At launch, Rainbow Six Siege left a generally good impression but just wasn’t the kind of multiplayer game I was looking for. Each round is its own incredibly tense standoff as ten elite operators circle a series of maze-like arenas, gunning each other down. While attackers need to carefully scout every nook and cranny on approach, their opponents are typically hunkered down, red dots and ACOG sights aligned at the perfect angle. It’s all very cat and mouse with a rather steep learning curve to boot. You see, although the actual mechanics and systems are easy to nail down, Siege requires hours of practice before you can truly start to feel comfortable.
Having abandoned the game on my shelf for the best part of a year, I was gripped by the sudden urge to jump back in. Rainbow Six Siege is one of the few online shooter out there that has managed to transform into its own platform. In many ways it’s a rule breaker, outlasting similar games which had grabbed the spotlight upon their release.
At its core, nothing has changed. This is still a highly tactical shooter where run and gunning is a strict no-no. Sure, there’s the occasional rush but behind each sudden movement comes long periods of strategizing. Being hot on the trigger is one thing but means nothing if you can’t plugged into Siege’s added layer of mind games.
To the unseasoned rookie, it will feel almost impenetrable to begin with. I made that exact comment upon my return, and at times, genuinely considered popping the disc out and uninstalling the game completely. Spending the best part of fifteen minutes getting pummeled by the opposition with no kills can be terribly disheartening. As you begin to sculpt out your own tactical playstyle, it becomes palatable then, very shortly, highly addictive.
Each operative has their own unique ability which can significantly alter the flow of a match. Then there are the various maps, allowing defenders to choose exactly which rooms they want to stake out. Despite all these variables, in the end it comes down to well-planned raids, ambushes, and making use of the game’s various tools.
Now is an especially great time to suit up and grab a breaching charge. Rainbow Six Siege had some serious issues at launch but over time Ubisoft has continued to polish its flagship first person shooter. They’ve also rolled out post-launch content in the smartest way possible, combining free maps with premium cosmetic items, and operatives that can be earned through gameplay.
By refusing to follow Call of Duty and Battlefield in their march towards the map-pack precipice, Rainbow Six Siege has continued to reap the rewards. Having launched in December 2015, Ubisoft has just kicked off “Year 2”, promising at least eight more playable operatives, four new maps, and hopefully even more features and refinements. With each update and competitive season comes more attention and headlines, fuelling the potential for a proper sequel if and when Ubisoft is ready.
Compared to a lot of first person shooters out there, Siege is an easy one to watch in the esports scene. As shown during the recent Six Invitational tournament, spectator’s are given full view of the action, capturing every set piece and strategic play. Again, the game systems are so easy to understand – there’s no need to go away and do your homework before tuning in.
Despite the game continuing to snowball, the price of entry keeps on dropping, too. Don’t worry if you missed out on the recent promotions – you can easily find a second hand copy of Siege for around £20 – £15 if you’re lucky. Now, with Year 2 luring lapsed players out of the woodwork, there’s no better time to get involved in what is arguably one of the most unique and inventive shooters on the market.