In late 2015, Ubisoft released a game that was not, well, Ubisoft Game. The tactical multiplayer subgenre is back and it is without a doubt some of the most fun I’ve had with multiplayer shooters in quite some time. Grab a few friends and let the good times roll.
The game is a lot like Counter Strike: there are two teams (which are 5 v 5 here) and one has to either retrieve or defend a hostage or plant a defuser at a bomb site or secure an area. Each player picks one of many classes, which will shape how a match plays out and what tactics each team uses. Communication here is key and thankfully, most players have microphones and I have yet to encounter any role players who think they’re some sort of drill sergeant. Attackers have a minute to try and scout the defence with little RC drones and the objective whilst defenders set up defences. Once that time is up, each round is a 5 minute attempt to try and take or hold the target and while it usually ends up as a death match (you know you stomped the other team when you get the objective), it is some of the most intense multiplayer around whether you be breaching, or caught up in a firefight that can be either incredibly quick or lengthy, to be the last man alive to try and achieve the objective. I have seen quite a few clutch victories like these, even spectating when you’re dead can be intense.
With the classes, each have their own special ability. For example, Rook on defense can put down armour for his team to use (although attackers can pick it up should they have the opportunity) and the attacker Thermite can breach through wall reinforcements. There are also some rather silly strategies you can try too. It’s possible, as attackers, to have a team comprised only of shield users. I have tried this with my team multiple times, one of which resulted in all of us dying within 30 seconds of the round, which didn’t cause frustration but rather uproarious laughter. There are a whole variety of strategies a team can use depending on the map, mode, team composition and defenses which make every match feel genuinely different. Another core feature of the game, which adds genuine depth, is the destructible walls and floors. Want to have an easy access between bomb sites as defender? No problem, just blow a hole through it. You can even shoot the smallest of holes through a wall, giving yourself just enough of a peep hole to shoot unwitting enemies. It is the most impressive destruction physics in a multiplayer shooter since Battlefield: Bad Company 2, which I also had a tonne of fun with back at it’s height. There seems to be a pattern emerging here. As far as the actual shooting goes, it’s good, not particularly innovative but works well with the holistic intensity that is your average Siege match. The destruction also adds to the visual intensity: fragged rooms of defense will look absolutely wrecked and smashed to pieces, with huge blood splatters or even blood trails if someone who is downed has moved elsewhere.
In terms of unlocking classes, by playing the game you unlock ‘renown’ which you buy classes with or you can use microtransactions to access them quicker, but it’s not a game breaking pay to win situation nor an excessive grind, the game is quite generous so it’s not quite egregious as other similar games these days. The game has also gotten a season pass like every other game that releases these days. However, it doesn’t work like say call of duty where it’s a set of map packs that break up the community: all it does is give access to more skins and earlier access to new maps for about a week and new operators. It is a surprisingly benign implementation and Ubisoft should be praised for bucking the map pack trend and instead releasing new maps for free to every player. It seems like Ubisoft might want to make this a game with longevity and community, like Counter Strike and makes the game better value for money. A quick note on the community: it’s surprisingly good, in my 30+hours of playing, I have met a very low amount of total wankers and even the twelvies who probably shouldn’t have the game are surprisingly mature and don’t scream or act like idiots like in say Call of Duty or Halo. This is just on the pc version in my region however, so this may vary by region or platform but my experience has been positive.
As for the negative aspects of the game: netcode has been often dysfunctional and there’s a few bugs here and there, like the loss of sound bug which is the most annoying, but infrequent in my experience. Joining a squad has also been a frequent pain in the ass but recently it seems to have subsided and the game improves with each patch. It also requires Uplay which can be a tad annoying, but it shouldn’t be a dealbreaker. Some were also rustled about the lack of a single player mode at launch, but the game is designed around multiplayer first and foremost and it has a tutorial mode called ‘situations’. The game has enough longevity as standalone multiplayer to render lack of traditional singleplayer irrelevant in my opinion. Price might also be something that puts people on the fence at $60 USD but I managed to get a retail copy for AUD$45, so shop around for the best price if you can.
As far as performance goes, it is quite excellent. I’m running it at 1440p resolution on a GTX 970, 12GB Ram and i5 4690k at near maximum settings, which looks fantastic, at an average frame rate of about 90. It’s smooth and incredible, except for occassional slowdowns, but those have pretty much disappeared for me at this point.
Should you get Rainbow Six Siege? Yes, absolutely. It is one of the best multiplayer shooters in a long time and is even better with friends. If you were on the fence before, you shouldn’t be now. When it works, it works incredibly well and it updates regularly. Just breach some shit up, play as Tachanka on defense but for the sake of those around you don’t play as Fuze on hostage rescue.