Editor’s note: Back when Rainbow Six Siege first launched at the tail-end of 2015, we found it a slight and occasionally spectacular multiplayer game. In the time since, it’s flourished into something else, and with the start of season three recently, we thought it an opportune time to jump back in and reassess Ubisoft’s tactical shooter.
History suggests that games like Rainbow Six: Siege do not last especially long. This is the sort
of tactical shooter that modders used to craft out of bits of Quake or Half-Life, a paean to depth for depth’s sake that seems destined to be adored in hindsight by the passionate minority that actually played it at the time. Yet here we are: now entering its third year, Siege is one of the world’s most popular shooters. Its success can, in some ways, be seen as a forerunner of the dazzling rise of PUBG and Fortnite: in rejecting Call of Duty’s Skinner box simplicity, Ubisoft has found an audience hungry for games where failure is unforgiving and success means more.
The top line for the unfamiliar: Siege is an adaptation of the venerable Tom Clancy tactical action series, taking the principles of breach-and-clear counter-terrorism and marrying them to modern competitive multiplayer design principles. A team of attackers must invade a secure location in pursuit of an objective – a bomb, bioweapon or hostage – while defenders set traps and prepare to repel them. Death comes quickly and eliminations take you out for the rest of the round. The result is something like hide and seek in Kevlar: a game where discretion is almost always the better part of valour, where acts of planning and foresight win the day just as often as marksmanship.
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