Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege Review!

by on August 21, 2016

 

                When
talking about either singleplayer or multiplayer, the mainstream side of the
FPS genre has been in the unimaginative dumpster for quite a while. Stuck in
the modern warfare era, forced to circle around the same unlocks and following
the same game mechanics every one or two years. If a shooter could properly
change at least one of these things for the better, it would bring the hope of
salvation from this looping feeling and this is where Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege jumps
in.
                For the
hardcore fans the Rainbow Six franchise is probably dead. With the release of
Vegas, the gameplay got streamlined and riddled with arcade elements to
accommodate it  for a wider audience, many
of the tactical elements that made the first Rainbow Six unique weren’t there
anymore. The financial success of Vegas 1 & 2 was going to set the series
even further away from its roots with Patriots. Rainbow Six Patriots was
announced in 2011 and the one gameplay trailer that we got to see before it got
cancelled three years later featured similar gameplay elements as Vegas, but
with the dramatic storytelling of the latest Call of Duty games.
The tragic passing of Tom Clancy didn’t bring an end to the
commercial use of his name by Ubisoft and in 2015, seven years after the last game
in the series, Rainbow Six Siege was released.
                Usually,
I start the reviews by talking about the story, but there isn’t any story in
Rainbow Six Siege or a singleplayer campaign of any kind. This gets a lot of
people upset, especially when I’m talking about a game that launched with a
price tag of $60. But I’ve always thought that a good online game doesn’t have
to justify its price through some explosive hollywoodian campaign which would
redirect resources from more important matters. However, Rainbow Six Siege
comes with some sort of a singleplayer experience in the form of Situations.
                The Situations
are singleplayer missions which have the purpose of familiarizing the players
with the gameplay mechanics, maps and other aspects of the game, while also
providing a reasoning behind the resurrection of the Rainbow Six program. This
is a rather neat approach on training the players without having to spend hours
on campaigns that do nothing that hasn’t been done before.
The Situations do more than just training the newcomers into
the art of Siege. Based on the tasks completed, the Situations reward a
considerable amount of Renown which is the in-game currency to be sunk in the
not too complex but varied enough unlocks system. So, the next natural step
that comes after completing the Situations is to spend these points.
Don’t skip on this…
                In an
era of shooters with gating through overly developed progression systems
designed to serve as a carrot on a stick incentive to play, Rainbow Six Siege
does things in a more elegant fashion. The account progression is disconnected
from the unlocks, allowing players to freely choose exactly what they want to
unlock as long as they have the required Renown. This way the players don’t
have to go through an extended grind just to reach the right equipment for them. Renown can be earned by playing any
kind of game mode until the end, the reward varies based on performance and can
be increased by completing daily and weekly challenges.
The unlocking starts with picking
up some Operators, which are Siege’s version of heroes. There are currently
twenty-six Operators available from some of the most known Counter-Terrorist
Units from all over the globe, designed to fit specific roles, each equipped
with a unique ability and customizable through a variety of weapons and gadgets
that don’t have to be unlocked.  The
Operators are characters from some of the most known Counter-Terrorist Units
from all over the globe, designed to fit specific roles, each equipped with a
unique ability and customizable through a variety of weapons and gadgets that
don’t have to be unlocked. Tied to each Operator are the weapon unlocks, which
are pretty straight forward. These unlocks include sights with popular choices
like ACOG or Reflex, under-barrel grips, suppressors and the customary laser. There
is nothing too fancy, because these unlocks serve as tactical tools to enhance
each player’s style.
Choices
The last type of unlocks are the always
present skins, boosters and other vanity enhancements, courtesy of
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s huge success with its cash shop. Skins and
charms can decorate weapons like a Christmas tree and different headgear for
the Operators can make them fancy looking. None of these unlocks have a real
impact on the gameplay so it makes no difference that a good portion of them are
purchasable only through real money.
                While
not necessary to follow this order, going through the Situations and then browsing
through the unlocks kind of gets you ready for what Rainbow Six Siege is all
about, the multiplayer.
Black suits her!
                The
multiplayer is divided in two distinct branches: Terrorist Hunt and Competitive
Multiplayer, both similar in style, but designed for different audiences.
                The
Terrorist Hunt concept is borrowed from Rainbow Six Vegas and follows some of
the same principles, a lone wolf or a team of up to (Rainbow) five players go
against AI terrorists while trying to complete a set objective. The objectives
and maps are shared throughout the entire game. The AI difficulty level is
adjustable for a more challenging experience, but those adjustments just make
the enemy’s aim deadlier without spicing things up by adding any changes to
their actual behavior (AI development has been stagnating for years).
