Rainbow Six has always been a series I've loved mostly due to its depiction of strategic warfare. It's a nice niche away from over the top arcade experiences that many others within the genre seem to shy away from. It certainly has been a long time since the last entry in the series released and I've been eagerly awaiting another title. With Siege the rules of traditional shooters have been thrown out the window and almost every aspect of these maps can be destroyed. Whether that be small bullet punctures to smashing pieces of boards with melee or detonating a charge to send the wall to bits. Aside from that completely unique element the game forces players to rely heavily on one another in order to complete the mission on hand. There's little room for error when damage is high and so many options are present to eliminate each other. Sadly, with this title they opted to go online only so no campaign experience, but that's not considered in this review as it's not a part of the game. The experience of Siege is broken down into two key areas including 5v5 multiplayer and Terrorist Hunt which are both broken down in sections below. There is also a situations area for basic training, not really that great of an area though it does have its secrets when playing through and will assist players in learning to siege better.
I also wanted to take this time just discuss the general state of the game itself. While Siege does an amazing job of producing the most tactical shooter situations ever, there are problems. The most difficult aspect to go over is the servers themselves which don't work at times. It's honestly disheartening and will most likely be fixed in the future, though this is a review about the launch. At this point they don't function properly with disconnection issues, general problems of just loading a match and some in-game bullet connection lag. Many situations where the bullet detection is completely off or I'll be halfway through a match and just receive an error. The matchmaking is rather quick when it does work and does a good job in matching teams though so many issues persist with it too hard to just play. This is a huge and detrimental aspect to Siege which is of course an online only experience. I'll look to post updates on this, though from my many hours of playing the game these issues definitely persist.
The 5v5 modes are where the heart of Siege really lies with two player controlled teams going at it. This largely focuses around one team defending some position and the other attacking (sieging) them. There's some variation between the objective modes though it does feel largely the same no matter what mode you're playing. The modes here are Hostage, Bomb, and Secure Area which all play out with one team doing pre-op work while the other prepares to siege. It does seriously get quite fierce at times when the players do go at it and that minute or two of preparation for defenders is also really tense. It's a matter of predicting the best spots to post reinforced areas up along with your many defensive tools and doing your best to hold up. I've seen even the most iron of areas eventually break down from the siegers as there's always a unique way to get in. Whether be with force through the barricades or by sneakily taking out a ceiling or floor and surprising them. It was actually really well balanced across many of the maps and each of them provides multiple distinct levels to protect. This could be a serious competitive mode and I personally thought it was one of the most well presented game modes for any shooter. A final note is that this section can be played in Casual or Ranked depending on player preference with that latter being unlocked at level 20 which is slightly odd since most games just allow you to jump in.
This is a classic mode from the series where a team of up to five takes on an unknown terrorist threat. This threat is discussed as the mission loads and the scenario is then promptly laid out for players to tackle. This includes things like defusing bombs, defending hostages or just clearing out enemies. The terrorists are AI instead of battling real players like in 5v5 and honestly they're tough. Not in the sense of being smart enemies, just that damage is dealt to the extreme and they have greater numbers. It's far too difficult actually to accomplish missions at even the normal level so many players may dislike this. Through the many matches I played there were far too many missions that ended up being failed in the first couple minutes compared to the few that were actually successfully completed. It certainly was great at times saving hostages from a plane or decimating enemy defense positions, though many of the objectives were poorly balanced with the bomb defusing being almost impossible. The strategic purists will love this mode and casual players will play some of this though I feel many will just skip this area after a few tries at it.
The game stills keeps that traditional Rainbow Six feeling while moving forward to a solid modern first person shooter. The shooting feels tense and really doesn't hold your hand during combat so you need to think about shots. Not only is the placement of your shots important, but also the ones of your enemies since they can easily shred walls into bits and damage you from almost any location. The variety in weapons is also well done with something for everyone and the class system was also rather interesting. They have a selection of operatives from the top agencies in the world with each having a special ability present, despite that I personally always go recruit since they're more generalized. Although these special operatives look really great and each bring a special skill which can be of huge benefit. Once you select the character the classes can be further customized with differing guns, weapon skins and tactical equipment for the mission. The environments look great and represent many modern locations in terms of feeling like a typical siege situation. Whether that be training quarters or say a standard house they are all brought together realistically and perfectly set up for all sorts of tactical engagements. The number of maps totals up to eleven and I was fine with that amount since the rotation mixed things up nicely, will also mention they have time of day variants as well for the maps. More maps are also more coming down the line for free as well which adds some great value to the title along with longevity which is important. I should also mention that a team that communicates is much better off compared to a bunch of solo players due to the intense strategic elements found within the game.
I really do love the tactical appeal provided within Siege and the destruction is at a level of detail from which we've never seen. It's crazy to see every individual bullet hole puncture walls to create completely dynamic combat scenarios. While the servers do have some issues those will be more than likely fixed in the long run. Combat itself is completely strategic and this is one of the best done shooters I've ever played putting strategy ahead of everything else. Although I do wish there was more solid content to the game, with the free future maps the experience will certainly grow. Siege is for the tactical purists bringing in a solid shooter experience featuring unique mechanics with addicting and fierce competitive multiplayer.
Review Done on Rainbow Six: Siege for Xbox One
Review Code Provided by Ubisoft