Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6 Siege – Closed Beta

Before I begin, I’m going to hold my hands up here and say that, while I’ve played a couple of the previous games, I’m by no means a longstanding fan of the Rainbow Six franchise. I can’t say exactly why this is, as I’ve enjoyed playing the previous games. The Rainbow Six series is known for its more ‘tactical’ approach to FPS gameplay, something I really like, and generally punishes you for going in guns blazing with no idea where your enemy is. You tend to get shot. A lot. And this game is no exception. The premise is that you’re playing as a group of Operators chosen from one of several real-world Special Forces, either in an attacking or defending role.
The buzzword for this game is asymmetry, as the game plays completely differently depending on whether you’re on the attacking side or the defending side. In the Beta, there were only a couple of game modes – Secure Area, Bomb and Terrorist Hunt Classic. The first two, being PVP were where I spent the majority of my time, and both incorporate this idea of asymmetrical gameplay in different ways.
Bomb, the first game mode I attempted had us (the Attackers) spawn outside of a rather important looking building, with the knowledge that somewhere in there was a bomb, and several horrible individuals that wanted to stop us stopping them. Obviously, we couldn’t just knock on the front door, this is Rainbow Six after all, so some more tactical thinking was required. This takes the form of the Planning Phase – a small amount of time before the match starts where both sides choose their Operator, their loadouts, and prep for the match. The defenders get to set up blast shields, seal doors and deploy booby traps such as barbed wire and trip mines. The Attackers on the other hand need to scout out the area using possibly my favourite annoying-little-robots since the Mouse Droids in Star Wars, the tiny camera drones. These two-wheeled irritants are unleashed by the Attacking force to sneak into the Defenders area, through ventilation ducts and under doors, and find out where the enemy has planted the bomb/chemical weapon, and how they’re deploying. This is an awesome concept, especially when you realise they’re not invulnerable. The Defenders have to keep a constant eye out for these things, and destroying them robs the Attackers of vital information.
Once the Planning Phase is over, the game itself begins. Armed with the knowledge your drones collected, or, if playing defenders armed with many booby-traps and shields, you must venture forth to complete The Mission. In the Bomb mission, it’s simple – Attackers need to plant the Diffuser on or near to the bomb, and the enemy has to stop them. In Secure Area, the Attackers are working to capture a room containing a hazardous bioweapon, and occupy it for 10 seconds, king-of-the-hill style. Both modes usually dissolve into kill everyone though, as if they’re all dead, they can’t stop you diffusing the bomb.
This is where the meat of the game is. The gunplay felt good, with weapons behaving more like their real life counterparts than in most FPS. Your guns actually have meaningful recoil, reloading takes more than 0.1 seconds, and if you get hit, you know about it. On top of this, there’s a very robust system in place to simulate the effects of cover. It’s not exactly a cover-based game, but with the majority of fighting taking place indoors, you’ll find yourself hiding behind walls, blast shields, and even furniture, with each interacting differently to incoming fire. In addition to your standard kit, each Operator has their own unique set of equipment, from gadgets to weapon upgrades, which make them generally better at their specialised role. Want to breach rooms really quickly? One Operator comes complete with a rather large sledge hammer. Want to just annoy the crap out of attackers? There’s a guy with a gas mask and all kinds of smoke bombs, toxin canisters and flashbangs just waiting for you. Oh, and remember the tiny camera drones I mentioned earlier? There’s at least one Operator with the ability to make them explode…
All this combines to make a really fun, unique experience amongst the hordes of FPS games on the market today. You have to be careful where you move, worry about how much of yourself you’re presenting as a target, and really think about how you’re going to approach your role

Gameplay/Controls – The game plays really well. I mentioned the gunplay earlier, and operating your Operator is very intuitive, with just a couple of button presses switching you from prone, to sprinting to rappelling up a wall and into a 3rd story room. However, sometimes the game would not register commands, especially when it came to getting down off of a wall you’d rappelled to. Hopefully this will be fixed once the game is released fully – 80/100Audio Fidelity – The sound was possibly the weakest part of the game for me. Technically, it’s quite impressive, with little things such as being able to hear your opponent’s footsteps tying nicely into the nature of the gameplay, however it all seemed a bit generic, with the Operators voices only differing slightly, and all the guns sounding extremely similar to me – 50/100

Graphs/Visuals – This is pretty much a high point, bar a few texture-quality issues that should hopefully be fixed come the full release. Each Operator has their own unique look, with variations on their uniform ect allowing you to tell them apart with practice. The gun models also looked very nice. The game also makes very good use of shadows, letting players hid themselves from the opposition, or sneak an explosive surprise-drone up on an unsuspecting enemy – 95/100

Story/Immersion – Immersion is the thing here. The beta had no story mode at all, bar the PvE Terrorist Hunt mode, in which you team up with a friend to hunt down NPC terrorists. However, the implementation of the Planning Phase really helps you get into your role as an Attacker or Defender – 80/100

Replayabilty – The game’s true calling. The replayability factor, even in the beta environment, is immense. Despite only having 2 game modes, each game is completely different, owing to the differences in strategy, loadouts, objective positioning and more. – 95/100

Final score – 80/100 – will certainly be looking at this once it’s released!

Publisher – Ubisoft
Developer – Ubisoft Montreal
Release Date – 1 Dec 2015 (at time of writing, subject to change)
Genre – Tactical FPS, Action
Platform – Xbox One, also available on PC and PS4.