                The
main problem with Terrorist Hunt stems from the fact that is a PvE mode in a
game that is clearly designed to be PvP competitive. The small enemy variety and
their fixed strategies diminish the challenge and there are rarely any
surprises from one match to another, leading into a repetitive state that make
this mode feel shallow. It’s quite clear that Terrorist Hunt hasn’t received
much attention in the development process and its existence might be just
Ubisoft’s reaction to the number of complaints that Siege doesn’t include a
campaign.
With all its shortcomings,
Terrorist Hunt can serve as an extension of the tutorial, a good playground to
test and understand the game’s mechanics and learn the maps before taking a
bite of the meatier and tastier content.
Stay away!
                Going
through all the steps that lead up to this point or being hardened by other
online shooters and Rainbow Six Siege PvP might still take you by surprise. The
PvP multiplayer has a Casual and a Ranked mode with very few differences
between the two. The Ranked mode comes with a few extra features including a
ranking system and a ranking based matchmaking and the possibility to choose
objective placement and spawn positions.
                An
online match of Siege has two teams of 5 players facing one another in an
attack-defense scenario where each team has to attack or defend every other
round. Each team goes through a preparation phase before each round which
consists in a tactical mini-game of hide and seek that is the first decisive
step in the match. In this phase, the attackers send some small but agile
drones to find the objective and gather as much information about the enemies
and the defensives they have in place. The defenders job is to counter these
drones from scouting while building a maze of traps through gadgets and the
Operator’s abilities and setting up the attackers on the wanted path by
reinforcing walls, doors and windows.
Farming points!
                This
short phase slows the match speed quite a bit but it’s crucial in how each new
round plays out. Information is key and the mind games, while small, can make
all the difference. When the preparation phase is over, the actual round starts
which is a classic 5v5 battle with the attacking team having the better
firepower and the defenders the advantage of position. The victory is decided
either by completing the objective or by eliminating the enemy team. It sounds
a bit common, but there are some gameplay twists that make all the difference.
Unbreakable!
                Looking
from afar, Rainbow Six Siege doesn’t differentiate itself that much from any
other close quarters combat team oriented shooter out there. But what makes
this game innovative and special is the gameplay.
                Siege’s
gameplay is a combination of tactics, teamwork and pure skill with a dose of
realism. From the get-go it’s noticeable that this is not your day to day run
and gun experience full of arcade elements for fast and casual entertainment.
The movement is sluggish with slower than usual animations, the shooting is
losing precision exponentially with each additional second the finger lingers
on the mouse button and everything that hits you is quite lethal.
                The Operators
play a big role in shaping the gameplay. The rock-paper-scissors balancing
system between their abilities does open up a wide variety of tactical options
while the abilities themselves add a few extra layers of strategic value. Scanners
that can see heart beats through walls, booby traps, EMP grenades, jammers,
anti-grenade devices and many more, are the slightly unrealistic abilities, yet
delicious addition to the gameplay complexity.  Combos are created that can
provoke devastating chain reactions or require chain reactions to deal with, prompting
players into thinking twice before acting. The ability is part of each Operator’s
personality which ties into the full biography and the CGI presentation video,
but what defines the Operators in battle is entirety of their loadout. Operators
of the same CTU do share some of the same weapons, but the combination between
the chosen gadget, armor capacity and movement speed, topped by the unique
ability can turn each Operator into a role of its own. This variety leads to a
thin and not so straight line of balance which makes some Operators more useful
than others and it’s ok. After all, in Siege no round plays the same. It’s a
game about situations and that’s bound to cause such issues, but this doesn’t
stop any Operator from being interesting on its own and even remarkable when
used right.
                Strategies
are formed around setups of Operators. Breaching into an objective or defending
one successfully depends on the synergy of Operators and coordination between
players. Hiding behind a shield while advancing or making a wall of smoke to
hinder visibility are just a small portion of the multitude of tactical choices
that come through the good usage of the Operators and their loadouts.
I can see you!
Narcissist…
                It’s
rarely a problem anymore with games coming from AAA developers, but it’s worth
mentioning that the shooting is pretty well done and its complexity makes the
learning curve steeper. It’s a lot about fast and proper aiming and a good
control of the gun’s recoil which does differ from one weapon to another, but
there is also about a good knowledge of the environment. A lot of the action is
about waiting and aiming at the right place from where the enemies are supposed
to come. An extended knowledge of the maps is mandatory to get good in this
game and that comes after a ton of practice.
That won’t work.
                There
are currently thirteen maps in the game, ten were available at launch and the
extra three were added through free content updates, together with some more
spendy Operators. Some of these maps are extremely detailed, combining small
and large rooms over multiple floors, mixing claustrophobic insecurity with the
ever present fear of ambush. But the key feature that defines Siege and shapes
these maps into hazardous environment that demands an excessive attention to
everything is the physics.
