You have one life, and a single bullet can take that away, this is Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege. Brought to us by Ubisoft, unlike previous installments in the series Siege places its focus on a competitive multiplayer environment, tasking players to take turns attacking or defending various objectives. The way in which you go about this, is where Siege finds its success, as through environmental destruction Siege creates a more flexible, dynamic battleground than we’ve seen before. Want to go through that wall? Alright, blow it up, want to peer through that window, alright, smash it use an inverse rappel to peek from the top, think there’s a guy right above you? shoot him through the floor. Siege’s flexible approach to to multiplayer gameplay coupled with an in-depth class based system for both attackers and defenders, makes for one of the most intensely viceral first person shooters on the market.
It’s this viceral gameplay that really carries the experience Siege has to offer. The game takes a non-nonsense approach to bullet damage, all of the weapons in use her have been manufacturered to kill human targets and there’s no illusion to that fact – a small from either party can result in a quick kill for their opposing team. While this may sound constrictive, once you become familiar with the flow of the game playing Siege becomes second nature as you metholodically sweep through buildings. Communication and forethought is imperative. This is a thinking mans shooter, and anyone here trying to play Call of Duty is in for a bad time.
Rounds bein with drones being sent out by the attacking team, while the defending team barricade themselves into a defensive perimiter. As a drone, your job is to locate the objective and survey any other viable information such as enemy locations, or equipment. Even this stage of the game is challenging as the defending team battle to keep your drones away from the objective area with a variety of tools and weapons. Scampering around the highly detailed environments as a drone is genuinely enjoyable and any information you manage to gather is huge asset for the attacking team.
As a defender, you use this period of time to barracade, reinforce, and strategically place your equipment. Barbed wire, reinforced baracades, electric barbed wire, signal jammers, armour plating, trip mines, more barbed wire! Your job is to make sure the enemy don’t capture the objective, be it a hostage they need to rescue, a bomb they need to secure, or a container they need to capture. Each objective places a small but interesting twist on the mechanics of the game, for instange if your protecting a hostage then the attacking team are unlikely to throw grenades into the room, while the bombs have two locations so you will need to split your team across two objectives in order to succeed.
Once the round starts, there’s an intial period of quiet tension as each team attempt to figure out where the opposing team are. Depending on the intelligence the drones gathered, they’ll hit you fast, or it can take a bit more time. Rounds can be slow, drawn out, and tactical, or bullets can fly really quickly as the attacking team breach into the room with thermite and explosives. Matches often transition from absolute silence to violent barrages of gunfire in a matter of seconds, and this makes for an especially tense, edge of your seat experience from one match to the next.
Depending on the operator you have chosen, you’ll have one unique ability available to you. These abilities range from an offensive grenade barrage that can breach into rooms, killing enemies inside, to battery and jump wires which allow you to electrify barbed wire, and other metallic items around the houses. Each of these items has a tactical use, and you need to use these each of these abilities intelligently, and often in synchronization with other team mates and their abilities, in order to get the most out of them.
Much of the enjoyment Siege has to offer comes from coordinating all of these abilities together, successfully. Using your drones to scout enemies for Fuze’s lethal breach, using Pulse’s heart beat sensor to inform allies about nearby enemy locations, or clearing the path for other operatives like Thermite, with the use of Thatcher’s electronic destroying EMP grenades. It’s a fantastic feeling when everything comes together, but that’s somewhat contingent on solid communication, which doesn’t always occur with the players you might meet on the game itself.
That’s not to say that a lot of players don’t use microphones, they do… but this isn’t always useful. Not every player really knows how to communicate, or what to communicate and if you’re in Europe especially, you’re very little to encounter people that don’t speak your language fluently, creating a communication barrier that can often prove fatal. Partying up with a good group of friends who you can communicate well with makes all the difference however, and its satisfying when your communication pays off, and you successfully pass on information across your team.
Communication is a really core aspect of Siege’s gameplay. Due to the one-life per round rules, you won’t always be alive to play by the end of the round, but there are a variety of cameras you can still use in order to support your allies and communicate information. So even in death, there’s always something to do, whether you’re hands on with your operative, or looking through the CCTV system, there’s always ways in which you can benefit your team, provided you’re happy to communicate.
It could also be argued, that without communication the game is very limited in what it offers. Without explicit, intentional co-operation between teammates, much of the games depth just isn’t there. Without a communicative team, die to enemies that allies could have informed you of, and you’ll miss ample opportunities to get the upper hand through sharing information. Siege is less fun, without communication, so how much enjoyment you take from the game may be contingent on your ability to make friends, or whether you already have friends playing.
That’s not a problem, necessarily. In fact, the idea that communicative teams automatically have a significant advantage is actually really appealing. The utility of communication effectively enforces it it, which in turn reinforces the tactical, slow paced, teamplay that makes Siege such a great game in the first place. A successful run where you keep your whole squad alive, breaching and clearing rooms perfectly with communication and co-operation, is far more satisfying than rushing in, killing one or two enemies then sitting on the respawn menu until the next round.
Siege’s map design is another highlight, with each of the games ten maps providing a distinctive environment for these viceral shootouts to take place in. Maps range from the interiors of large airplanes, to central banks, and each one has a significant number of unique attributes that make learning them essential if you want to take advantage of the games versatility. Knowing all the approaches to a room in particular, is a huge asset, as well as learning the rooms cover locations and strong points so that when you breach, you know which corners to check first. This detailed and distinctive design adds ample depth to the game that already has ample of which from its weapons, and class selection, ultimately producing an experience with a gradual but noticeable leaning curve, as you feel yourself getting better at the game, as you become more familiar with the quirks of each map and operator combination.
There’s a co-operative component too, with a variety of objectives that you can undertake across the games ten maps. Surprisingly, it’s actually rather robust. Unfortunately on consoles the game drops from 60, to 30 frames per second for these terrorist hunt modes, however it’s still very enjoyable if you can get used to the initially jarring impact that the framerate has on the games look and feel. Small missions are also present for solo players, and although these serve more as a tutorial than a substantial piece of content they can be rather challenging, and enjoyable to complete, especially with the variable difficulties on offer.
Unfortunately however, some of Siege’s enjoyment is undermined by its technical issues. It wouldn’t be an online game without it’s share of them, but it could be said that Siege has more than its fair share. Disconnections, parties disbanding, matchmaking flat out not working, ranked reconnections not working. Anything related to the games netcode, doesn’t work at one point or another. It’s not a persistent enough of a problem that it prevents you from having a good time, as once you’re in a lobby, the experience is usually very smooth, but the excessive amount of time it can take to successfully find a match with your party can be tremendously off-putting. Indeed, it could even be argued that these problems are entirely unacceptable in a game whose focus focus is clearly fixated onto online multiplayer.
Underneath these technical hiccups however, Siege offers a tremendously enjoyable, tactical shooter. A game that differentiates itself with unique, strategic gameplay, allowing players true freedom of their approach, resulting in a genuinely different experience from one match to the next. The slow paced matches are engaging, and genuinely enjoyable, with visceral gameplay from moment to moment, an experience where it feels as though every decision you make has the potential to have a significant impact on the match outcome. Some of this enjoyment is contingent on having the right people to play with however, but if you can find a group of gamers to play with, Siege is unmatched in providing a tremendously satisfying, tactical experience either on console, or on PC.
Original Score awarded: 9, deductions made as a result of technical issues affecting the games online performance. Present score will be updated to the original score, in line with the developers demonstrated ability to resolve to these technical limitations.