At its finest, Rainbow Six Siege offers a brutally visceral, tactical experience that’s absolutely unrivaled on current generation hardware. The thoughtful class based design, coupled with the intense, moment to moment gunfights creates an experience that’s absolutely unrivaled in what it offers. Comparisons between Siege and games like Destiny or Call of Duty feel akin to those between Kinect Four, and Chess. Siege offers a brilliantly strategic platform where communication and intelligence are rewarded above all else, the definitive ‘thinking man’s shooter’ of this generation.
Unfortunately then, it’s with considerable dismay that Siege is impossible to recommend as a launch day purchase. Despite all of Ubisoft’s intentions to make this game fully playable before launch, none of the hands on experiences I have been able to garner have demonstrated any sense that the game is ready to launch. From local demos at events like EGX, to the closed and open betas held by Ubisoft, I have yet to experience Siege in a state where I have felt that the game was ready to ship.
At worst, connectivity is non-existant. To some degree this is understandable during a beta period, but technical problems pervade almost every aspect of the game, that they possibly could. Issues range from not being able to connect, being booted from matches, trading kills because of bad netcode, glitching into walls, getting stuck in thin air, floating randomly, having half of your squad randomly join another match, or splitting teams. None of these issues are consistent, but between the myriad of problems this game has, something negative tends to affect every single match. It can be something small like getting stuck on the spot until I go prone, or something more troublesome like a random disconnection for myself, or a member of my squad.
As a result, despite the unique and engaging gameplay that I wholeheartedly adore, it’s impossible to recommend a day one purchase to the lay consumer. Most people wouldn’t be happy with a product that did not function as advertised, and thus far, Ubisoft have provided us with no reason to believe that Siege will provide the experience Ubisoft have showcased. The trailers Ubisoft have shown – demonstrating smooth and seamless gunplay – naturally omit a plethora of random glitches and disconnections that persistently undermine the experience advertised. And while it’s all possible Siege may live up to its hands-off demonstrations, Ubisoft have done very little to provide the players with any reason to believe that’s the case.
With all of this in mind, you may think it odd that I will still be picking up this game, and its season pass on launch day. Despite the abundance of problems, between these difficulties, my gameplay with Siege has provided me with some of the best multiplayer experiences I have ever had. Siege not only reintroduces a focus on the tactical possibilities within the first person shooter, but reinvents this with expansive environmental destruction in tense, small scale environments. The flexibility offered by the game is unprecedented, with each round playing completely distinctly from the next due to the variance that the plethora of tools and angles of approach provide for both teams.
Planning out an approach with your team, and having it play out, while being forced to adapt to the hazards enemy forces present, it makes for an experience that’s truly unique and thoroughly enjoyable. Co-ordinating classes such as shield users together with other operatives while breaching a building feels tremendously satisfying, and the interplay with all these abilities and communication with your team makes the game feel astoundingly in-depth. Never do you get the sense that ‘the enemy team is just better than yours’, there’s always a new strategy or approach you can try out with the tools available to you. It never feels repetitive, or shallow.
So, because of this, I just can’t skip this one. I can’t go back to what I consider to be the mundane, and repetitive competitive forays offered by the genres contemporaries such as Black Ops 3 or Destiny’s, Trials of Osiris. These games, where dexterity is rewarded above all else, where common sense and intelligent gameplay feels as though it takes a back seat, simply do not compare to the sense of satisfaction that comes from outsmarting my opponent with strategy and communication. Siege is by no means the very best game it could be and it’s not a game that I feel is ready for its launch date on Tuesday, however it fills a void in the market for a tactical, competitive first person shooter while at the same time bringing plenty new to the table, and that, I simply can’t pass up on. I would rather sit through the occasional network issue or technical glitch, than play another round of the same games that we’ve all being playing for over ten years.