Away from the windows.
                I’ve
always been a fan of this technological advancement and I’ve always thought physics
will reshape how shooters play and here it is, in Siege, the more innovative
and fantastic feature of the game.
                The
physics are so detailed and allow for such surgical destruction that the number
of genital jokes I’ve seen in this game is off the charts. The physics are part
of everything, environmental objects, windows, floors and especially walls, in
such a way that what you knew as a safe place might turn into your tombstone in
a few shots or with a well placed explosion. The players can make holes in many
of the buildings’ walls allowing them to create kill holes small enough for a
defender’s SMG to sneak by and cut down everyone in the way or walls can be
destroyed to create new paths for tactical maneuvers and flanking. The options
are limitless and even after so many months of playing this game, my mind is still
boggled by some of the physics exploits that some players pull off.
                Despite
being so amazing, the physics have two edges. The latest map has proven that
they have to be handled carefully or the tactical elements induced through
destruction can transform into chaos.
I bet they won’t expect this!
No strategy involved, I’m just having fun…
                Controlling
the physics is part of the game’s learning process and to deal with the
unpredictability that arises from such a volatile environment both teams have
been equipped with contextual gear. Attackers can rappel on the buildings wall
in order to open new pathways and avoid many of the dangers that could wait for
them inside. The defenders can re-shape the map the way they want through
reinforcements and destruction.
There is always a window.
                Rainbow
Six Siege is an amalgam of features and mechanics, some more innovative than
others, which, when glued together make up for something truly amazing. It’s
clearly not something for everyone’s taste, but it’s a satisfactory change for
those who had enough of the reheated stews we have been getting lately.
                At its
core, Siege is a competitive game and a potential e-sport (Ubisoft is trying)
and that could send the wrong message for some players, but playing it reveals
so much more. There is a certain orientation towards realism supported through
technical features which give the game a different spin than the competition,
but without diminishing its competitive play potential. The recipe at hand still
needs some seasoning, but I like the taste of it and I can’t get enough. I’ve
been playing games competitively for almost 20 years, yet some of the most
glorious moments in my gaming life are coming from this one, moments that made
me mad that I’m not creating video content.
                As for
Siege’s future, the game is in a continuous evolution. Balance changes occur
quite often including reworks to make some Operators more efficient and even map
changes to get rid of some of the more uglier exploits. The content is also
flowing. Three new maps and six extra Operators with specific abilities and
gear have been added freely through a Season Pass that is so unnatural in style
for the current market. For the first time in years, there is no division
between players in an online game that comes from an AAA developer and that
gives me some sort of hope for the future. Rainbow Six Siege is a wall-opening
game which might have enough power to set the way for a new trend, but it
doesn’t do it without many compromises.
Stay down!
The advantage of synchronized attacks through communication.
                If you
read up to this point you would have noticed the positive spin of this article,
so you might wonder what took me so long to write a review about a game I’ve
spent over 300 hours playing. Aside of my incapability of respecting my own deadlines,
I always felt that it is unfair to review this game shortly after its launch
and this time period continued to extend up to this point. Why? Because Rainbow
Six Siege is a deeply flawed game and I felt it deserves more than lashing out
my frustrations with it. So does that mean the game is in such a good technical
shape now? No, but it sure has gotten a lot better than it was this spring.
                The
main problems Siege had and continues to have to a certain degree can be
pinpointed even by the most casual players out there: netcode, matchmaking and
cheaters. The netcode has been a mess since before the game’s launch. The
Closed Beta Tests prompted endless discussions about the game not having
dedicated servers because of weird netcode related problems which included
dying behind walls or shooting players without any effects. These problems
persisted through release and are present even today, to be fair, at a slightly
lower rate but a nuisance nevertheless. Severe peekers advantage, weird deaths
and no hit registration are the top problems that are currently ruining the
Siege experience. Like this wasn’t enough, Ubisoft’s servers don’t manage to
stay stable all the time causing matchmaking problems more often than one might
think.  Countless minutes are sometimes
spent trying to find one or two missing players without positive results.
                Despite
the above mentioned problems being extremely serious, they didn’t drive the
player base away. What could have killed Siege was the plague of cheaters.
                Until
recently cheaters have been running rampant in Ranked matches, killing the joy
of competitive gameplay. I’ve been witness to actual duels between cheaters in
which the innocents involved could do nothing else than spectate and measure
the effectiveness of the cheating programs. Over the last decades I’ve been
playing online shooters whenever I had the chance and since Battlefield Bad
Company 2 I haven’t had such a problem with the underbelly of online gaming. But
at long last justice has been served (!!!). With the latest patch BattlEye has been
deployed banning close to four thousand cheaters in the first days of activity
(I can’t stop grinning).
