Published on December 17th, 2015 | by Sean Warhurst
Rainbow Six: Siege PS4 Review
Summary: Despite its flaws, Rainbow Six: Siege has emerged as one of the strongest FPS titles of the year.
I’m a single player kinda guy. Sure, I’ll get embroiled in multiplayer modes from time to time but, for me, it’s always the single player campaign that’s the biggest draw. So, understandably, I approached Rainbow Six: Siege with some trepidation, as, much like Titanfall and the more recent Star Wars Battlefront, the game offers very little for those who view gaming as a more solitary pursuit.
With that being said, one of the game franchises that actually seemed to play better online along with offering a substantial and fully realised single player experience, to me at least, was the Rainbow Six series; I quickly became enamoured with the tactical, squad-based gameplay and focus on actual teamwork being necessary for survival rather than being able to run off and lone wolf everything.
But then the series strangely went quiet after the release of Rainbow Six: Vegas 2, with planned follow up ‘Patriots’ abruptly getting cancelled and a lengthy seven years having transpired before fans were given the chance to once again dive in to the fray.
This beacon of salvation is Rainbow Six: Siege and, despite offering much of what long-time fans have come to love about the series, there are a few areas where avid fans may feel that Ubisoft have dropped the ball in their quest to get what is admittedly a niche subsection of the FPS genre out to a wider audience base.
Firstly, the ability to plan before embarking upon a mission has been removed, being replaced with a brief period before beginning a match where the attacking team can scout the area with remote controlled cars. This rushed preparation does add a sense of immediacy to proceedings but some players, like myself, may lament the absence of an option to fully map out your preferred method of attack before being dumped into the deep end. Thinking on your feet makes for some frenetic gunplay action and, after you play a few rounds, this issue is alleviated somewhat through familiarity with the maps, but it does make Rainbow Six: Siege feel considerably different to its predecessors.
There are three primary modes to explore in Rainbow Six: Siege – Standard Multiplayer, Terrorist Hunt and Situations – But, honestly, you’ll most likely spend the lion’s share of your time in the 5v5 multiplayer. The objective changes but the gameplay elements basically boil down to the same thing: Players are split into two teams, with one side attacking and the other defending something, be it a bomb that needs to be defused or a hostage situation where the attacking team must extract a civilian.
The environments boast a high level of destructibility, which can be used to factor in to your playing strategies, and those diving in blind from more standard FPS fare like Destiny or the Call of Duty series will find that their usual approach won’t amount to much in the world of Rainbow Six: Siege. You can’t run around like a headless chook spraying all and sundry, as it only usually takes two or so hits to buy the farm here and communication is absolutely essential, particularly when playing PvP multiplayer.
Every victory is reliant upon strategy and patience and how well your team can prepare the area for the inevitable siege; in tandem with the destructible environments comes a new gameplay mechanic that allows players to combat their objective are being destroyed by reinforcing walls and floors.
The defenders can also lay traps like razor wire and erect shields for cover and it’s this preparation phase that opens each match as the attackers race about with their RC cars that makes Rainbow Six stand out from its contemporaries, offering a more considered and methodical approach to digital warfare.
Situations is what we get instead of a fully-fledged campaign mode, comprised of short challenges that double as a tutorial of sorts by introducing players to gameplay mechanics and viable strategies. You can breeze through this in about an hour or two and you can replay the maps in order to obtain three bonus objectives but, overall, this is a fairly hollow experience and in no way makes up for the removal of a campaign held together by a cohesive narrative.
Terrorist Hunt allows you to play by yourself as well, although you’ll still need to connect to the net, but the true gristle of this mode only makes itself apparent when jumping in with a full contingent of players. Taking on AI enemies and clearing out nests of terrorists is pretty dang fun at first but the novelty wears off after a while and I found myself returning to standard multiplayer for the satisfaction of playing against human opponents before too long.
Another level of strategy is added by the Operators, 20 unlockable classes that specialise in defensive or offensive abilities and items. This places greater emphasis on composing a suitable team, especially as the game only allows one of each operator class per team; the progression system where you use ‘renown’ to unlock operators kind of hits a brick wall after you collect around half, however, and it’s a painfully long grind to get the remaining characters without having to resort to the awkwardly shoehorned in micro-transaction system.
Look, let’s just get this out of the way, okay? Micro-transactions have no place being in AAA quality games. Free-to-play, well yeah, I can get behind that, but for a title that just cost you upwards of $70? I expect to get the full experience and not get nickle-and-dimed during my time with your game. This and the prevailing sentiment that publishers hold back on content that should have been included initially simply so that they can squeeze more cash out of the consumer with a season pass is causing a pretty sizeable divide between the perceived interests of the gaming industry and the gaming community.
Graphics and Audio
Rainbow Six: Siege isn’t the most beautiful game available on the market but it does its job competently enough, especially taking into consideration the level of destructibility.
The audio arena is where Siege truly excels, however, with the authenticity of the sound effects really serving to make for an immersive gaming experience and causing both your team and yourself to unconsciously adopt gruff, soldier-like accents whilst playing.
Rainbow Six: Siege has a lot of enjoyment to offer but it’s hamstrung in some ways by a lack of variety. With only three gameplay modes on offer – one of them barely qualifying- and 11 maps at launch, I imagine that things could get stale pretty quickly despite the dynamic quality of the Siege multiplayer matches.
Thankfully Ubisoft have announced that they intend on offering up any future DLC maps to players for free and exploring the different Operator classes should extend the longevity of the game to a degree.
Still, I can’t seem to shake the feeling that Rainbow Six: Siege, as refined and fun the gameplay is, isn’t going to have a very long lifespan. All but the most ardent gamers flit between titles and by neglecting to offer up a decent single player component Ubisoft have removed an incentive to check out the title even if its community abandons it. The game works well and makes for marvellously intense showdowns but it’s lacking that magic quality that sees “Just one more go” become “Oh shit, the sun’s coming up and I haven’t slept and I’ve got to be at work in two hours and I need to extract this hostage”.
Still, despite its flaws, Rainbow Six: Siege has emerged as one of the strongest FPS titles of the year and, for now at least, I’d definitely recommend it for tactical shooter fans as it’s still in its infancy, the community is still growing and the gameplay is supremely satisfying… But I’d have to add the caveat that the servers may very well be a ghost town come Christmas 2016.
Primary Format – Games – PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Game Genre – Shooter
Rating – MA15+
Game Developer – Ubisoft Montreal
Game Publisher – Ubisoft
Reviewer– Sean Warhurst