Rainbow Six: Siege – Preview

Rainbow-Six-Siege-E3-TerroHunt-E3-2015-demo-UbisoftThe First Person Shooter genre has risen over the years to be a dominant force in the gaming industry. With its rise, as with anything that becomes popular, the gaming community has had to endure a flood of clones, bad ports, and bad games that each try to mimic the success of their much better counterparts. Over the past few years, even the “good” FPS games have begun to mimic each other to the point where, other than different art assets and writing, they’re almost indistinguishable from one another. In some cases, even the art assets and writing aren’t all that different.

The Rainbow Six series, while by no means small, often flies just under the radar, usually somewhat overshadowed by the larger juggernauts of the genre. In some ways, this has allowed the series to retain its identity and keep it a, somewhat, unique snowflake amongst the piles of FPS’s that cover the industries landscape. Of course, very few titles (FPS or otherwise) can claim true uniqueness these days, and Rainbow Six is no exception.

Cue Rainbow Six: Siege trailer

As you can see from the gameplay above, as well as the game’s own namesake, Siege is all about the attack and defend gameplay. “Tactics, Teamwork, and Tension” –  the three pillars of any Rainbow Six game are alive in well in this new iteration.

The Gameplay

You know the drill. In multiplayer there are two teams (five players on each side) who fight it out, round after round to determine the victor. However, unlike the “Round 1 – Fight” and then all out mayhem routine we’re all accustom to, Siege takes a more methodical approach and is better for it. At the start of each round, both teams go through a “Prep” phase in which the Defenders work to fortify their base of operations by placing barbwire, reinforcing walls and windows, setting traps, etc. The Attacking team pulls out its own array of gadgets and tries to track the progress and movements of the Defending team, in hopes of building a cohesive strategy to take them down. This consists of using remote vehicles, cameras, hacking, and a host of other methods used to break into the target area.

Rainbow-Six-Siege-E3-TerroHunt-E3-2015-UbisoftThe methodical pace quickly gives way to chaos as the fighting begins. Teammates breach doors and windows only to get mowed down while others retaliate. Even though the combat is satisfyingly visceral, this is where chinks in the game’s armor begin to show. The matches are fast. I mean deadly fast – I’m talking 3-5 minutes. If you find yourself on a team of unorganized, lone wolf style attackers, you’re going to be in for a bad time. While this is clearly a design choice, after all Siege is all about teamwork, it’s definitely going to create some frustration. Whether it be a real world military campaign or a fake one designed in a video game, attacking a well-fortified base is always going to be an uphill battle. Once you throw in a group of unorganized players together via matchmaking, it’s going to be an uphill battle in the mud.

To counter this, the environments in Siege offer a decent amount of destructibility to keep the defending team from turtling too much. It also helps that the matches are small affairs of five on five matches. Coordinating with four other people is a heck of a lot easier than organizing a warzone (I’m looking at you Battlefield 4).

TerroHunt Mode (aka going solo)

If trying to coordinate with other breathing beings isn’t your bag (and I sympathize with you if that’s the case), you’ll be happy to hear that “Terrorist Hunt” mode is returning in Siege, renamed to TerroHunt. And, of course, there will be a single payer campaign to play though to get your hands dirty before jumping into online play.

The TerroHunt game mode is featured in the gameplay video above, and works like this:

You can play by yourself or with four other friends against a team of AI enemies. If you play by yourself, you are by yourself – no AI teammates for you. So far, 11 locations have been revealed, as well as hints that TerroHunt will include various game modes (think hostage rescue, bomb diffusion, etc). Each time you load up the mode, you’ll be thrown into a random location with a random choice of attacking or defending, a new set of objectives, new obstacles, and AI which “has access to all the options you do.” For me, these details are a bit of a letdown. While I’m pleased TerroHunt is returning and seems to be even more fleshed out, it’s disappointing that you’ll have no AI controlled teammates. This decision seems a bit odd, considering that they’ve boasted about how good their AI is designed. On top of that, it seems like the mode largely consists of randomization. One of the things I like about any game is customization, and I tend to get grumpy when that’s taken away from me.

Rainbow-Six-Siege-E3-TerroHunt-E3-2015-Ubisoft-Stage-DemoSimilar to the single player campaign, the mode will have multiple difficulty settings, including a realism setting in which one shot will kill, if that’s your thing. TerroHunt will, unsurprisingly, be an objective based mode that favors tactics over a breach and clear the room mentality. Ubisoft has boasted that TerroHunt has the “most challenging AI in a game ever,” so if you’re looking for a challenge, Siege might just deliver.

If graphics and performance are something you pine over, which, let’s face it, we all do to some extent, Ubisoft has said:

You’ll get 60fps on PVP across all platforms (PC, PS4, Xbox One), and you’ll get 60fps on the PVE Terrohunt mode on high-end PCs. On consoles, it’s going to be 30fps. Again it’s due to optimisation, because the AI can do everything the player does and dynamically change tactics.

Apart from a stage demo, which players were able to play for themselves at E3, Ubisoft also announced that the Rainbow Six: Siege beta will be available this September 24th, on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. The beta will include PVP and TerroHunt game modes. It was previously announced that players would need to pre-order the game in order to get access to the beta.

If betas don’t interest you, you can expect to get your hands on the retail copy of Siege October 13, 2015.

TerroHunt E3 Stage Demo

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