By Biagio Ruggiero
I have to be honest: Rainbow Six Siege wasn't the most fun game.
The distinguishing feature of Rainbow Six Siege is the destructibility of its environments, but even that felt a little hollow. I am all for destructible environments (Battlefield does this to great effect) but there was no realism to it. Three hits with a knife or the butt of my gun breaks a barrier, but a shotgun blast at point blank doesn't make for the same effect? I also had issue with what exactly was destructible with your melee attack. I could destroy a bannister with my melee like it was set with wood rot. I understand there is going to be a "gaminess" about the destruction, but the strength of your melee attack was a little too silly for me. The physics of the melee in regards to a person was also way over the top. Any time I gave or received a melee attack, two seconds later a body would fly across the room, only to stop and die in mid-air. Obviously as the game is in beta this was more forgivable, but still an area to be improved upon.
Impact at least felt good in the combat, with each of the guns being fun to shoot. No weapon was unequivocally superior to the others, and they all felt equally accurate. It was pleasantly surprising to find that a revolver can see as much joy as a shotgun up-close, but also that having a ranged weapon doesn't guarantee safety at a distance. My problem with the weapons was lack of variety when it came to individual weapons versus their other counterparts. Each assault rifle felt the same, even though they were different weapons. I don't know whether this reflects the real world, but if every gun is there to provide the illusion of choice in the absence of a real decision, then I would rather they gave only one of each weapon type. Hopefully this is something that is also being worked on.
The class system gives you some choice. Choosing a class other than recruit (provided you are quick enough in the menu) gives you access to unique weapons based on the class you chose. I unlocked four other classes in my time with the beta; two offensive and two defensive, and each brought a different layer of tactics to the gameplay. I personally enjoyed the "smoke" class the best. Used correctly, the gas grenade you are given access to can be lethal to the whole attacking team, and I love how the game can turn on its head in such a way. It is a shame that this rarely happened; for the most part, I experienced teams bull rushing as individuals to kill everyone. Even when I tried to bring my team together, I was often the only player with a microphone. It’s clear that the game is severely dampened by a lack of camaraderie, but Ubisoft can hardly be blamed for its fanbase. This is the reason having gameplay that relies too heavily on teamwork is a double-edged sword: I want to know I can have fun on a £50 game by myself without having to rely on other people, especially if there isn't a single-player alternative for when my friends aren't around. I'm not sure if Rainbow Six can actually provide that.
Speaking of single-player, there is a "terrorist hunt" mode on top of the team "death match" mode that I have spoken of above. It gives you the same initial menu options, but the mode itself is a time trial, with the player killing a certain number of terrorists within an allotted time. I had to stay single-player for the mode, as I couldn't connect to a multiplayer match. I did actually find some fun here, trying to beat my own record, mixing up my tactics. But this wore thin eventually, as the AI wasn't the brightest. I think the longevity in terrorist hunt as a game mode will come down to how many maps are available, and how repetitive it gets when put with the other player vs player game modes.
Rainbow Six Siege isn't without promise as a game, but when compared to other games such as Counterstrike and Battlefield, it seems lacking. The destruction claims to be more than a gimmick and wants to be an integral part of the game, but the reality is the destructive nature of the game is little fun if it isn't used the way the developers intended: playing with a group of friends. Taking friends out of the equation leaves little room for emergent gameplay opportunities and instead becomes your run-of-the-mill FPS. Hopefully the gameplay tweaks and added content in the final release will make the game something special, because at the moment it just isn't.