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Review: Rainbow Six Siege

Rainbow Six Siege offers a welcome change to the popular shooters of the moment. Where games like Call of Duty and Battlefield offer action-packed arcade shooter experiences, Rainbow Six Sieges goes back to the roots of a tactical first person shooter. There’s no regenerating health in this game. Siege is a tactical shooter where every decision and every bullet counts. It’s the game a lot of gamers hoped for and it delivers.

Two teams, one winner

You play Rainbow Six Siege in two teams, the terrorists and counter-terrorists. No, this isn’t a Counter Strike rip-off; Siege goes its own way. Siege is a very tactical, squad-based shooter, meaning you’ll need to work together in order to win. The goal of the game is to invade a settlement and take down the terrorists. After this, you’re forced to defend another settlement against the same terrorists. The game offers a lot of variation thanks to this attack and defense mechanisme. You’ll be the attacker one round and defender the next round. To win the match you’ll need some skills and a lot of preparation.

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When you’re on the good side, you’ll get time to scout the environment using small camera-mounted robots. With these tools, you can recon the building and search for enemies. This will make your task of taking them down a little easier. Don’t be mistaken however; the terrorists also got some time to prepare for your visit. Terrorists can enforce doors, barricade windows, set up C4 explosives, set up tripwire, blow holes in walls and a lot more. Taking down well-prepared terrorists won’t come easy and you never really know what to expect. The game gives you a lot of freedom and possibilities to take down the enemies; this is one of the strengths of the game.

Prepare for the unexpected

This amount of freedom means you never really know what to expect. Your enemies can use several ways of hiding or can invade your hideout using several techniques. Kicking in walls, blowing up walls, climbing through windows, it’s all possible. Cameras and infrared cameras compensate these skills, terrorists can set-up these cameras on strategic places to make sure nobody gets inside unnoticed. Thanks to the wide variety of skills and tools on both sides, you never truly know what to expect or how to take down your enemies. Working as a team will be crucial if you want to stand a chance.

 

Every bullet counts

 

Besides the skills, the eleven playable maps are dynamic, meaning the locations of the key objectives will change each session. This means you can’t really use tactics that worked before since the objective is placed in another room. The objective varies from generators to hostages, each with their own requirements to take them down or save them. Also note that a lot in your environment can get destroyed by bullets, even walls, and you know you’re in for a true fight to survive.

Multiplayer only

This brings us to the modes of the game, just like Star Wars: Battlefront, Rainbow Six Siege focuses on the multiplayer and offers no story or exciting campaign and that’s too bad. The game starts rather intense with a great cut scene talking about a new deadly virus that’s taking over the world, it’s your job to stop the one responsible, too bad Ubisoft didn’t do more with this story, it would have been interesting to see how a campaign would work. We’re sure we missed out on a great co-op campaign here but we can’t change that however.

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Besides the online sections, the game does offer offline solo missions called ‘Situations’. These are 30 small situations on different maps where you learn everything you need to know about the game. You learn how to take down enemies and approach their settlements but you’ll also learn how to reinforce your own settlement. These situations are fun to play but lack a story to glue them together. They feel like small fragments and lack context. Fun to play but I’m sure a lot of players will skip those missions.

It’s clear that Rainbow Six Siege is meant as a tactical multiplayer game and it really succeeds in its goal but it really lacks a face and story. You’ll never feel a connection to the character you’re playing and that’s truly a shame. Due to this, the game does feel like a Counter Strike-esque game. No emotion, no story, just tactical games and warfare.

The operators lack personality

We can’t blame Ubisoft for trying however. Without a story, the studio did try to give the game a face with more than 20 operators. These are special characters, each with their own skills and fancy names as Pulse. The problem with the operators is that you never really ‘believe’ them, connecting to them is hard. Sure, their introduction trailer is pretty badass but it doesn’t change the fact that they are replaceable. The operators have unique gear but thanks to custom load-outs, you can arm any character just the way you like. It feels like a lot of potential went lost on the operators since it’s clear games like Team Fortress prove that different character can certainly work, if they have their own unique character and charm that is.

It doesn’t matter; this is a team-based shooter at its best 

Sure we can be disappointed by the lack of story and memorable characters but in the end, it doesn’t really matter. Rainbow Six Siege doesn’t want to be the next Team Fortress or Counter Strike, it wants to be a great team-based, tactical shooter. The game really succeeds in its goal. Rainbow Six Siege is best played as a team, going Rambo on your enemies will end up in a quick death and this game is rather brutal. You don’t respawn and your health doesn’t regenerate. Each bullet counts and every hit takes you one step closer to the grave. Once you’re dead, you can only spectate the match until there’s a winner.

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This old-school difficulty is rather refreshing and it really changes the way you play the game. Running from cover to cover and slowly advancing in an empty house with your team behind you is the way you need to play the game. Owning a good headset is really necessary if you want to play this game, there’s no victory without communication. This also means the game needs to be played online all the time, if you don’t own a subscription on your PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, you’ll need to get one to enjoy the madness.

Rainbow Six Siege is worth the subscription without a doubt since it brings back something we thought was gone forever, a realistic shooter with consequences. Every decision you take could mean the end of you; you really understand the gravity of the situation and will adapt your game style to this danger. It’s a welcome change to the arcade shooters we’re seeing most of these days.

Conclusion: 

Rainbow Six Siege is a great tactical team-based shooter. Sure, it lacks a great story and some personality but in its core, it’s one of the best shooters of this year. Also note that a lot of (free) DLC will only improve the game in the future. Ubisoft really delivered a very realistic shooter where every bullet counts. This isn’t another brainless shooter; this is a tactical game at its best. You never know what to expect and you’ll need to adapt to each situation over and over again. We’re sure shooter fans will be happy with this challenging game but be sure to work together as a team! 

8/10

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.