It would be fascinating to really know what happened to Rainbow Six: Siege from the time of its initial unveiling to what we got to play in the recent beta, because it feels like they started to strip away everything they could from the initial reveal (including single-player). At some point they seem to have decided to add as much fluff to it as they could because they had taken away too much. Rainbow Six: Siege feels like a simple concept that’s been needlessly complicated.
At its core, the competitive game mode is a more approachable, newbie-friendly version of Counter-strike. And if they had gone with just that – their own twist on one of the most popular games of today, it would have been a pretty cool game. But then they’ve added all this stuff into the periphery and I am not sure if it really belongs there.
A 5v5 game where one team attacks and the other defends is not really a new concept, but between the movement set, the breaching dynamics and the solid gunplay, it really feels like something fresh and interesting. But then it also does the usual thing of throwing in different “classes”, unlocking just about everything by earning XP, customising weapons, and all that other baggage that comes with every other shooter on the market. It’s unnecessary fluff thrown in to fill up a checklist.
My biggest problem though, in PvP at least, is the amount of downtime you have in a match. The default gameplay has no respawns, and after each round, you have to select your operator, load out and spawn point (all of them feel like pointless repetition), which takes about a minute. It might not seem much, but a round will usually last 2-3 minutes, less if you die quickly. So that usually means that players who die early on, end up spending about a minute playing and 3-4 doing just about nothing. And over a game spanning four rounds, those spare minutes add up. The no respawn policy is fine, but the downtime in the middle of rounds needs to go.
Terrorist Hunt, the game’s co-op player-vs-enemy game type is much more interesting. It brings in all the movement mechanics, breaching and destruction and the multi-level maps from PvP and fuses it effortlessly into the co-op. It’s easily the best iteration of the game type this series has had so far. There are some minor issues (occasionally poor AI, netcode and hit detection, etc) but most of them are forgivable considering this is the beta and those problems seem fixable.
However, there are issues that probably will carry over from the beta. There is no server browser, which is a terrible idea and almost a deal-breaker to a lot of people. Worse, the matchmaking is hit-and-miss at best. The game also doesn’t seem very well optimised, and considering Ubisoft’s past releases on PC, it would be optimistic to assume that the final version will be different.
Lastly, there is the ever-lurking Uplay, which would have been in the background if this was a single-player title, but is now front and centre since this is all about the multiplayer. Ubisoft would be hoping that the strong gameplay will help people overlook all of that, but I am not so sure it will. It didn’t save Titanfall, and this is no Titanfall.
Truth is, its strength in core gameplay doesn’t really mean a lot, and that’s true for every other game out there, because no matter how good a multiplayer game is, it lives and dies by its community. That is going be the biggest challenge facing this game come release date. As things stand, it’s hard to imagine a full-priced multiplayer-only game without a server browser that uses Uplay having any sort of a serious following.
Rainbow Six: Siege is scheduled for release on December 1 for PS4, Xbox One and PC. The digital PC version is available for predorder at G2A.com