E3 2014 – Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege Hands-on Impressions

The Rainbow Six: Vegas series holds a special place in my heart as the host of some of my best multiplayer memories. The mix of realistic tactical gameplay and great game modes made those two games so much fun that it pained me to see Rainbow Six take a back seat after Patriots’ cancellation.

All’s good now on my book. Rainbow Six: Siege is here and it’s already looking insanely good, even at an alpha stage.

I had the chance to sit down with the game during the last day of E3. In fact, Siege was the very last I got to see at E3 and boy, did it leave an impression. So much so that it brought out that fun camaraderie that builds up during these tight grouped games, even among complete strangers, like I was at the show yesterday.

Rainbow Six: Siege at its current form holds a six versus six person team search and rescue mission that takes place in a two story house. One team guards the hostage, having the chance to place obstacles for the second group to attempt to pinch the hapless victim from their grasp. Funnily enough, each team is named after a previously released Rainbow Six game, so neither Raven nor Rogue could be called a terrorist group. Still, whatever the setup you decide to come up in your head as an excuse to jump in and have fun, Siege is a Six game through and through.

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Each of the three rounds begins by having each side’s members pick a class among three basic archetypes, ranging from an assault grunt with a rifle, a shotgun-wielding breach specialist (or someone I’d call the up ‘n close dude) and my personal favorite from Vegas, the heavy shield soldier, armed with a pistol.

On the defensive side, the focus is on preparing the level for the eventual invasion, over a couple of minutes. These barriers can be shot off in pieces quite easily, serving a dual purpose of both obstacle and a sound alarm for approaching invaders. These guys could also lay down barbed wire, which serve to slow the other team down and work quite well at intersections. The attacking side has access to rolling cameras that are able to spy on enemy movement and help tag the hostage with an on screen ping. They also have access to breaching charges that can be placed on any white wall on the house, clearly marked by pins.

Breaching is the next big thing for the series, as the name Siege implies. You truly feel besieged as a defender. Doors aren’t the only entrances to a room, since just about any wall can be shot or exploded through. It’s not safe to hide anywhere as the clock winds down and preparations give way to the action.

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Once it all began, chaos ensued and it was downright gloriously fun. Granted, this demo did away with all of the pre stage planning that the Ubisoft press conference video hinted at. On the other hand, coordinating with your team over chat was also very much possible, but as the last day of E3 approached a close, everyone was on edge, itching for a fight. We only ended up making fun of each other over chat, as we both defended and attacked. As a shielded attacker, I was able to single-handedly eliminate three enemies before going down, leaving a lone defender who miraculously did away with the rest of my team.

As a gigantic fan of the previous ‘Six games, there’s absolutely no denying on my part of how much I’m looking forward to Siege after that demo. The game is thrilling and had me on the edge of my seat the entire time, losses and all. Considering the version that was shown was still in a very early stage of development, there’s much to look forward to its release sometime next year for both of the current generation consoles and PC.

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