The Rainbow Six games have always held a special place in my heart thanks to their unique blend of simulation and arcade-like gameplay, and Siege once again balances those styles perfectly. This is a multiplayer FPS where you are not able to respawn or regenerate health, so it encourages you to not simply out-shoot your opponent, but to out-think them as well. Each gunfight that you engage in is therefore incredibly tense, and when you manage to win, it’s ultimately very rewarding.
Siege features only three modes, one of which is instantly forgettable (basically a single player tutorial), another which is really only fun the first few times you play it (Terrorist Hunt- think Horde with objectives) and the third of which is really the only reason to buy this game (Hostage Rescue, which is 5v5 round-based multiplayer).
In Hostage Rescue, one team is tasked with defending a location (suburban house, bank, plane, biker bar, etc.) and the hostage inside, and the other team must infiltrate the location and save the hostage. At the start of the game, you choose from one of 20 “operators,” (which are essentially what Siege calls “classes”). Different operators have different unique roles- there’s a medic, tech genius, heavy weapons guy, etc.- and no two players can choose the same operator, so it’s an important part of the strategy to mix and match the operators in order to get the best combo for your team.
Then comes a short “planning” or “setup” period where the defenders are able to use barbed wire, trip mines, boards, etc. to lock down certain parts of the map, and the attackers are able to watch all this happen via drones in order to plan their method of entry. Once this setup period is over, the three minute round starts, and this is where my biggest problem with Siege lies- three minutes is simply way too short for a game like this.
The gameplay itself, as previously mentioned, is a lot of fun. Attackers have countless ways to get inside the building and to the hostage- rappelling through the windows, breaching the doorways, or even taking a sledgehammer to the walls. Defenders, then, must be ready for an attack from any angle, and those initial moments when you hear the distant tinkling of broken glass or the crack of a flashbang are truly intense. A defender can be posted up on a doorway only to have the floor fall out from underneath them, and an attacker can think he’s successfully flanking the entire enemy team only to rappel directly into a room filled with poison gas.
Because the threat of permanent death from any angle at any moment is so prevalent, cautious players should be rewarded. But that three minute timer forces you to move too quickly and potentially set yourself up for disaster. It’s strange how Siege does so much to encourage playing smart, but then it gives you a timer and tells you to get it over with quickly. I assume this is to discourage camping and make downtime during death go by faster, but they could have done that in so many other ways… As it stands, players who die are still able to participate by monitoring CCTV feeds and calling out locations to their teammates, so why is that not enough?
Anyway, with all of that being said, the timer and the lack of content for a $60 title are really my only gripes with Rainbow Six: Siege. Free DLC is promised over four “seasons,” though, which will include new (and hopefully longer) game modes, so I imagine I’ll be returning to Siege quite often over the coming months.