What was once a rather eloquently designed master bedroom of a villa style mansion has now become something of a sketch from the hit TV show Home Improvement, minus Tim Allen. Reinforcements are quickly deployed with steel walls replacing weakened ones, barb wire rolled out onto the floor and across the carpet with C4 attached to the main bedroom door, the newly set up décor is not exactly something Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen would approve of but turning this room into a modern day fortknox is at times of the utmost necessity.
An understandably nervous hostage wriggles about, bound and down on his knees. This poor unfortunate soul is heavily reliant on five armed individuals, who have never met before now to keep him safe from the rain of bullets and miniature explosions that are mere seconds from descending upon his and our location.
To say the atmosphere was tense would be the understatement of the year.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege: Xbox One [Reviewed], PlayStation 4, PC
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Release Date: 1 December 2015
Price: £54.99 [Disclosure Game Copy provided by Developer/Publisher]
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege provides the first person shooter connoisseurs with a more methodical approach to war. At times throughout, the latest addition to Ubisoft’s war based series it is more a case of best laid plans then all out fire-fights that win the battle, with success from well executed strategies or defeat crumbling under extensive pressure, like many of the games walls. The Rainbow Six series, largely popular for its narrative driven campaign experiences has opted to turn it’s back on the usual, with Ubisoft Montreal opting to focus almost all of its attention exclusively on multiplayer, where teamwork and communication reign supreme.
The art to winning war requires unnerving precision, it requires the foresight to predict when your enemy might strike next, where they will position themselves to achieve this and what their form of attack might be, with all of this knowledge you can strategically plot around your enemies every move. The Rainbow Six series is often like this with opposing teams attempting to out manoeuvre one another in order to stay one step ahead of the game.
Matches often begin with the attacking team sending miniature drones to scout out a location. With the tiny remote controlled cameras, players have the ability to move swiftly around buildings locating objectives, whether they are looking for a bomb that requires diffusing or a hostage who desperately needs saving from terrorists, everything of value can be marked and a plan of attack, formulated. The objective as a defender is quite simple – preparation. Barricade walls and doors, set traps and fortify your current location to it’s strongest capacity before lying, impatiently in wait, prepared for the incoming onslaught and a siege of bullets.
As a member of the defending team it is vitally important that life for the attackers is made as difficult as humanly possible, matches only run for four minutes, in that short space of time forcing the opposite team to go through the painfully slow routine of venturing from room to room can immediately put the attackers on the back foot, costing them precious time which they can ill afford to lose, thus handing the defenders the advantage.
Of course, attackers can choose to separate themselves from the team and go it alone when descending on a building, although the emphasis on teamwork is apparent throughout, going it alone might have its advantages, overall it mainly has it’s downsides and at times can prove to be fruitless task with a barrage of bullets heading the lone gunman’s way, the most likeliest outcome. Working together with your four fellow comrades as a team is more likely to see players succeed, this is in part down to the sheer level of destruction that can be caused throughout each building.
While entire buildings cannot be destroyed, the infrastructure itself can be severely weakened, which can open up new and different forms of attack. Enemy bullets can pass through weak walls with consummate ease, leaving some hallways reminiscent of something out of war torn Baghdad, this is not the kind of situation you want to find yourself in while alone. A plethora of walls can be laid to waste with a timely placed explosive charge or thoroughly obliterated with the brute force swing of an axe, while certain ceilings can be brought down with another placed explosive device.
Granted Rainbow Six Siege’s destruction is not that of the building levelling scale of EA’s Battlefield series, or levalution for that matter, it does however offer some fantastic moments of explosive action that pack quite a punch. Standing inside a room, primed, as a charge begins to light up the walls in front of you takes some beating and leaves the game with an overwhelming atmosphere.
