Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
If there’s anything for certain, it’s that I’m a connoisseur of fine wine tactical shooter games. I’ve played Ubisoft’s original Ghost Recon game as well as its expansions (back when expansions were actually full-fledged instead of DLCs). I also played the first Rainbow Six titles, but they didn’t really capture my attention until Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield came out back in 2003.
And then the Rainbow Six Vegas series happened, and I think I must have poured way too many hours into them (R6 Vegas in 2006 and R6 Vegas 2 in 2008). Just around that time, the computing capacities of gaming PCs and gaming laptops had just seen a significant improvement, almost geometrically bounding over the previous decade of gaming capabilities. Although I’ve never put a premium on a game’s graphics, tactical shooters are a little different because your ability to differentiate between friend and foe is of utmost importance. In that regard, squinting at your screen in order to try to distinguish between the two can be a real hassle.
Considering that Rainbow Six Vegas 2 came out back in 2008, there really hasn’t been any sort of tactical shooter that featured anti-terrorism units going toe-to-toe with tangos (bad guys). I mean, I love military shooters such as Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon series as well as games such as Squad, but there wasn’t anything where you could play as a member of an elite multinational counter-terrorism unit. Or, at least anything worth mentioning.
Then Rainbow Six Siege was announced back in early 2015 and I remember getting all giddy like a little school girl after watching videos of its gameplay. Siege stood out from other shooters at that time (and actually still does) because it took into consideration such things as bullet penetration and featured highly destructive environments. With a few exceptions, most walls (and even some floors and ceilings) could be blasted through using firearms or explosives.
Siege’s debut, for various reasons, didn’t go as smoothly as expected. But to Ubisoft’s credit, they quickly went to work releasing patch after patch in order to fix their baby. Seeing a triple A game company fully back a product that wasn’t initially received very well, instead of abandoning it as many do, was commendable. I, for one, whom had been thirsting for a decent tactical shooter such as this, have been very pleased with the game’s continued support over the past couple of years.
What’s more, Ubisoft has been releasing a continuous stream of not only game balance fixes (after listening to the community), but also free DLC packs. These DLCs, which contain new CTUs (counter-terrorism units), weapons, and most importantly, operators, could have easily been charged for. Instead, they’ve done the right thing and offered free content in order to expand the game’s longevity.
I mean, we’ve all heard about how many triple A gaming companies (including Ubisoft) have charged exorbitant fees for both in-game micro transactions (which alter gameplay and are therefore pay-to-win) as well as content that many thought should have come with the base game (such as the Warriors of Chaos faction in Total War: Warhammer). Ubisoft has even gone the extra mile by recently announcing that all Rainbow Six Siege’s Year Two content will be free. The only thing that gamers can buy as micro-transactions are cosmetic baubles such as cute little pink gun tassels (still trying to envision what sort of male would purchase those).
The only drawback that I can see with Siege is that the rounds are a little too short for my tastes. I’d prefer three longer rounds to potentially five shorter ones, which is how they have it set up now. That would give a more epic and tactical edge to the game as well as make players value their lives that much more, instead of being reckless.
That’s really a minor quibble, however, as the game is just as fantastic as ever. Take for instance the last time I played. My cohorts and I were on the map which takes place on a plane and we were down to the last round (each team had 2 games won apiece). We were playing Siege’s Bomb Disposal mode, where each team takes turn attempting to disarm one of two bombs located somewhere randomly on the map.
The teams had been whittled down from five vs. five to two on two, with me being one of the final operators on the attacking team. Since I was playing as the operator known as Blitz, whom was equipped with a large ballistic shield which could blind people with its built-in flash modules, I quickly rushed a bomb room, with my comrade watching my back. I located one defender and flashed him as he began firing at me, successfully blinding him. I then ran up and clocked him over the head with my heavy shield, putting him down.
Unfortunately, I hadn’t seen the other defender in the room who shot his assault rifle at my partner, killing him. I turned and flashed my final foe but he managed to avert his eyes, so I aimed at his head and filled it full of lead from my pistol. Then I glanced at the clock which had been counting down. There were only 12 seconds left. I ran over to the bomb and placed my defusal laptop next to it. My fingers typed away furiously and I just barely managed to deactivate it with 2 seconds remaining. My teammates whooped and hollered over the game’s built-in voice com system. The day had been saved.
These sorts of events take place on a regular basis in your typical Siege matchup. There are a few hackers here and there, but Ubisoft has been very aggressive in its anti-hacker countermeasures, and I’ve noticed less and less hackers as time goes on.
Siege’s graphics have certainly held up well over the past two years, and it doesn’t hurt that Ubisoft has steadily improved the game’s visuals in their patches and updates. The character models, weapon, and environmental textures, are all rendered quite well. It’s definitely a game that is fun to show off to your friends on say, a souped-up gaming laptop.
In all, I’m very pleased to see the direction that Ubisoft is taking Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege in. It’s combination of solid combat mechanics, fun gameplay, great graphics, and emphasis on teamwork (when people are working together and using mics), Siege is an absolute no-brainer for anyone who like tactical shooters.