20 December, 2016

Rainbow 6 Siege Review

At first glance, Rainbow Six Siege appears to be an action packed shooter in which you clear out all them terrorists and then go home to be celebrated as a highest rank master shooter master after mowing down hundreds. In fact, however, the opposite is true, it is a game where you have to carefully locate the opponent and then take them out - preferably before they see you, and going in guns blazing is a great way to get yourself shot.

However, don't think of it as a simulator, or you will end up disappointed. Much of it looks like it may be, but it is still undeniably a game, and it plays like one. And of course, as it is a Ubisoft title, you will need Uplay.

Reinforcing the wall to prevent hostiles from getting through.
Now that I am 35 hours into said game, I think I know enough to write a review, though I still suck at actually playing. I don't think that will change any time soon, but even then it is entertaining. Much of R6 Siege is about understanding the maps and predicting your opponents, after all, if you can kill with just a single good shot then you want to take the shot before your opponents do. That said, there is a surprising amount of planning and tactics involved, with almost every direction a possible way to assault an objective.

Much of the level architecture is destructible. Walls, floors and furniture are all things that may not actually protect you from bullets, depending on what they are made of, and the best players are able to pinpoint locations of their opponents purely on the sound they make by just moving around. There are a lot of possibilities, and I've yet to find two rounds that played out the same, even the ones where I was new and just hid in a corner in the objective room with my gun aimed at a doorway all turned out different.

Of course, this sounds very well designed, but I don't believe it was intentionally done that way. The reason for that are the noob traps in the game, most notable of these being the tutorial telling you to breach a window with a charge and jump inside under the cover of that charge. If you somehow aren't dead the second you place the charge, thumping at the window, you will be dead from the people who are now aiming their guns at the window you just very clearly blew open. I mean, I suppose you can breach a window and jump in, yes that is very heroic looking and action filled. But it's a very bad idea in practice. The tutorials teach you the controls and that's about it. Attempting to use what it teaches you against players is a good way to die in loud but ultimately ineffective manner.

As taught by the tutorial - stand in front of a window and get shot
But then you can just ask someone to explain things. From my time playing I can say that the majority of players are friendly, and willing to help out. Many will understand if you don't know something or just suck, though there are a few who will scream at you in heavily accented, high-pitched English giving you conflicting orders to go both left and right at the same time before calling a kickvote at you because you're not doing what they wanted. Of course, this is a small minority in every online game, and they are easy enough to ignore with the knowledge that they are worse than you are. Even if you're as bad as I am, there is always someone worse. And they tend to be very vocal.

Games are 5v5 in PvP, both ranked and casual modes, 5 player team PvE, and solo PvE. I can't say much about the PvE aspect("Terrorist hunt"), as the bots are essentially just target practice and mostly good for learning the map. That said, it isn't bad, just not a challenge and very different from multiplayer.
There is plenty of variation with a fair amount of maps and lots of operators (classes, essentially) you can pick and unlock, with a customization system for your guns that seems to be mainly a preference thing, and a cosmetics system to go with it that is mostly very bright and obvious skins that I personally don't really enjoy the look of. Even then there is a lot of choice, a lot of options, and only a few options that are flat out bad.

Lying down behind a couch while my team is shooting.
Overall, Rainbow 6 Siege is a bit expensive, but if you can catch it on sale or have watched enough videos to know that you will like it then it is worth the buy. With a high skill ceiling, large amounts of variation and different mechanics from most other known FPS games makes it a worthwhile investment of both your time and your money.

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