                The
list of bugs has been getting smaller and smaller with each patch and some of
the problems that kept the Siege experience grounded have been annihilated.
There are still some questionable design choices born from the conflict between
competitive and realism and when melting together with the unreliable netcode
they can send you into episodes of tourettes. One-shot headshots with any
weapon in the game have been the nightmare of any skilled player and the
blessing of every beginner. This might be an unfitting mechanic for a game
that’s not really a simulator as in many cases tends to reward luck over skill
(spraying and praying is a real thing). There is also the camera placement at
the neck level which is misleading the players into thinking their heads are
safe, but this is just me nitpicking, right?
                In the
end, Siege is here to stay and call me naive if you want but I am starting to
believe that. After a slow start, a stormy evolution and three launched DLCs,
the player base is higher than ever and the latest content update has brought a
ton of new and more than welcomed improvements. It’s not yet at the quality
that it deserves, but I take it as it is, because there is no other shooter
like it out there.
                I’m
getting closer to the end of this review and it’s time to talk a little more
about the visual part of the game. I’ve mentioned above that the physics of
Siege are of the highest quality, but what about the graphics?
                Rainbow
Six Siege’s graphics look pretty good on the highest settings and they aren’t
the most demanding, but can put pressure even on good rigs when playing on the
latest and more detailed maps. The Ultra HD textures available on PC do make
the landscape a little shinier, however, the graphics are far from the quality
expected from a game marketed as a AAA. There are many moments when the
production value clearly doesn’t justify the game’s launch price, visual bugs
are common and models glitching through walls have been a problem of life and
death. A general lack of outdoors physics is also upsetting, showing much the
developers have skipped on. The lighting isn’t the greatest either, with day
and night causing visibility problems that put the members of a team in a
serious disadvantage. There are enough issues and the destructive beauty of the
physics engine can’t hide them all, but Siege is still a nice game to look at
and it can withstand the test of time for more years to come.
This view almost makes me forget how chaotic this map is.
                On the
audio side things are a little more complicated. On one hand, the sound design
is pretty good with weapons having unique sounds, reverberation is felt in
in-doors shootouts and an overall quality can be noticed. But the technical
part is more than unstable. In a game where every sound heard can make all the
difference and having a headset should be mandatory it’s rather ironic that the
direction of sound is quite messed up. I’ve been experiencing some serious
issues in locating the direction of a sound source and many players have
complaint about this. Much of the time sound is unreliable as you might hear an
enemy on the same floor with you just to find out that he’s actually above or
below. This leads to extremely awkward moments and unnecessary deaths.
                The
last come the music and voice acting, which aren’t so important but present and
pleasing. Even if it is nothing memorable, the music is in tone with the game.
The few moments that are voice acted are at the high quality standards of
today’s games and the voice acting itself builds on the personality of each of
the Operators.
Only in Siege!
They seem fake.
No surprise there…
                I’m
not going to lie, Siege is not exactly a Rainbow Six game, but in all fairness
what was the last real Rainbow Six game? For the old timers the name might seem
nothing more than a marketing scheme, yet I believe that Siege is the best
interpretation of what a competitive Rainbow Six game could be and whether you
accept that or not is up to you. It’s the first AAA online shooters in years
that goes outside of the known pattern and tries something different and for
all the taken risks the game succeeds in its task to be something else. It
might not be a huge financial success like CS: GO or Battlefield, but it does
extremely well considering its closeness to a niche gameplay and it makes me
wonder if maybe the gamers had enough.
                The
high launch price and the multitude of problems managed to overshadow the
game’s greatness for quite some time and it’s a shame. But things have been
getting on the right track and for all the exercise in frustration that this
game has been for me this whole time, I really love it for its innovative and
tactically engaging gameplay, in spite of its many problems. This might categorize me as a masochist or maybe the core game is so good that it is worth
the pain.
                For the
longest time Rainbow Six Siege wasn’t a rough diamond around the ages, but one hidden
inside a crust of impurities. The crust is starting to crack open.
Pros:
+ Above the average graphics and good performance
+ Detailed destruction physics that open up an immense
amount of possibilities
+ Addictive and competitive gameplay which combines tactics,
teamwork and skill
+ The Operators
+ An excellent progression system
+ Good tutorials
+ At least one year of free content
+ Custom matches
Cons:
– A ton of annoying bugs at release, some persisting even
today
– Netcode issues
– Matchmaking failures
– Models clipping through walls
– Misleading sound effects
– Terrorist Hunt is underdeveloped
– Until recently it was plagued with cheaters
Nodrim

Comments

Of of of … nu tu o multumire, un special mention, nimic, la genericul de la final. Nu stiu unde te aflai fara mine si Tigru. 😛