I have long been a Tom Clancy fan. From the books and movies to the video games, I am an avid follower. There are not many shooters I would put on the same level as classic Rainbow Six. Even before it came over to consoles with successful games on the original Xbox and PlayStation 2 where they helped usher in and establish online gaming and online shooters for the platform, I was playing Rainbow Six and its sequel Rogue Spear on PC using Juno and Netzero free dial-up services (yes…the struggle was real).
In fact, I have nothing but great and fond memories and experiences playing entries to the Rainbow Six series (we do not talk about Lockdown… ever). It has been years since the well-received Vegas entries to the series and fans have been waiting for a new Rainbow ever since Patriots was announced… then sadly canceled. Enter Rainbow Six: Siege. The first Rainbow of this generation of consoles and, like Lowdown (I just broke my own rule didn’t I?) before it, one that dares to deviate away from the core Rainbow Six formula and methodology.
What does Siege do well? Firstly, the tactics. Siege is a game where teamwork and strategy beat out reflexes and aim. Yes, reflexes and aim are still needed and matter, but they are not the be all, end all. The creativity and diversity of the levels plays into this as well.
This is a game where you have to learn the levels. Which room is hardest to infiltrate from the outside? What are the most common places for teams to place objectives that need defending? What are the most common points of entry for rescue/offensive teams? With over eleven maps at launch (with more on the horizon via DLC), players that take the time to learn levels will have a huge advantage. Destruction is another thing Siege handles well. It makes each experience on the levels dynamic since vantage points and areas of conflict change based on the player’s interactions with the levels and not just each other and the objectives.
Secondly, there are tons of operators for players to unlock and use. Players can pick from 5 CTUs (Counter Terrorism Unit), each having two defender and two attacker operators. That is 20 operators to use at launch with more coming via the Season Pass. You also have the option of picking the “recruit” class and customizing weapons and gadgets (with limits).
A team that picks operators that complement each other is a team better suited for victory. You can only have one of each (except for the “recruit” class). Thought the “balancing” of the operators is still in question currently, no one can argue the diversity of each class.
Lastly, the online works well enough. I never experienced issues connecting to matches or getting dropped from them. My latency experiences were on par with other online shooters currently out. This is a game where the online is the main dish. In fact… it essentially is the main dish and the dessert. The appetizer would be the Terrorist Hunt mode. It is one of the few things in this game that feels “Rainbow Six-ish” at all and implemented well. It is also the only co-op mode that isn’t adversarial.
What does Siege do poorly? It lacks a campaign mode. Rainbow Six is a franchise that has long come with a campaign that could be played solo or co-op. Said campaign was integral in teaching players the fundamentals of gameplay, as well as adding a story to the series (which is continuous with each title).
Siege has no campaign at all, and what little story is present is presented via cut-scenes players see when they first boot up the game or when they unlock an operator. This is unfortunate too, seeing as they went and got the extremely talented and praised actress, Angela Basset. The cutscenes for the operators are intriguing too. It really is a huge missed opportunity for them, especially when you look back at what they were doing with the sadly canceled Rainbow Six: Patriots.
In the place of an actual campaign mode is a “Situations” mode. “Situations” consist of 11 short situations for players to play through. Its purpose is two-fold. First, it serves as an extended hands-on tutorial. The actual tutorial is just three videos for players to watch. It does a solid enough job teaching you the basics of the game and the rules of the modes of play. Secondly, it allows players to earn credits knowns as “Renown” that can be used to unlock operators. It is nowhere as fulfilling as an actual campaign and does nothing to tie in the story of the game at all. I honestly don’t see a reason players will play these more than once other than achievement/trophy hunting.
Rainbow Six has always been a franchise that aims for realism of tactics, gun-skill, and damage. Siege appears to ignore many of these tenets in favor of being a online-focused, “competitive-friendly” game. Gun engagements, when a player is using an automatic weapon, are very spray-and-pray. Rainbow has never been the play for run-and-gun gameplay (actually, no Tom Clancy game has been).
You will encounter many people holding the trigger down while strafing or “pre-firing” around corners in this game. There isn’t any real skill in aiming. The Shields, something that players complained about being game-breaking since the beta, are still as frustrating and game-changing as ever, especially when compared to the impact other gadgets have on the game.
Bullet damage is inconsistent. At times, one to three shots will kill depending on location. Then, there are times where you will have to pour half a clip into someone. A game like this would really have benefited from the Vegas mobility and shield system where people can choose different armor types and where it is on their player. Also, while I understand that all the battles in this game are CQB (close quarters battle), the weapons seem all to similar to each other.
Rainbow Six: Siege is game that left me with the feeling that if I had paid $60 US for this… I would be very upset with myself. This feeling only got stronger when I realized there is a $30 US Season Pack for players to get more content later on. Seeing as this is a game that is essentially online and multi-player focused, not getting that Season Pass will really hurt players.
I do not understand why this game has no campaign as it really needs one. I do not get why this game lacks so many of the multiplayer modes of old. There are a few things this game does well (like the sound design and the destruction), but not enough. A lot is missing from this dish.
For people who only care about playing online, this may be enough to satisfy them for a bit. For those of us who want more or are longtime fans of the series, this entry will leave you wanting.
This review of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege is based on a hard copy for the Xbox One provided by Ubisoft.