Is the Noid really the villain this time? Or is he the true hero we all need?
For the longest time, I’ve culled a passing interest in the SWAT franchise, but I never got around to playing them. Growing up in a Mac household with only home consoles kind of holds you back from playing classic PC games, you know? But now my chance has finally arrived, with Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege. Arguably the most interesting ‘cops versus criminals’ first-person-shooter available at E3 2014, Siege pits a team of cops against some hardened criminals for control of a certain area.
In the demo I was shown, the Rainbow Six team (consisting of five, weirdly enough) went up against some baddies holed up in a suburban residence, holding your generic blonde woman de jour hostage. This is the literal extreme of the damsel in distress cliche, and I hope the final game lets you rescue a family or a dog. Some diversity in the victims would be nice.
The demo began with the Siege dev team showing off both sides of the conflict: attackers and defenders. At the start of each match, during the prep stage, the Rainbow Six send drones in to scout the place, while the criminals place defensive items like barbed wire or barricades. The drones are crucial, because if you rush into the house without an idea of where the hostage is, you’ll get stomped. There are no respawns, and our demo lacked both regenerating health or any kind of med-pack. It’s a very tactics-heavy setup.
Once the Six team found the hostage’s location, they began to move into the house. In a (probably heavily practiced) sequence, the developers showed all the various ways the attacking force can push their foes; namely, with guns and explosives. Shortly after the attackers’ inevitable victory, the demo switched to following the defending team. Barbed wire and reinforced walls became crucial in this segment, but, as with all games, how the mechanics work in practice will be another thing entirely.
After the demo, attendees were given a hands-on look at the game. And hey, that included me!
Siege plays like a fairly standard first-person shooter. That ever-slippery, hard-to-define “feel” is alive and well here; “this game feels standard” is such an incredibly subjective thing to say, but I didn’t find anything particularly egregious nor memorable about the simple act of playing Rainbow Six. Instead, the structure is what makes the game entertaining.
Despite (arguably) being a group of professionals, every single one of the attendees burst out with laughter and cheers when a match ended in a particularly entertaining way. Our last match ended with a tense, white-knuckle standoff between the last members of each team. This game is emblematic of the best that multiplayer gaming can embody, with a series of emergent anecdotes bolstered by plentiful explosions and friendly fire. Ubisoft’s faux-banter may not have been far off, I can easily see my friends and I getting way into this game.
It’s not hard to imagine a marketing campaign dominated by a series of proud developers, boasting about an “uncompromised” vision for the new Rainbow Six. This game will not reward the camper, nor the Blitzkrieg fanatic. For the people who are looking for a new SWAT game, this will absolutely scratch your itch. And for those of you looking for that next big co-op game to play with your friends, give Rainbow Six: Siege a look.