There’s a moment in all truly great online multiplayer games in which all of the players (or the majority) scream in unison as they watch one teammate do something amazing. Dubbed the “OHMYGODHOLYSHIT!” moment, it’s far too uncommon in most games, largely due to the focus of multiplayer games becoming about the player, not the team. The average Call of Duty player is far more invested in increasing his KDR than his Win to Lose ratio.
But every once in a while, a game comes out that forces you to work as a team, and succeeds at doing so. Ubisoft’s latest Tom Clancy game, Rainbow Six Siege is one such game, and the “OHMYGODHOLYSHIT!” moments are frequent and always exciting.
Rainbow Six Siege takes an unpopular approach, and leaves any and all traditional single-player content in the past. Instead, we’re given “Situations” which act more as training simulators than a campaign. They’re mostly boring, and maybe that’s the point. Maybe the point is to ultimately push players toward the fantastic multiplayer suite, but the inclusion of Situations mode ultimately cheapens the overall experience, but only because it feels either unnecessary or misdirected.
If you’re just not the type of player to jump into competitive PVP multiplayer, fret not. Rainbow Six Siege also includes the 5 man co-op challenge, Terrorist Hunt, in which a team of players (dubbed Operatives) work together to take out a team of AI terrorists. This gives players even more opportunity to advance their skills and obtain crucial Renown – the game’s in-game currency. Frankly, this mode isn’t up my alley, and I recognize that. That said, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with Terrorist Hunt. It’s perfectly suitable for what it is. AI is quick to react and (relatively) intelligent. Sure, it doesn’t match the intensity or the sense of accomplishment that the online multiplayer is sure to give players, but for the right crowd (and it definitely exists), Terrorist Hunt is a great time-sink.
The real meat-and-potatoes that Siege offers is in it’s competitive multiplayer suite. Set against 11 maps, with varying degrees of variation, one might make the assumption that Siege isn’t offering players a full plate, and in a traditional way, sure, there isn’t exactly a ton going on here. The maps mostly offer a variation on a house, a bank, and a plane, and due to the dilapidated state of each locale, many of the maps begin to bleed together.
On top of this, the game modes are limited to just three types: Hostage, Bomb, and Secure Area, with each mode ending when a team has been completely wiped out or completing an objective. Bomb and Secure Area feel remarkably similar, with Hostage being the one that stands out as feeling distinct (mostly because grenades suddenly become much more dangerous).
With a relatively limited selection, the quality of Siege has to be incredibly high to meet expectations… And it is.
Siege initially feels very limited. It’s map selection isn’t terrible but when they all look relatively similar, it’s tough to see the value in the product. But where the game succeeds is in how each game is approached. There are ten Operators per team (Attack and Defend), each with their own valuable and different ability. While some might initially appear to be more useful than others, as I played more and more games, I found that each Operator had their own set of strengths and weaknesses, and someone on the opposing team could always play into both.
Take Thermite, for example, an attacker who has the ability to breach even reinforced walls. Initially he stood out as overpowered. How could you stop someone who could come through nearly any wall? Naturally, I went in to use him, and immediately breached a wall and killed several guys before the match ended. Success.
The very next match, I chose Thermite again, only to find myself electrocuted to death as I attempted to breach a similarly reinforced wall. An opposing player saw my success with Thermite and chose Bandit to counter my previous and repeatable approach. It doesn’t take much to discover these moments, and I have countless stories just like this.
The depth of Siege is in how each Operator is perfectly balanced. While certain Operators are sure to appeal to less experienced players, a player who has had the time to explore options with various Operators is sure to find perfect uses for every Operator. And in reality, it doesn’t take that much time to discover the usefulness of each Operator. I was initially scared off by Blitz and Motagne as attackers. Each carries a riot shield (with special abilities) and I had to break the mentality that having the most kills mattered more than a team victory. Montagne will rarely have as many kills as most other attackers, but he’s something that the others can hide behind while popping off enemies from behind cover.
In many ways, this is the reason for Siege‘s entire existence. It creates a magical feeling that is rare in gaming. It’s multiplayer that’s not about the singular player, but the team as a whole. No, constantly communicating on the mic isn’t a necessity, it’s plenty of fun and your team can be quite successful without it, but when you find yourself hammering information back and forth with teammates, you can’t imagine the game without it. This might also be the case with games like Evolve or Left 4 Dead, but neither of those games (especially Evolve) ever manage to be nearly as fun without a mic than with one.
As with any multiplayer focused game, the quality of the games’ servers come into question. Mostly, the game works as it should, though I have found that when in a party, especially larger than two, getting into matches could take upwards of three to five minutes. It certainly isn’t a deal-breaker, but it could grow tiresome, especially while indulging well into the evening. Also, two months after release, there are still a few bugs that can potentially break portions of the game. Luckily, most of the community doesn’t seem to be aware of their existence (and I’m not telling you here!).
Rainbow Six Siege is without a doubt one of the most unique and incredible multiplayer gaming experiences I’ve come across and is easily the must-have multiplayer game on the now two-year-old consoles. Yes, it’s imperfect. There are a few bugs here and there and servers can be problematic. But the balance of how each operator works in each well-designed map nears perfection. On top of this, Siege promises plenty of free additional content as time goes on, with limited and fair DLC as well.