When Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege was revealed at E3 in 2014, it was received with much anticipation. It had been quite a while since a Rainbow Six game had been released, especially considering that Rainbow Six Patriots had been canceled prior to Siege's announcement. And to be completely honest, Rainbow Six Siege isn't a bad game. It is quite good, actually. But playing this game requires patience, and a lot of it at that. The game has two game modes-- multiplayer and Terrorist Hunt, or Terrohunt for short. Multiplayer consists of two five-man teams with one team defending either two bombs, a biohazard container, or a hostage, and the other team attacking the defending team and attempting to secure the objective. When the match starts, the defending team has 30 seconds to prepare for attack by putting up defenses such as barricading windows and doors, fortifying walls, and using barbed wire or nitro cells (C4, essentially) to create choke points. The attacking team, on the other hand, has those 30 seconds to scout out the location using RC drones in an attempt to find the objective. Keep in mind that you may not always find the objective before that 30 seconds is up, and if you don't, it provides a severe disadvantage to you, seeing as how you must go in completely blind as to where they are. The defending side gets equipment such as barbed wire that slows down enemies and shields that can be put down and used as cover, while the attacking side uses stun grenades (for obvious reasons) and breaching charges to blow through barricades, walls, and even floors (more on destruction later). The attacking side can also rappel up walls to traverse multiple-floor buildings faster, while the defending side can use cameras to scout out for enemies, sometimes allowing them to get the drop on the attackers before they even reach the objective. Best defense is a good offense, right? For both the defending side and the attacking side, you can purchase Operators. Operators are simply characters that have their own unique abilities, and you purchase them using Renown, which is the currency you receive from completing matches. They each represent a different task force. For example, Ash, an attacker, represents the SWAT, and she has a grenade launcher that acts as a breaching charge that you can fire, allowing you to blow through walls or barricades from a distance. Kapkan, a defender, represents the Spetsnaz, and he has a trip mine that can be placed in door ways to leave a nice little treat for attackers who don't check their corners carefully. I won't spoil too many others, but I will say that Ubisoft is gradually releasing more and more operators that you can purchase with every free update that comes out. The most recent update, Dust Line, added a Middle Eastern map and two operators, Blackbeard, an attacker who can place a shield over his weapon to protect his face, and Valkryie, a defender who can place cameras to provide extra overwatch to either dead defenders or those who choose to scout using cameras rather than fortifying the objective. Terrohunt is a mode that instead takes a five-man team of players and has them either defend or attack an objective against waves of NPCs. This mode gets boring rather quickly as the same objectives are recycled over and over only on different maps.
Siege is a great looking game. The detail in some of the environments is incredible, down to the smallest detail, and the lighting is brutally realistic. If you've been inside a building for a bit, your character's eyes have to adjust to the light change if you look outside a window or door. It's as beautiful as it is terribly dangerous, as enemies are nearly impossible to spot because of the blinding light, putting you at risk of being killed by someone you couldn't even see. The destruction in Rainbow Six Siege is quite satisfying as well. Thin walls can be shot or blown through, but some are tough enough to withstand anything but a breaching charge. Some walls are purely unbreakable as well. There are some floors that have hatches that can be destroyed, but those are somewhat few and far between. If there isn't a hatch, you can still blow through a floor, but it will not allow for an entry point; simply a view point that allows you to shoot through to the floor below since there are beams blocking your path. However, if the defenders are smart, they'll reinforce walls and floors, keeping attackers from blowing through with regular breaching charges, but the Operator Thermite, who represents the SWAT, uses a Thermite Charge than can blow through reinforced walls or floors, eliminating their effectiveness. The game's sound is superb as well, with gunshots and explosions sounding frighteningly real, and footsteps nodding you to the location of what could be an unseen enemy or a nearby friend. But there's one thing Siege does well that not many other shooters can replicate........... intensity. Siege is a game that, when it's boring, it's boring as all hell, but when it's intense, it gets your heartbeat going much more than you could imagine. One moment for me that was particularly exhilarating and terrifying was when I was defending a hostage on the map House, a rural setting that was shown in the E3 2014 demo. I hid next to the hostage as Kapkan in a second floor bedroom while my other teammates when out to fortify more entrances. Then, one by one, they started dying. When there was one of my other teammates alive, he managed to kill one attacker, but was promptly shot down by another. And so it was me against four attackers. As my team and I went totally silent to utilize the impeccable sound effects in an attempt to locate footsteps, I heard the soft tap of boots coming up the staircase to the right of the bedroom. I slowly moved away from the hostage and went prone behind a bed, out of sight from anyone who would peek through a barricade. I heard someone break through a door barricade, allowing them to see through, he smacked it twice more and the barricade broke entirely. He took one more step, and an explosion rang through the house. I had placed my trip mine well. All of a sudden, a breaching charge went off next to where the door was, breaking through a wall. I heard three sets of footsteps pound in, followed by silence. At this point, I could feel my heart going crazy inside my chest. Then the announcer for the game informed me that the attackers were securing the hostage, and I burst out from behind the bed and took them all down in a hail of bullets, pulling my first clutch in my Rainbow Six Siege career. My team went crazy through the mic, but I simply sat back in awe and exhaustion and took in the glory of it all.
That's what Siege does well. However, like in many games, there are things that it does not-so-well. Frequently the hit tracking is extremely unreliable. Sometimes I would fire at an enemy from the hip at a considerable distance and kill them in one shot, but other times an enemy could be inches from me and I'd unload half my clip into them, after which they kill me with one shot and walk off with more than 50 health. Siege can also get repetitive since there is only one game mode for multiplayer-- capture the objective. Terrorist Hunt doesn't offer much variety either. Situations, which are single player missions that show you the ropes of attacking and defending, are merely a time filler, but they do give you extra renown for completing side objectives along with your primary one. The rappelling system for attackers can also be very unreliable. There were times where I was going to rappel down from a roof, and I was sure I was connected, but ended up just walking straight off the roof to my death.
Rainbow Six Siege is a hell of a lot of fun in short bursts. I'd awake one day pumped to play Siege, I'd play it for 3 or 4 hours, and then get painfully bored. But I'd awake the next day ready to play it again. Don't binge too hard on Siege, or it might just get boring in general, never prompting you to come back to it. Hopefully, the DLC that is gradually released will offer some amount of replayability, but with what we've gotten so far, that remains to be seen. All in all, this game is good. A fun and intense title to add to your library, but not one to go down in history as a revolutionary first person shooter, much less a game in general.