After longing for seven years for a Rainbow Six game, Ubisoft Montreal decided to build their game as a multiplayer-focused shooter. However, and as we all observed, games that follow this structure the likes of Battlefront, Titanfall, and Evolve always seem to be thin with content, and Rainbow Six Siege is no different .

Hardcore Siege fans might bear a bit of disappointed with the single player campaign that has been replaced by “Situations,” a glorified tutorial mode that introduces you to a bulk of the game’s features. Upon completing the Situations objectives, you are rewarded with renown which is the in-game currency used to access various unlockables, most crucial of which being operators for you to play with in multiplayer.

In fact, the earned currency for completing all objectives is enough to unlock half of the Operators–essentially the class units–and all it takes is a couple of hours to go through. Each time you unlock an Operator, an eye-catching cinematic is exhibited that acts as a teaser to how the single player campaign may have been had it been implemented.

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Terrorist Hunt, the second of the three available modes for you to play–yes, Situations is considered a mode–consists of hunting down a number of AI opponents or disarming a bomb while fending of an infinite number of enemy waves. Health is limited throughout the whole match, and being outnumbered vigorously intensifies the players to always be aware of their surroundings. The smallest mistake may peel off most of your life as it only takes a couple of shots to drop you.

The AI tactics are predictable; enemies follow a set strategy every time, think Destiny’s PVE mode, and are not the brightest when it comes to countering human players. The only redeeming factor are the suicide bombers who actively spice up of the mode by being unpredictable. You must always keep one eye open for them as they can spawn from anywhere and charge at you with sever rage, and the only way to counter them is with fast reactions and a few well-placed shots.

Upping the difficulty of the game of course makes the AI stronger and bolder, but they will never feel human, and their only strategy will always be to rush at you guns-blazing.

Undoubtedly the competitive multiplayer mode is the heart and soul of Rainbow Six Siege. It consists of 5v5 matches that will have players switch sides from attacking an objective to defending it. Objectives vary and include rescuing a hostage, defusing a bomb, as well as a few more, and matches are won by eliminating all other opposing team members.

What Rainbow Six Siege lacks in content, it makes up for with the heated gameplay that from round to round can still deliver a special rush of excitement that no other online shooter can. Communication is key, and I hate to say it, but if you don’t have four other dedicated friends to play with, you will not properly enjoy the game and will not be able to experience it fully; the philosophy of the game is built upon team based strategies and planning.

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Operators are designed to flow together seamlessly; I played as Montagne who is able to deploy a massive ballistic shield to provide his team with mobile cover while other allies breached and attacked using Operators the likes of Sledge, a destruction-focused, close-range Operator, or Ash, a destruction-focused, long-range Operator. Team work is key and even after you are killed, you are still able to help our by spectating the security cameras to assist your team in locating the enemies.

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Defenders in each round must effectively calculate where to put up barriers, barbed wires, booby traps, window or door fortifications and more, to restrain the enemy’s freedom on approaching wider directions. Inversely, attackers have to coordinate with each other to counter these defensive tactics.

Balancing out the playing field, each Operator’s special abilities can be countered in a rock-paper-scissors fashion. To illustrate, cluster charges that attach themselves to walls release sub-grenades that may be countered with Jager’s active defense system that intercepts grenades before they detonate. Thermite, yet another Operator, sets exothermic charges that destroy reinforced walls that may have been erected by the defenders.

Studying the opposing team’s habits of play is crucial to winning the match; Rainbow Six Siege is a chess game that will force you to repeatedly plan one step ahead of the opposing team. If you found yourself comfortable with a specific Operator you will be able to upgrade their weapons to further enhance your gameplay experience.

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As stated before, without communication the game quickly degenerates from a well-planned strategy match to a cat-and-mouse game where each player fends for him or herself. This will undoubtedly limit the number of active players as not everyone has four other committed friends to play with.

Of course, No game is perfect and Rainbow Six Siege has its fair shares of nuisances. The leaning mechanic, for example, doesn’t work that well and more times than not you will find yourself having to perfectly position yourself behind cover to shield your body as well as land a few shots. But even if that procedure was to be perfected, you will still feel vulnerable, rendering your tactics temporary at best.

Siege’s matchmaking can be inconsistent especially when you are a squad of four players. If you have friends playing with you from different regions than the one you are on(EU and US), the squad will be disbanded most of the time and an error message is displayed. It will take you anywhere from 15 to 20 tries to finally get yourself into a match. Funnily, these problems were not present during the open beta hell the open beta.

Rainbow Six Siege has also crashed multiple times on me during an intense clash. Additionally, there is one frequently occurring bug that freezes your character’s movements when reaching the edge of the roof after rappelling. The only way to unfreeze yourself is to prone, the action of lying on the floor flat. This bug also happens when taking cover behind a corner, and when such annoyances become constant, your immersion level will take a hit and that’s the worst thing that you can experience in a game.

As for the visuals, well they aren’t  something to be galvanized about. The applied matte palette is bland and the textures are just enough for you to distinguish between a destructible wall and a concrete one. Nothing special, really, but the resulting blood splatter caused by killing an enemy is a form of hideously beautiful art.

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I have to give respects to Ubisoft’s audio, though, as the smallest crackling sound can indicate where an enemy might be approaching from. The most powerful moments are those quite ones that can only preempt the ensuing carnage. The scorching sound of thermite  burning through walls, explosives breaching walls, the sounds of cracking bullets passing through the air; it’s an orchestra of destruction and chaos.

Then there’s the elephant in the room: Microtransactions. With every major console shooter, there is always an element of a pseudo leveling system that is induced to justify longevity. How do you avoid this grinding process? Purchase the right amount of renown that will grant you the opportunity to procure anything from the get-go rather than having to reach level 40 to unlock a specific Operator or weapon, for example.

But what makes this system questionable is its inclusion of exclusive items that may only be unlocked via R6 credits which can not be earned in-game. Adding insult to injury is the price of certain items that almost force you to dish out real money to acquire. Some skins are outrageously priced at 12000 renown points which will take you quite a bit to attain, or you could just put down 250 R6 credits. Since the smallest purchasable bundle is that of the 1200 R6 credits, priced at$10, you see the money that is expected of you to further invest in the game. In a game that is sparse on content as is, these microtransaction habits do little to benefit it and if anything, put it in a negative light.

 

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All that said, Rainbow Six Siege is a niche game aimed at the devoted community of hardcore tactical shooters. If you are such a player then this game is a no-brainer and may prove to be immensely entertaining for you. If however you are not of that community, or do not have a group of friends to play with, Rainbow Six Siege may be better left out of your game collection.