Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege isn’t for casual gamers.
Sure, it’s a fun game, but it also requires a high level of creative strategy with a major emphasis on teamwork and specialist play. Frankly, it’s intimidating for someone who isn’t quite up to the challenge.
Thank goodness for tutorial modes.
Part-FPS, part-chess match and part-all-out guns ’n’ guts, the gist of this game involves match-based play that pits a team of attackers against a team of defensive agents. The objective is simple: The attackers have planted a bomb, and the other team has to defuse it or kill all enemy team members before the bomb goes off. The teams then switch sides for a best-of-five competitive series. The mode isn’t exactly novel, as games such as CounterStrike have been doing this for a decade.
But, in Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, instead of starting with a team of typical FPS characters with no tactical or strategic benefits, there are currently 46 special characters called Operators. Players can adorn each Operator with the guns and equipment of their choosing, and each Operator also has a few unique abilities that can help them in the challenge.
When acting as a defender, players can choose from a defensive tactician such as Echo, whose drone can provide intel to the opposing team’s whereabouts. When playing as attackers, players can choose offensive specialists such as Hibana, who fires explosive rounds that burn through metal. Players can cycle through Operators, playing as different ones throughout the matches as they adapt to their enemies’ play styles.
The majority of the Operators in this game are unlockable characters, meaning players new to Rainbow Six Siege have a limited selection. Unless you’re a day one player, you’ll find that the challenge of unlocking new operators is limited to microtransactions or grindy, hardcore gameplay. Not that that’s impossible — this game has a ranked mode precisely because of its niche, dedicated fanbase — but it’s certainly an investment, one you won’t earn in a few hours of gameplay, no matter how versed you are in the FPS genre. There are so many operators to choose from that it’s a tactical advantage to know all of their strengths and weaknesses inside and out. And, it takes a while to figure all of this out.
In addition to the tutorial mode, which mostly resembles a sort of campaign designed to get a player familiar with the nuance of the game, there’s also a mode for newer players. And, given the level of complexity involved, it’s easy to understand why this game needs it. The Rainbow Six Siege player base is notably competitive, perhaps even sometimes toxic as the game requires cooperative teamplay but also includes elements such as team killing, which has been eliminated from many FPS games in an effort to curb toxicity.
Rainbow Six Siege can be as frustrating as it is fun. But, because the game requires significant skill, it’s not uncommon to come across highly dedicated players who’ve committed themselves to Rainbow Six mastery. Newer players should be prepared to die a lot as they learn the complicated mechanics of the game. In fact, the time to kill a person is extremely short, which is important to know because it means weaker players can get downed in an instant. Headshots are immediately lethal, and unlike the majority of FPS games, there’s no opportunity to heal unless one of your teammates has chosen an Operator with this ability.
But it’s the methodological, fast-paced gameplay with an emphasis in strategy that makes this game so addictive. With every lost match, you’re certain you’ll do better on the next one. With every win, you’re determined to keep the streak going.
Rainbow Six Siege also feels more realistic in the sense of how its terrorism/anti-terrorism elements might play out in the real world. For instance, the ability to shoot through walls and use peek holes to your advantage might not seem like much, but it’s a vast difference from the gameplay elements in the Call of Duty series. In the fully destructible environment, players can come at you from any direction. In fact, be prepared to leave all that sliding and dodging behind, too — this game requires much more attention to tactical gameplay, meaning that the spray ’n’ pray tactics that can get players to a reputable status in most FPS games won’t cut it in this one. This also means there are numerous opportunities for funny and interesting plays, such as impossible-seeming no-scopes and random grenade throws that rapidly make the rounds on YouTube clip videos.
It’s perhaps strange to think of an author such as Tom Clancy as a leading name in the world of video games — after all, are the people who read Clancy novels really the same people who spend hours grinding away at games? However, the reality is that this approach involves incredible world-building, which means the game’s roots in tactical gameplay are lifted directly from the universe that the author has created.
Overall, Rainbow Six Siege is a breath of fresh air in a universe of FPS games that frequently feel all too similar. While the game requires a much higher learning curve than many others, it’s still perhaps a testament to the game’s longevity that even years after its original release, the game continuously updates to add new components and features to keep its hungry fanbase fulfilled.