casings hitting the ground, to the distant explosions have fantastic attention to detail and they will be a necessary detail for a high level of play!
Which brings us to the part that I know a lot of people are waiting for. How will Rainbow Six: Siege do in the competitive eSports scene? Unfortunately, it is not a question I have an answer for just yet. The first-person shooter competitive market is incredibly over-saturated, which will be Siege’s biggest barrier to entry. Is it an unsurpassable one? No, but Ubisoft are going to have push this as THE eSports game.