Rainbow Six Siege manages to make the gameplay feel strategic, well-balanced and immersive — a trio of qualities that other shooters rarely manage to pull off in an online setting.
Rainbow Six Siege, a copy of which The Post received at no cost from publisher Ubisoft and was donated to Operation Supply Drop, requires players to use stealth, teamwork and strategy to come out on top.
The gunplay is solid, and the gameplay offers plenty of variance with an extraordinary feel compared to other multiplayer shooters.
The game centers around special forces units. Missions include liberating hostages, disarming bombs and infiltrating safe houses to eliminate all enemies. The locales range from a house in the suburbs, a large mansion decorated for Christmas and an airplane sabotaged on the tarmac. Each map is distinct and carries its own set of challenges.
When in the airplane, there are few places to hide due to the corridor-based design of the aircraft. Breaching the mansion is difficult because of the many windows that can be broken through, which leads to a difficulty when finding a guarded one.
Luckily, each operator is equipped with tools for the job. Those operators are unlocked with "Renown," the game's currency that is earned after each match.
All operators are equipped with drivable camera bots and two weapons, but each has a special perk, as well. Operator Sledge has a hammer that he uses to break through wooden barriers. Doc can fire a hypodermic shot to revive himself or others. IQ can detect nearby bombs and devices, and so on.
Rainbow Six Siege requires every player in a match to choose a different operator. On one hand, that creates a diverse group with complementary abilities. However, it harms low-level players that only have one or two operators to choose from. If a player’s operator has already been chosen, he or she must play as a Recruit with limited abilities.
That problem has been exaggerated alongside the spotty server issues the game has had since its launch. Renown cannot be earned offline for some reason, even within the 10 short missions that can be played solo — there is no full-fledged campaign mode. Though that won’t be an issue if the servers are more reliable. It has been up to the time of writing.
When the servers are functional, Rainbow Six Siege absolutely shines, either Player versus Player or Player versus Environment. Whereas other online shooters such as Call of Duty and Battlefield are fast-paced with explosive gameplay, Rainbow Six Siege offers a much slower experience. Players must work together methodically to breach doors, check corners and stay alive. There are no respawns or regenerating health.
Players seem to understand that, and as a result, a very high ratio of players use headsets and chat features when compared to other games. Teammates communicate and call out the locations of enemies and bombs for all to benefit from, as those variables are randomized for every match. Rainbow Six Siege is remarkable because it manages to make the gameplay feel strategic, well-balanced and immersive — a trio of qualities that other shooters rarely manage to pull off in an online setting.
The game also adds in plenty of nice touches. Three difficulties allow players to challenge themselves to the highest levels, and the game rewards those players with extra Renown. Breakable environments allow players to think outside the box in an attempt to outsmart their foes, human or computer. It also uses sound design to the fullest: Players must listen closely for the beeping of hidden IEDs or footsteps of sneaking foes.
As a complete package, Rainbow Six Siege is a breath of fresh air in the online arena, but its lack of a dedicated campaign mode is an instant turnoff for those who don’t have Internet access, and the spotty servers have been a letdown for those who do. But when working properly the game has all of the necessary elements to provide plenty of online fun for those willing to slow down and enjoy its tactical and strategic pace.