|Platform||XB1, PS4, PC|
After six years of quiet, the Rainbow Six series is back—and while its scale may seem smaller, the action looks to be bigger than ever. Rainbow Six: Siege focuses on close-quarters confrontations, as everyday settings suddenly become the scene for deadly battles between the terrorists groups trying to fortify the locations they’ve overtaken, and the military teams sent to reclaim them.
For most of my life, I wasn’t really into the whole “realistic military first-person shooter” thing. Rainbow Six: Vegas was one of the first games to change that. There was just something about it that fascinated me: the requirement of teamwork, the high-pressure situations, the sense that I was doing more than just killing anybody and everybody I could for points.
It’s fitting, I suppose, that Rainbow Six: Siege now brings back the same kinds of feelings I felt from Vegas. When I watched the reveal video for the game during Ubisoft’s press conference, what I saw seemed cool, crazy, and utterly chaotic. Terrorists fortifying a suburban home with metal plating and barbed wire. Military teams breaching the home from any possible point to rescue a hostage. A poor house getting the holy hell blown out of it due to the ensuing firefight.
That isn’t really going to be how the game will play, right? You won’t really be able to shoot through walls, blow holes in floors, and all of that other stuff they showed, right? Wrong. I got the chance to go a few rounds in Siege, and it is everything that Ubisoft promised during their keynote. As a member of the good guys, we had to really plan out our attack and stick to it—and when those plans broke down, we paid for it dearly. (You only get one life per match, so you end up doing what you can to make it count.) When we had to take out a terrorist, sometimes the most convenient line of sight was the one we created by blowing a hole in a wall. Playing as a terrorist was a totally different feeling, and it was one of the most intense situations of defending a location I’ve experienced in such games in quite some time.
There’s a huge uncertainty that hangs over Rainbow Six: Siege, however: How will the game hold up in the long run? It was a kick-ass gameplay type to try out as a demo during E3, but will it still be as cool 20, 30, 50, 100 games in? And how in the world do you build an entire single-player experience around these core ideas?
For now, though, I don’t care. Rainbow Six: Siege is one of my favorite surprises of this year’s E3 so far, and it’s exactly the mix-up I want from an industry that’s been so obsessed with similar-sounding first-person shooters in recent years.