Preview: Rainbow Six: Siege

July 7, 2014

As Rainbow Six: Patriots bounced around the Ubisoft drawing board, the team eventually realised that the vision wasn’t going to eventuate anytime soon. Instead, they returned to Rainbow Six‘s roots, and for the past year and a half, have been working on a new and refocused incarnation, Rainbow Six: Siege. Lauded by patrons and critics at E3, the game sees small two teams face off against each other in games that focus on hostage defence and extraction. Multiplayer in design, Siege forgets story and aims to bring the series’ trademark tactical shooter gameplay to the fore.

At E3, we were once of a few lucky members to get our hands on the game. But before, Ubisoft took the opportunity to explain their new Rainbow Six mission. Set in small environments like an average suburban house, a team of crooks is charged with protecting their hostage from the Rainbows. The good guys, meanwhile, are waiting outside, ready to storm in and extract the hostage to safety. Ubisoft reiterated that gong in Rambo style is not the objective – teams must communicate and coordinate their actions as a team if they wish to succeed.


In the opening minutes of the match, which can be populated either entirely by live opponents or bots – if you are playing solo – players have a few moments to prepare. Team Rainbow can send in spy cameras on a small motorised wheels to scout out the location and find where the hostage is being stashed. The hostage-takers, on the other hand, can set traps liked barbed wire, and fortify walls and doors. Hence, we arrive at Ubisoft’s other big focus in Siege – destruction. The developers explained that any part of the fabricated environment – doors, walls, and even the floor – can be destroyed with gunfire or explosives to create new tactical paths. So if you land the role of the bad guy, it might be handy to reinforce a few walls in the room where you’re keeping the hostage.

During the loading screen, the Rainbows and hostage-takers can choose their loadout, comprised of the usual assortments of weapons, explosives and also a riot shield. Jumping into to the game, I took the side of Team Rainbow. We sent our motorised cameras into the house, eventually locating the hostage in an upstairs bedroom (players can also leave their camera on the floor and use it on the fly during the storming phase). The terrorists, meanwhile, where furiously setting up traps and reinforcing walls to make sure we only had one path to the objective – or so they thought.


One half of Team Rainbow entered through the front of the building, distracting the bad guys, while myself and the Ubisoft developer leading us rappelled to the first floor. I set up a timed explosive on a wall of an unoccupied room, giving us an improved path to rescue the hostage. The control system allows you to peek around corners, which is essential, given that just a bullet or two can mean instant death. Storming the building proved that teamwork is a fundamental element of Siege, with such simple actions like calling out the locations of enemies all but essential. As we led the hostage out of the building, bullets and grenades tore the construction to pieces, make the house look more like something from an earthquake. Our team leader eventually got the hostage to safety, but not before the remainder of us and all of the bad guys had fallen prey to each other.

While some people prefer the fast-paced adrenaline rush of shooters like Call of Duty, Rainbow Six: Siege returns to the more cautious approach of tactical, team-based gameplay. The lack of proper single-player campaign is somewhat disappointing, but after going hands-on with the game, I can say the versus-centric title stands on its own feet. With Rainbow Six: Siege only coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, this is one game that is being tailored solely for a next-generation experience.