Review: Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege (PS4)

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Title: Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (18.09 GB)
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Original MSRP: $59.99
ESRB Rating: M
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege is also available on Xbox One and PC.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

I’m hit or miss on tactical shooters in general. I was always a fan of, well most of the SOCOM games, but with the Rainbow Six series I really only got into Rainbow Six: Vegas.

I played it almost every night on the Xbox 360, as it was only available on that system for some time, until the day that all of my stats were wiped. I was furious and by that time the game had finally become available on the PS3. I traded my copy in for the subtly inferior PS3 version and played it a lot until Rainbow Six Vegas 2 hit, which was quite disappointing.

Cut to a couple of years ago. Rainbow Six Patriots looked promising but was eventually cancelled. Many hopes were crushed by that announcement but they were raised quickly when Siege was unveiled and it looked like something familiar yet on a smaller scale. This was something that excited a good many fans of the genre.

… played in a slow and methodical manner …
Gameplay:
The biggest change you’ll encounter is that Rainbow Six Siege is now a more intimate experience with its five on five design. Still, many of the maps in the game can be quite large and all are played within buildings.

As the Attackers, you’ll start the round controlling small rolling drones which you’ll use to search around the interiors of the buildings to hopefully find not only your objectives, but to mark any of the defenders as well. Of course, said defenders can destroy your drones if they get a chance and that’s where the Rock-Paper-Scissors core mechanic starts, and it continues throughout the game.

Obviously, spotting your objectives is key and the icon for the objective(s) stays on the screen for the entire round. It’s also important for the larger environments such as the Bank because you’re also battling the five minute clock.

Each location offers a myriad of challenges for you to utilize your ingenuity and the rest of your team to be effective, and the first thing you’ll need to learn is that you need to slow down.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six® Siege_20151202200513

Even though it’s played from the first-person perspective, this game needs to be played in a slow and methodical manner. You need to work as a squad to be effective and have your ears open as well.

To keep things balanced, the game revolves around a roster of Operators, all of which have their own specialties. One may have the ability to use a sledgehammer to bash through obstacles quickly, but then you’re forced to move a bit slower. Another Operator has the ability to set laser-triggered traps but is limited to what weapons can be used.

Again, the Rock-Paper-Scissors mechanic is in full play and to even extend that more each Operator can only be used by one of the five squad members at a time. If you haven’t unlocked a “named” Operator yet, or if the ones you’ve unlocked are already taken at the beginning, you’ll be forced to play as a “Recruit”, so you definitely have a reason to keep working on your progression.

… a strong way to keep people playing online …
When you start the game for the first time I highly recommend going through the Tutorials and the “Situations”. You actually will learn a couple of things, but more importantly, you’ll gain some cheap Renown which is the in-game currency.

It doesn’t take too terribly long, but you’ll probably drop some curse words in the Situations when your AI Squad Mates act so incredibly stupid. Renown is quite valuable and can be used to unlock just about everything in the game.

New Operators cost between 500-1500 renown to unlock and then you have the opportunity to make changes to that character’s loadout with different weapons, accessories, and skins among other things. You can also hit the in-game store for different weapon skin packs, currency packs to use real money to buy additional Renown, the Season Pass, or boosters which can be very valuable.

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I mentioned the Season Pass and I really like what Ubisoft is doing with it. Unlike most other games, the Season Pass gives you a one year membership to their Premium system.
The Premium offers include the following:

  • Seven-day exclusive access to eight new Operators upon release (two per season)
  • Permanent 5% Renown boost that will allow you to unlock content quicker
  • Six Premium Weapon Skins
  • Exclusive VIP features: Permanent progression boost & additional daily challenges
  • 600 Rainbow Six Credits that can be used to purchase additional in-game content

Did you notice anything about that Season Pass? That’s right, there aren’t any map packs tied-in because those will all be released for free for all users. This keeps the content viable instead of segregating the players and that’s a strong way to keep people playing online. I really wish more publishers would go this route for Season Pass content, because it’s really the way to go in my opinion.

… another layer of rock-paper-scissors controlling the balance …
The game itself can feel pretty familiar if you’ve played a tactical shooter before. You’ve got the ability to rappel up and down walls or down through skylights. You’ll even be able to set a charge on an obstructed window while hanging and if an opening is there, you can execute a breach entry. Be careful though because if someone’s waiting for you, you’re basically a sitting duck when you swing in.

As mentioned, the Operators on the attacking team have a wide array of abilities and hardware to help breach the hot zones, so someone may have a riot shield that offers great protection but forces them to use a pistol for any offense. Others may have breaching charges or a drone with a shock charge.

