It’s been seven and a half years since a Rainbow Six game was released. I loved my time playing Rainbow Six Vegas 1 & 2. The first game was released almost exactly one year after the PS3 and Xbox 360. It took advantage of new, high definition hardware and showed gamers what a “next gen” game at that time could look, sound, and feel like. Three things stood out to me about that game:
First: The beautiful scenery and lights of Vegas, from the city streets to the casinos’ interiors to the beautifully displayed Fremont Street. The game looked fantastic. Second: The attention to detail on your characters and their weapons, not only aesthetically, but also statistically. If you wore heavy armor, you moved like a fat guy playing a tuba. With light armor you could nimbly move between places of cover. With the firearms you would need to look at the damage, stability, fire rate, range, etc. It all played into the game realistically and added a lot of depth. And Third: The audio. The sound of the weapons was shockingly good and every pull of the trigger was audio nirvana. Hearing an enemy close in unloading his shotgun in your general direction would make even the most steel-nerved players pinch their ass cheeks together. In addition, the surround sound was mixed like no other game before it. It brought a whole new aspect to tactical play being able to hear where your enemies were coming from. So needless to say, I have very high expectations for Rainbow Six Siege. Here are my impressions of the beta. Keep in mind that this is only a beta and a small taste of what the final game will be.
I fired up the game and jumped into a solo match of TerroHunt, the new name they have given to the Terrorist Hunt game mode, which I have to say is quite possibly the stupidest name they could’ve come up with. Why change it? Terrorist Hunt was a very popular game mode and all articles talking about this in Siege are either flat out calling it Terrorist Hunt or making reference to the old name so you actually know what the hell they’re talking about. As one Reddit user put it, “Here comes all the white masked Terro’s…doesn’t sound that menacing [sic].” Anyway, despite the asinine name, it’s the same awesome shit as before, thankfully. I digress.
Back to my solo Terrorist Hunt match. I wanted to get a feel for the controls and the gameplay and take my time exploring the world of this new Rainbow Six adventure without teammates yelling at me to help them. First off, I was underwhelmed by the graphics. The details were just not present on most things. Yes, the gun I was holding looked great. I even found myself a little too amused at turning left and right abruptly watching the d-ring on my assault rifle flap back and forth. Breaching walls and the aftermath also looks good, but the rest of the environment was lacking. I didn’t know if I should laugh or shake my head at the grappling hook animation. The grapple was cartoonish, and the rope was square! It honestly looks like a slightly polished version of the previous two Rainbow Six entries. This might be because they wanted to compact the download for the Beta. Or this might be the lackluster graphical fidelity of the final product. I certainly hope not. This is a PC and next gen console exclusive, and I feel it should look the part. Especially when we’ve had gorgeous looking examples of games like Infamous, Metal Gear Solid, Destiny, The Order: 1886, Bloodborne…you get my point.
It took a little bit to get used to the controls. After all, this is not a fast-paced action game. It does, however, get very intense often as it’s more realistic and the controls represent that feeling well. If you don’t let off the trigger, the muzzle climbs and the last few bullets in your magazine are shooting the ceiling. Once I got used to the easily adaptable controls and the pace of the game, I was impressed at how solid it felt. I can tell realism is going to be a priority, and that makes me excited.
And now, the sound! The guns, grenades, explosions, etc. all sound great. They do a great job with the surround mix and the sounds of enemies behind walls or on a different floor. All of it helps you have a tactical advantage against your enemies, both AI and human.
The game itself is a blast to play with friends. Matchmaking with random people can be a crapshoot and sometimes takes a lot of the fun out of the game. If you have one teammate who doesn’t communicate, you are at a severe disadvantage in both PvP and Terrorist Hunt. But if you can round up four friends to play with on the same platform, it can be a tactical, intense, and rewarding experience. With matchmaking I think it will be different every time, which could also be part of the fun.
Rainbow Six Siege will be available on PC, PS4, and XBOX One on December 1st!