Rainbow Six Siege is one of the best games I've played in a while. Me and a few buddies had some regular FPS action going on with Payday 2, but when the developers introduced horrible microtransactions into the game, we abandoned ship. After 200 hours, we had no go-to co-op shooter that we enjoyed. That all changed a few weeks ago when we picked up Rainbow Six Siege. By now, it has become our go-to game to play when we're bored.
There's a few things that made me a bit cynical when I first heard about this game:
- First off, it's a game by Ubisoft. Their games tend to be formulaic and repetitive. Especially so if we're talking about open world games.
- The game is - besides some tutorials - pretty much multi-player only.
- At release there's an expensive season pass that you can buy.
- If you want exclusive weapon skins, you'll need to pay.
- Operators are unlocked using in-game currency (which you earn by playing the game, but you can boost your currency gain by buying boosters.)
That doesn't sound very good now, does it? I would be blasting this game, if it weren't for the fact that it is just plain fun.
At it's core, it's a simple game. You play as two teams of five, one versus another. One team are the attackers, one team the defenders. You alternate roles and attempt to complete an objective.
Sounds simple, right? Sure, but there's a few specific reasons why the game succeeds. Let's go through them all.
First, let's take a look at the content of the game. There's a few single-player missions (11 'operations') that introduce most of the core concepts to prepare you for the online multi-player modes. This is, after all, a core multi-player experience. And you're paying full-price for this gem. I did not have an issue with the price tag of the game, to be honest. There's enough content to warrant that price-point. At least, if you're going to be playing multi-player.
A word of warning for those wanting to dive into multiplayer: you will want a microphone. If you don't have one, communication's going to be much harder. I should point out that the difference between a win and a loss is usually how much the team communicates. (Once you get a hang of the operators and the maps, of course. There's a bit of a learning curve.)
So, second: Rainbow Six is a very focused game. There's only a handful of modes and all of them are objective-based. There is no deathmatch mode in this game. This forces you to play to your operator's strengths, and to the objective. It makes teamplay possible, as the game kind of forces you to work together if you want to win.
Here's what you do in all modes:
- Hostage rescue
- Hold a location
- Bomb attack & defense
Each game (which consists out of rounds -- best of 3) you switch between the roles of attackers and defenders. Both roles have a different set of operators. What I also love about the game is that each map has destructible elements, so your team can manipulate the map to your desire.
It's here that operators can make or break your game: well-placed traps and bombs can turn the tide of a match! The same applies for the attackers: disarming traps and barricades can be tough, but rewarding. Sometimes, it's even best to just take alternate routes and very cautiously.
Even if you're no longer actively playing as an operator (e.g. your character is dead, or when you're waiting to be deployed if you're attacking) you can still operate cameras and aid your team.
Third: the best part of the game is, by far, the community. It's been a while since I've played a game with such a mature community. There's a few rotten apples here and there, but it's a far better experience than most toxic communities of free-to-play games. That's the advantage of it being a full-priced game.
I've ended up in a bunch of different lobbies with all kinds of funny people. Sometimes it takes a while before you get talkative as a group, but if you stay together for a few games, you can find some really great people online.
The game is not perfect. But the developers are clearly supporting the game with a bunch of patches. The worst thing about the game is that it's an Ubisoft game, so that means you'll need Uplay. This is a bit of a bother since you can't invite your Steam friends — you'll need their Uplay usernames.
In the end, most of my complaints about the game are minor. The way the game operates — how counters work, how the environment is destructible, how operators counter each other, how the map design is done: it's all excellent. The fact that the community seems to be loving the game as well is a testament to how great this game is compared to most of the other yearly releases that Ubisoft seems to be pushing out.
Here's to hoping that the game continues to be played for years to come.