Destruction of course isn’t limited to a single timed device, with Ubisoft introducing an array of powerful weapons to help destroy foundations with devastating effects. With precise accuracy, holes can be driven through walls exposing enemies lurking behind as well as weakening certain structures and destroying potentially dangerous devices. The beautiful thing about Rainbow Six Sieges various game modes are the tense moments of build up and anticipation before the real action begins to unfold. Whether you are setting up your defences or preparing to breach a building, the atmosphere is overwhelming and brilliantly sets the mood for what’s to come.
Locations and game modes aside the real stars of Rainbow Six Siege are the ‘Operators’ themselves, with a wide variety of differing counter terrorism specialists to choose from including the British SAS, Federal Bureau of Investigations and Spetsnaz, there is no shortage of options to cater to every scenario. Each Operator is defined by their own unique abilities, each possessing their very own traits which could hand you the upper hand during battles.
Of the many great Operators at players disposal the highlights for me would have to be Tachanka, a Spetsnaz operator who comes equipped with a deployable shield and a mounted turret that can diminish enemies in the blink of an eye, as well as being heavily suited for the best form of amour, then there is Doc who has the ability to revive himself or his team-mates with the use of a Stim Pistol, which in Rainbow Six Siege is extremely vital as health does not regenerate and there are no Medpacks available to regain lost health.
The only downside to the Operators is the lack of options when starting out in the game, each Operator is unlocked with the use of renown, which can be earned through completing tasks, terrorist hunts and situations, it can take some time to unlock the Operator you want the most but all are within reach and are not overly expensive. Weapons can be fully customised from each soldiers loadout with sights and suppressors among the list of attachments available for upgrade, weapon skins can also be added, although some require Rainbow Six Points (Microtransactions) it certainly isn’t enough to worry any would be buyer.
As a series, Rainbow Six is now onto it’s twenty second outing, the first appearance came way back in 1998, previous titles boasted story campaigns that were both explosive, engaging while always extremely enthralling. The previous campaigns allowed players to take on the worlds worst terrorists while working together with friends Online, I felt the opportunity to navigate each story mode with other players was one of the stand out features. While Siege has no story campaign to speak of it does offer slight single player elements in the form of Situations.
Situations act as an extended tutorial of sorts, introducing players to the world of Operators, that assist in completing various missions. Set across ten separate organised environments throughout numerous locations, players can learn the advantages a select number of Operators have to offer as well as their capabilities in the field, how they work to your advantage is explained through short cut-scenes. As well as learning about each specific member of the CTU, the different game modes are well explained and allow players great insight into each one before venturing into the world of Online.
While situations are a great welcome to Rainbow Six Siege and allow for some rather challenging moments as well as some short based action, I can’t help but feel that a single player or co-op campaign would have been better suited. Situations will no doubt keep players entertained for hours because of the level of challenge as you progress, perhaps though they are merely a stepping stone into multiplayer.
The final mode Siege has to offer see’s the return of Terrorist Hunt, which I found to be a nice touch by Ubisoft. I absolutely loved playing Terrorist Hunt in both Rainbow Six Vegas and Vegas 2 with LVU Campus being one of my favourite gaming moments, although the overall set up is different from previous titles the outcome is the same, with players looking to clear out a select amount of AI enemies. Terrorist Hunt adds another dimension to what is already a fantastic shooter game and has hours of replay value to it.
Visually Rainbow Six Siege is as flawless a shooter as you are ever likely to see in modern day video games, Ubisoft made full use of the AnvilNext engine, which has been previously seen in Assassin’s Creed games to highlight the full force of the action. The destruction, although on a smaller scale is hugely impressive, with pieces of wood exploding on screen with shards of glass from windows flying about all over the place. The frame-rate does not appear to suffer, while remaining steady throughout every minute of action.
Overall, Rainbow Six Siege is a fantastic strategic shooter and an amazing return to an iconic series, while the beta wasn’t much to go on, that shouldn’t disway potential buyers from what is a great tactics driven, team based experience that separates itself from the norm of run and gun first person shooters.
With hours of replay value to experience Rainbow Six Siege is a must for fans of the series and newcomers alike.