Contributing Writer | William Campbell
“Rainbow Six: Siege” wasn’t always going to be the game the company Ubisoft made it out to be. Originally, the objective base first-person shooter was meant to be a narrative shooter like the previous installments of their “Rainbow Six: Las Vegas” series. The only issue was that it fell into what is called, development hell and “Rainbow Six: Patriots” was canceled. What came out of it though was the game people know today, “Rainbow Six: Siege.”
Now the game everyone sees today isn’t what it was meant to be either. On June 15, 2015 on the stage of E3, Ubisoft took the main staged and showed footage of a match. The graphics were amazing. Walls crumpled like tissue paper as bullets sailed through. The hostage could be moved around and everyone navigated freely around the map. On Dec. 1, 2015 that is not what the public was given.
The graphics were heavily downgraded from the footage of E3. The destructive capabilities of the weapons and explosives were limited. Everything fell short. Even with all of these downgrades though, the game still had a dedicated player base full of people that, though vocal about their disappointment, enjoyed the game and hoped it would get better.
Slowly but surely, Ubisoft started to take steps in the right direction by allowing all players to access the new downloadable content, also known as ‘operations.’
They wouldn’t give it right away to the players who didn’t purchase the season pass, but they did give them the map for free and the new operators could be purchased with renown, which can be earned through play time.
Four years down the way with “Operation: Grim Sky,” the latest update in “Rainbow Six: Siege” content, the game has hit a 35 million player count and it’s clear to see why the game is doing so well.
The roster has grown since launch, when it started with 20 operators, 21 if you include the recruit, which already gives a player a large variety of combinations. With the latest operation, players now have access to a total of 42 special operators, which gives players a large amount of strategic options before the game even starts.
As stated before, the strategy begins at character select and goes even further once the game commences. Attackers objective in the start of the match is to locate the hostage, bombs or area that needs to be secured.
While the attackers use their drones to survey the area, the defenders are using their time to set up steel and wooden barricades to block lines of sight and make it more difficult for the attackers to breach. Not only that, but some defenders like the Spetsnaz operator, Kapkan have traps for those who go in without caution and other like Rook have ways to increase their teammates survivability.
Once the preparation phase is over the attackers are free to move around the map and begin their assault. Operators like FBI’s Thermite can destroy steel barricades with ease and if its jammed by a Mute, Thatcher’s EMP grenade can fix that with little effort. After that is done and the attackers are in building, the firefights begin.
The gunplay in this game is exceptional with the idea that these characters are trained professionals and are familiar with their weapons. At the start, some guns can be difficult to control, like Fuze’s 6P41 light machine gun, but given time and practice it can be used accurately.
Another thing to point out about the gunplay is that accuracy is key. Any of the guns from rifles to pistols are deadly and in a split second an operator can be killed. Headshots are desired for taking care of an enemy, but a few body shots are just as acceptable and though the damage to the body isn’t completely realistic, the amount of health a simple can take out cannot be ignored.
Every area in a map can be molded into an advantage point for a player.
Now the gameplay would be nothing without the maps either, yes they look nice, but what makes this game different from others is that the landscape can change in a second. Barricades can close off door entrances and impact grenades can open gaping holes in the drywall.
Some maps have destructible floors that can give attackers or defenders ways to take care of foes from below. An operator like the FBI’s Pulse can also see someone’s heartbeat through walls and shoot through them.
Speaking of the maps, Ubisoft has made sure that there is a wide variety of locals for players to compete in. Nine out of the eleven operations have either brought a new map into the game or a rework of an original map. With the latest DLC update, “Operation: Grim Sky,” has brought Hereford Base back as the first, fully reworked map in “Rainbow Six: Siege.”
This game clearly wasn’t the original title Ubisoft envisioned with “Rainbow Six: Patriots” and isn’t what players were shown during E3, but it's clear that what began with a rough start has become a game that can stand alongside titles like “Counter Strike: Global Offensive” and “Overwatch” on the eSports stage.
That couldn’t have been done if the team just proceeded to the next game. “Rainbow Six: Siege” and Ubisoft have shown the world that with dedication and hard work, that a great game can come out of not only the ashes of what was, but the uphill battle of what it should be. It still has a long way to go, but this game, if it stays on track. can go the distance and become a benchmark for the genre.