I haven’t really been into online gaming lately. Besides reviewing the multiplayer component of games, having the odd game of FIFA with a mate, or racking up a kill or two in Battlefield 4 every now and then, my online gaming habits have been rather sparse.
So I was relatively daunted when loading up to play my first round of Rainbow Six: Siege, Ubisoft’s latest online-centric (although there is an offline mode) tactical shooter.
Unlike some twitch-shooters out there, in classic Rainbow Six style, the game relies heavily on team coordination and strategy – something that can be quite rare when teaming up with three foreign-language-speaking individuals.
Jumping into a team with two Frenchman, and a Welsh gentleman whose accent was thicker than syrup, my external linguistic shortcomings beyond English became very apparent. I had no idea what was going on, no idea how to deploy my special ability, no idea why I couldn’t choose an operator, and basically no idea about anything.
The emphasis on teammwork, communication and synchronisation of Rainbow Six Siege was abundantly clear and by the complete disaster that was my first game, we had none. You see, matches in Rainbow Six Siege are ostensibly timed and objective-based, with different mission types dedicated to bomb defusal or hostage rescue, but rounds are just as likely to be player-vs-player bloodbaths; there’s no respawn after death, and eliminating an enemy team also counts as a win.
Rounds start with defenders fortifying their positions and readying each other for the coming invasion by barricading doors and reinforcing walls against conventional small arms fire and explosives. Meanwhile, the attackers roll drones through to try to find their objectives. Once the preparation phase ends, there’s a prolonged moment of semi-silence as attackers look for a way in and defenders wait to see where that will happen.
I wanted to see this in action, for myself. So, to remedy this, I managed to rope in four other friends (who, thankfully, spoke the same language), something special happened.
We were able to experience Siege for what it really was – a shining example of harmonised chaos.
On defence, I knew my role – fortify and protect, while my teammates roamed and set traps, and it was all incredibly nerve-racking. Hearing footsteps through the walls, explosions, breaching through windows, and team-chatter as you quietly hold your position in your temporary sanctuary is an experience like no other in gaming today.
On attack, the hyper-dependence on teammwork is highlighted even more. Coordinating your breaches, using each player’s special abilities, or complimenting one another with varying weapon types is a great chemistry that materialises something quite special when done right.
It is worth noting that Rainbow Six Siege doesn’t have a single-player campaign, sadly, but Siege’s calculating, climactic multiplayer confrontations feel fresh in a genre mostly concerned with movement. Siege can be a frustrating nightmare when played with an unorganised bunch, but when you team up and work together, it can be a damn rewarding experience.