For years the first-person tactical shooter genre has been remarkably vacant since the success that was found off the back of the SWAT series, followed by the Rainbow Six series and most recently, Rainbow Six: Vegas 2. Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 was seven years ago. To put that into perspective, that’s the same year BioShock was released. Or Portal. Even Team Fortress 2.
The popularization of titles like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (coincidentally, also released in 2007), has given way to the more “modern” shooter that will allow you to take bullets to the chest, hide behind some barrels and then regain all your life back only to find yourself throwing a plethora of futuristic assault weapons to the face of the closest enemy, which in real terms, probably costs the same amount in real money as the GDP of a small European country.
Sadly, this is what shooters became and why? Is it because our attention span is just remarkably smaller these days or is there more profit to be made off of “easy” shooters. I say “easy” because that’s what they are in comparison to something like Rainbow Six Siege. Mindless, forward-marching shooters where the one with the fastest reactions or luckiest recoil shot will win.
Thankfully not all games are this way and one game that has no such methodology is Rainbow Six Siege, a title I was able to get a hands-on with recently.
Many of the more seasoned gamers will probably have found great interest in the ethos of Rainbow Six Siege, not just a shooter, but a tactical shooter. It’s something where you are rewarded for your planning and communication. Sure there are games where you are rewarded equally the same but nothing new or recent has come that has been anywhere near enough to challenge what is Rainbow Six Siege. The beta has been both open and closed rather recently and many gamers have been able to partake in the tactical shooting action which, I’ll admit, has also been a lot of fun.
My hands-on was no different as we made our way through the brand new Situations on offer in Siege. The development team decided to hold off on a single player campaign in favour of complete and utter focus on where they see the game going, and that has to be the competitive side of things. Sure it’s great fun to team up with a few people you know and start matchmaking your way around and taking on a bunch of other people in your fight for whatever cause you believe is the best. But the brand new Situations, while challenging, also offer a fair perspective into what the game has on offer.
While it does lack a single player, Siege’s Situations, of which there are 11, offer a great way for players new and old to get into the way things are done in a tactical shooter. You are presented with a number of situations that will slowly introduce you to game dynamics that will turn you into a seasoned pro when taking your gameplay online. Each mission introduces new enemies, new operatives, new gadgets and weaponry and most importantly, new stages. I guess you could say that the Situations are almost a single player section of the game, but it’s more of a tutorial that will prepare you for the bulk of the game, that is the competitive multiplayer, or the terrorist hunt mode if that’s more your vibe.
You will learn just how important it is to plan things out and create a point of entry, all the while keeping your main goal in mind and being able to execute with absolute precision. Each time you head into a new Situation, you will be given a very informative brief explaining what the dangers are and what needs to be done. From there, the game is completely in your hands. You can definitely go guns blazing but be warned, the AI is smart. It’s best for you to see what the Situation is and assess each scenario on its merits. This may mean that it takes a little longer to get through each Situation, but it also means that your play time is increased but without it feeling like it’s been stretched in an unnatural way. In addition to the Situations, there are a number of different ways to play, a fun one being the terrorist hunt which allows you and some friends to tackle a bunch of enemies on a familiar map. These are probably so much fun because the AI that has been put into Siege is actually top notch and properly challenges the player when going for the more difficult settings.
The fun doesn’t stop there because the team-based core of the game is a huge amount of fun and players will, as they level up, earn more and more unlocks to delve deeper into the tactics of the game. I’m a little bit disappointed that it takes so long for players to get into the actual meat of the content because occasionally you will get gunned down by an opponent who has a crazy weapon or addition that you have never seen before. It’s an interesting aspect that’s going to need constant focus from the developers in order for the title to stay on point and where it needs to be as a competitive title.
With what Rainbow Six Siege is at its core, it’s obviously supposed to be a competitive title. You can see that the game has been designed from the ground up to be eSports-worthy. Whether or not this becomes a thing in South Africa remains to be seen because there are more aspects at play each and every time the local scene is concerned. The first and probably most important concern is the server situation. Ideally, gamers would want the ability for local companies to be able to host dedicated servers for them just like we see for titles like Team Fortress 2 and Counter-Strike. Second place would probably be some form of automatic P2P matchmaking experience ala Call of Duty (the more recent ones anyways). The worst would probably be some form of server limitation like Microsoft’s Azure, like we saw with Titanfall, which led EA to completely cancel the game hitting the shores of SA at launch.
The next big step is finding out what kind of welcome the tactical shooter will get from local leagues and cups in the eSports scene. Will the Telkom DGL adopt Siege as a competitive title? Will we see Orena take it on with cups? These are also fundamentally important questions that need to be answered by the powers that be.
The last and final thing to be concerned about is the medium on which it’s most popular. Is there a way for gamers who buy the game on Steam and uPlay Ubisoft Club to cross-pollinate across different servers? What would the standard of delivery be in this regard? Could you have a “Steam-only” competition for Siege?
These are all questions that need answering long before we take a look at the South African internet infrastructure before we even ask the question of “Can I play with my 1MB ADSL line?” Sadly, these may be the limitations that hold, what would otherwise be a brilliant eSports title, back. It’s a bold move from Ubisoft, especially because they have often had competitive titles in the past but shown little to no interest in the eSports side of things. Hopefully this change comes in both the international and local scene.
Here’s 15 minutes of pure gameplay footage
The game is set to be released worldwide on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on 1 December this year. It’s a tactical shooter, perhaps one that the gaming industry has been waiting for since the genre fell out of style. But only time will tell if gamers are ready for more tactical shooting or if the trend towards games like Call of Duty and Destiny is here to stay.
Last Updated: October 21, 2015