e3 2014
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege - Kill the Intruders - Hands on - Update

Greg Tito | 12 Jun 2014 17:45
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Tactical team-based slaughter has never been so destructive.

Update: Andrea Rene talked to Technical Artist Oliver Couture after spending some hands-on time with Rainbow Six: Siege.

Original Story: One of the big surprises from yesterday's press conferences was a new Rainbow Six. The 5 v 5 competitive multiplayer game was shown with a scripted, yet evocative sequence with the perpetrators trying to protect a hostage in a suburban house from an assault by police. There was drones, cameras, and lots of awkward conversation and banter, but the big feature seems to be completely destructible walls, floors and ceilings. At Ubisoft's showcase on Monday night, I got to play a match, switching roles back and forth between invaders and defenders, and it's pretty much the most frantic and stressful multiplayer experience I could imagine.

It was also kind of weird.

I mean, we are these hyper-weaponized dudes with three different classes controlling our loadout protecting or exploiting a young female hostage. Her fear is palpable - she will cry out for help or wail at her treatment. And yet, with all the bullets and explosions flying around, her predicament is not a very high priority. The perps win if you hold on to her for 3 minutes, and you have that much time to save her if you are the cops. She is an objective, nothing more.

I know it is "just a game" but I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you how uncomfortable it made me feel. Maybe that's the point. It certainly made for a tense experience for me.

Each map starts with a preparation phase. Once you've selected your class, your team has one minute to get ready in the house. The defenders set up barricades, locking down windows and doors and reinforcing walls. You can also set barbed wire down to slow the enemy's advance. The police or eponymous rainbow six team have remote camera drones which can enter the building and scope out defenses and the location of the hostage. You can also argue about which way to enter the building, which in the build we played was limited to front or backyards. Hopefully they come up with more creative ways to enter because it makes sense to me to drop on the roof.

Once the minute is up, the action phase begins. Again, you have three minutes to get the hostage out or to kill all five of the defenders. The defenders, which are actually the bad guys I guess, just want to keep the hostage away from the police.

The interesting part of Rainbow Six: Siege is how the best laid plans so quickly go to shit. Communication is key, but most players will just barge right into a firefight and get killed quickly. Like I did. Once that happens, you are pretty much out of the match. A big message pops up that says 3v2 or 41 based on who is alive at any given moment. It's possible to be revived once you are down, but the short duration of the matches usually means it will be over before anyone can get to you. Still, it sucks to die early and watch the rest of the match, although you still can be helpful to your team to watch the cameras and call out positions, etc.

Some of the different class's abilities or items are limited. You only have a one frag grenade or a few flash bangs if you are the pointman, for example. The defender's explosive class only has a single C4 explosive you can detonate, so choosing when and how to blow that shit up is very important. The pointman does have an always on ability of using the riot shield when you are aiming with your pistol, so his high defense is vital to the team's success.

The hands on was an impressive first showing for Rainbow Six: Siege, but I can't help but think it will only appeal to niche audience of shooter fans craving a more tactical experience. On that, it certainly delivers, but I hope the team pays attention and changes up its uncomfortable hostage female situation. Wouldn't it be great if we were rescuing a man for once? How about a dog hostage?

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege is in alpha now, and will enter beta getting ready for release in 2015.

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