On the defender side, your team can fortify an area with reinforced barriers on wall panels, razor wire that can even be electrified if you have the right Operator, and even electronic counter-measures that throw sensors and drones out of commission. Again, yet another layer of rock-paper-scissors controlling the balance in the overall game and it’s done very well.

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In terms of modes, there isn’t much there since the game is essentially online-only. Terrorist Hunt and Situations are the only modes that support playing on your own against AI, but the AI isn’t tuned very well at all. It acts very simply depending on the difficulty that’s been set, so it just feels like it can either be “too easy” or “way too tough” with no middle ground.

You can also play Terrorist Hunt with four of your friends and it’s not a bad option to test some squad tactics out. It’s okay but obviously the biggest chunk of the game is in the multiplayer which I’ll tackle farther down in the review.

… audio is actually an essential tool here …
Visuals:
Rainbow Six Siege uses Unreal Engine and it’s definitely a looker. Textures are incredibly detailed, lighting is fantastic, and the framerate is likeably smooth. We mention the visuals quite a bit while we’re playing, especially the amount of destructibility in the environments.

Smoke is volumetric and almost too realistic when someone throws a grenade to provide cover. It really is one of those games that’s immediately recognized as one made only for the newest systems. Nothing looks ported anywhere in this one.

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Audio:
Unlike many other games, the audio is actually an essential tool here. It’s not simply there to add to immersiveness. I would actually recommend using headphones if you can, because everything in the environment has a very distinct sound.

If you pay close attention, you’ll probably have the advantage since you’ll be able to hear every footstep, the hum of a jammer device, or even the uniform of a prone enemy rustling as he or she makes even the most subtle movement. Honestly, to me the audio has even more impact than the visuals in most cases, and how effective it is can be used as an example for other games. It really is fantastic.

… We experienced many issues …
Online/Multiplayer:
As I’ve said, Rainbow Six Siege was essentially built as an online experience, that’s the core mechanic of the entire game. But unfortunately, it’s also the biggest weakness.

Weeks after release, many online issues, primarily orbiting around the features concerning playing with your friends, are still game-breaking. Matchmaking while playing by yourself with randoms works fine, but still the occasional disconnection occurs. But that’s something that a person will experience in many online games, so many are used to that by now.

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Where my biggest frustration lies is when I want to play with my friends. The game allows a squad of five to join-up and play together, at least technically. We experienced many issues including when we specifically had either three or five in the squad – that’s right, with two or four we never had an issue.

In those situations, issues ranged from random matchmaking slowness, someone in the squad not joining a match with the rest of the squad, or even worse a downright crash back to the PS4 dashboard. For a game that had a closed Alpha, and two Betas, I seriously question what they were actually testing. The core of this entire game is to play online with friends, yet that’s the one thing that elicits the most problems.

… makes me question why the game was allowed to be released in this state …
With crash after crash affecting my sessions, I got to the point that I didn’t even want to try anymore and I started telling my friends to steer-clear of this one until we heard that everything was fixed.

When the game is working, overall the online experience is really good, with only the occasional laggy match occurring. Matchmaking can take a long time in random intervals but when you’re actually in a match, things usually run very smoothly.

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Conclusion:
This has been a tough review because this is a game that I’ve been wanting for a few years now. So much has been done right and a lot of it is really impressive. The balance is well handled and the game just has a lot of style.

Controls are tight once you get used to the layout, although I’d like to see an option added to flip the triggers so I can use R1 to fire, and the presentation is fantastic. But I can’t get past the technical issues.

This game is made to be played online, and when I do, I play with my PSN friends. The fact that doing so exposes me to major problems in the game makes me question why the game was allowed to be released in this state. Sure, they can say “we’re going to patch it”, but I’m pretty sure that most people aren’t comfortable buying a $60 game when everyone knows that it’s probably going to completely crash.

Maybe next time wait until the core mechanics of the game are solid before releasing it, because too many of my friends won’t even give it a chance, now or ever. That frustrates me endlessly because I really want to play this when it’s finally fixed.

Score:
6.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Glenn Percival

Glenn Percival

Just a guy that loves games, movies, Golf, Football, and Baseball.

Podcast Co-Host, Editor-in-Chief, Video Producer, and whipping-boy

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  • A 6 are you crazy? I had no issues with this game. What’s wrong with you? :-p

    The game is fun when it works, just joining up with friends is a pain in the ass. Seems to do better with you if you host and have us join.