Rainbow Six: Siege (PC) E3 2014 Hands-On Impressions – That Old Rainbow Magic is Finally Back

Rainbow Six: Vegas Six 2 was a huge game for me and my friends on the Xbox 360.  There were many late nights where we shot, flash banged and grenaded each other during endless amounts of matches.  To say that we enjoyed playing the game is an understatement.  Since that time the wait for a new Rainbow Six game has felt “like forever”.  At E3 2012 a teaser trailer was shown for Rainbow Six: Patriots, and after that announcement there was just silence.  We have since learned that Patriots was cancelled and the franchise as a whole was in question.  Well, that question has been answered.  During last week’s E3 2014 Rainbow Six: Siege was officially announced.  During our tour of Ubisoft’s booth I was lucky enough not to only sit in on a live demo, but I got to play three rounds of the game, and after having played I have to say that my hopes for the franchise is high.

As I sat in our live demo, the dev-team took a bit of time to talk about key features during the development of the new game.  One thing was clearly noted, multiplayer is Ubisoft Montreal’s focus first and foremost as they want to provide fans of the franchise with the same classic Rainbow Six gameplay that has been enjoyed over the years.  Rainbow Six: Siege is a tactical FPS. In the demo we saw, which was the level we played, the setting was a suburban house with many different rooms and entries.  There are two factions, the police and the terrorists.  The game we played was all about breaching (police) and fortifying (terrorists) and crossing that line in between the middle of the two.  For the police you had to rescue the hostage, for the terrorists you must stop the police from completing their task.

There is a lot of pre-game planning prior to the gameplay taking place.  As the police you can take small mini-scouts and check out what the terrorists are doing and how they may be setting their battleground up.  As terrorists you pick where you want to hold the hostage, reinforce walls, block windows, set up shields, hamper doorways with barbed wire or blockades and blow up any walls that may improve lines of sight.  As the gameplay starts the police get to set up where they will enter the building and the mayhem starts.

What is clearly evident is that this is not your typical run and gun FPS.  There are no regenerating shields or health and friendly fire is active.  You need to use your tools at hand.  For the police you can continue to use your scout as long as it is not destroyed, as well as the house’s security cameras or breaching charges.  For the terrorists it really comes down to your weapons and other tools like barbed wire or explosives.  In regards to the weapons, some team members (police and terrorists alike) will have automatic weapons, while other will have a powerful shotgun or a long distance sniper rifle.  Choosing your classes is important depending on how you may want to breach or defend.   As much as you use the tools and weapons found in the game, communication is just as important.  Yelling out where you see enemies is key, as is communicating where you are is central too as you don’t want to get his by friendly fire.

During my gameplay experience, I learned the hard way you cannot just challenge your opponent to a straight out duel of weapons.  Finding good lines of sight is important and you can use your environment to your advantage.  Shooting holes in the drywall will enable you to get a line of sight that you never utilized before, and hitting an enemy who is hiding in a corner with a well-placed shot through the backside of a closet is not only useful, but satisfying too.  You can also create entrances where there are no entrances with your breach charges.  In one game we played our team leader punched a hole in the floor to get down to the basement where enemies were hiding.  It was pretty cool.  If there is one thing that I felt during the three games I played it was a sense of urgency and a heightened level of emotion as you try to either save the hostage or defend against those trying to get to her.

The game uses what I would best describe as “on-the-fly” tactics and strategy as the consequences of just charging in are too great.  Not only do you stand a chance of just dying, but killing the hostage is a possibility too.  You must think out what you are going to do and you must have pretty good aim at time.  For me I died quite quickly in my first two matches, and our team lost both of these matches too, but it was the final match that reminded me of why I enjoyed the series as a whole.  I was the last member of my team alive, and there were two police trying to take the hostage out of the house.  I rounded a corner and came across them.  As my teammates were yelling in my headset to shoot, I saw my opponents turn, and I opened fire with my trusty shotgun, shooting one enemy over the top of the crouched hostage, and then then I blasted the other enemy who was to the right as they turned to shoot me.  Both foes crumpled in agony and we won the match.  My team cheered in delight.  It was this feeling of victory and teamplay that reminded me why I enjoyed the Rainbow Series in the past: teamwork, excitement, and that feeling of victory.

My time playing the three matches with the dev-team really showed me where this game might just go, and I have to say that Rainbow Six: Siege is showing some great promise as this very early stage.  I’ll be watching closely at how everything comes together, including a single player campaign and a co-op campaign to go along with the adversarial multiplayer.  At this point I can honestly say that I can’t wait to play more as the game develops.