Across multiple games and consoles, the Rainbow Six franchise has become a major series in the tactical-shooter genre, demanding players use stealth, teamwork, and a strategic approach rather than simply blasting through levels with gleeful abandon.
In recent instalments, more mainstream shooting has come to the fore, but a more intelligent playing style is still needed to get through the challenging levels in one piece. Since Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 was released in 2008, no further games in the long-running series have been published, leaving fans waiting for more.
Understandably, with a seven-year break leading up to this follow-up, anticipation for Rainbow Six: Siege has been incredibly high – can it possibly live up to expectations?
There is No ‘I’ in Team
There are plenty of first-person shooters on the market today, but how many provide a more realistic approach? Rainbow Six: Siege continues the series’ well-known, beloved reliance on a truer sensibility, but certain changes have been made for a modern audience.
For a start, one of the franchise’s defining features – planning missions before embarkation, allowing strategic players to formulate an assault in detail – has been removed from Siege, but enemies and levels can be surveyed using cameras mounted onto wheeled drones.
While this is a much more limited version of mission-planning, it helps to give you a heads-up on enemy activity, encouraging a more cerebral playing style. Fans of the series more keen to focus on the actual missions themselves rather than the planning will no doubt welcome this stripped-back design.
While Siege is more action-oriented and accessible than previous games in the series, it still offers no respawning abilities, and no health-pickups or regeneration. In specific situations, your character can be revived by allies, and have half of your health restored, but generally, the structure is still as realistic as possible.
Siege’s singleplayer campaign also works as an elaborate tutorial for the extensive multiplayer mode, providing you with ten Situations to play through. These send you out on your own, and include such elements as rescuing hostages from terrorist scumbags and defeating waves of enemies, as well as defusing bombs when needed.
Throughout this mode, new Operators are introduced, each specialising in specific areas. One may use thermite packs, while another will have shields to use in fire-fights – XP is earned by completing Situations, which can then be spent on buying additional Operators (20 are available in total) from such backgrounds as the Spetsnaz, FBI SWAT & SAS.
Completing all of the Situations unlocks an extra one, and each combat outfit offers four different types of Operator: two defensive, and two attacking. These specialists possess different skills, which make a big difference in multiplayer modes.
Reboots, Rifles, and Rainbow Six
Siege is basically a reboot of the Rainbow Six series, transforming it into a five-on-five competitive action game with a heavy focus on strategic destruction. Players can blast through walls, ceilings, and floors, using cover wherever needed to increase your chances of staying alive for as long as possible – remember, there are no opportunities to respawn.
Choosing to unlock Operatives leaning towards attacking capabilities allows you to enter the Player versus Environment aspect of Siege. Titled Terrorist Hunt, this pits you and four more players against a group of AI-controlled opponents. This mode allows you to master your abilities against other players, before diving into the Player versus Player mode.
This makes up the main core of the Siege experience.
Multiplayer battles feature four rounds, and teams are given chances to both defend & attack. The Operators chosen to take part will affect the gadgets and equipment players have access to, and each round enables players to employ the camera-fitted drones mentioned earlier. This gives a slight advantage, as you will know what enemies have in store, but this by no means is unfair: players are, of course, skilled at different levels, ensuring the challenge always varies.
The action in these modes is fast-paced and compulsive, encouraging strong teamwork amongst players. Thankfully, setting up squads is easy, and players preferring to join the same groups over & over are likely to build regular teams during the frantic multiplayer action.
Weapons are well-designed and fun to use, with each feeling different from the rest. You never seem overpowered, no matter which instrument of death you’re using, and mastering each is a rewarding experience. Level maps are varied, with plenty of space to go on the offensive, take cover for a defensive stand, and experiment with the range of equipment & weaponry available.
While fans looking for the kind of deep, story-based campaign seen in other Rainbow Six games will find that redefined here, the Situations offer plenty to enjoy, and the multiplayer modes are incredible. Playing against likeminded fans across the world, and taking down terrorists as different skilled Operators, ensures extensive replay value. DLC is also likely to introduce new maps and modes as well, for those who just can’t get enough.
What do you think of Rainbow Six: Siege? Is it an improvement on previous games in the series? Let us know!