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‘Rainbow 6: Siege’ is a welcome return to form

‘Rainbow 6: Siege’ is a welcome return to form


Rainbow 6: Siege
PS4, Xbox One, PC

This year’s E3 had a lot to like. We had more glimpses of the return of both Nathan Drake and Master Chief. We had the continued rise of the indie developer, showing fantastic stuff like No Man’s Sky and Inside. We had Nintendo finally delivering a strong showing – Zelda! Splatoon! Captain Toad! – with a pre-recorded event that arguably trumped both Sony and Microsoft’s live offerings (it was certainly a hell of a lot more fun – the Iwata/Reggie face off eliciting genuine laughs rather than awkward groans).

But my personal highlight came from Ubisoft’s conference, and from a franchise that I’ve had very little interest in for some time: Rainbow 6: Siege. It’s been a long while since I dedicated serious time to any first-person shooter, let alone an online-multiplayer focused one, but where Call of Duty and Battlefield failed, I think R6:S might succeed. And here’s why.

From what Ubisoft demonstrated, this is about as far from run-and-gun as you can get. Sprint through the small, twisty maps without taking care of your surroundings or your comrades and you can expect to be cut down in a matter of moments. This isn’t Halo, and there are no wide-open vistas to storm – this is exactly as the title suggests: one five-man team fortifying a structure, and one five-man team trying to break in.

The demo showed a home invasion-style level, in which terrorists had taken residence in a (typical) young, blonde woman’s abode. Team Rainbow began by discussing the best way to breach the property – through the garage or from the air? One member of the team rolled a sneaky radio-controlled drone through the house, the feed from which presumably only he could see. This forced him to relay to his teammates exactly where the terrorists where, what they were doing, and who the hostage was. A mighty tick in the ‘work together’ box.


The terrorists, it seems, were busy boarding up windows and reinforcing doors to try and prevent our heroes from bursting in on them. One team member turned down the idea of entering through the garage due to the number of booby traps that would likely be waiting for them – although unfortunately we didn’t get a look at what they could be.

After choosing to land on the roof of the house by air, the team separated to rappel down to the third-floor windows. Breaching together, the squad managed to take out a terrorist and grab the hostage – which brought up another interesting quirk: perma-death. No sooner had one baddie been taken out, than 5 vs 4 flashed up on the screen. It seems that taking a bullet in this game – and it only takes a couple – puts you out of the round forever. This creates a wonderful tension, with the remaining numbers displayed at the top of the screen at all times so you always know how many players are left. And when death is permanent, why would you not want to work together?

The final piece of tactical gameplay on display was destructible scenery, which appeared to open up the possibilities given to both sides. Towards the end of the demo, we saw Team Rainbow preparing to storm a position – with one player heading upstairs to the room above, planting explosives on the floor and blowing an entrance in the ceiling. When your enemy can breach from all angles, it makes it that much harder to survive, and even more necessary to work as a team.

Of course, that was just one little glimpse. Details beyond what was shown are scarce, but if the Counterstrike-vibe is correct, Rainbow 6: Siege could be a fantastic little multiplayer-only title, which moves away from the ever increasing bombastic battlefields and airstrikes, and instead focuses on small teams working together to sneak through bijou maps and plan a co-ordinated attack. If you’ve ever tired of spawning on the combat zone only to be shot dead seconds later, this could be the game for you.