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Rainbow Six Beta, impressions

RB6_4The pessimist in me, thinks that the trend of pre-release game Betas, are just a new incarnation of game ‘Demos’, and are not a bad way of building a bit of hype leading into a titles release. But in turn, the Beta has to be pretty polished, or more harm than good can be done. Going by my time with the Rainbow Six: Siege Beta, Rainbow is returning to its roots as first set down in the brilliant Tom Clancy novel (Which I recently finished reading). The game is destined to put the player back in the boots of best special forces operators from around the world, making them use the tools of the ‘trade’ to win matches. I say matches, as Ubisoft have all but said, the final game will not feature a traditional single-player campaign. R6:Siege is leaving its roots in novels, and shaping up to be an online only multi-player shooter (gasp).

RB6_3Now that Rainbow Six: Siege has wrapped up its two week closed multi-player (M/P) Beta. The Beta consisted of a handful of maps which could be played as a 5v5 Team Death Match, based around an attack and defend core objective mode. Or if competitive M/P wasn’t too your taste, the brilliant co-op Terrorist Hunt mode from R6: Vegas has also returned. As with pretty much every online shooter out there, experience is earned, then used to unlock new characters who have different skills or strengths. The maps are small by M/P standards, all matches are based around a three of four stored target building with plenty of doors and windows to breach.


The matches start with teams choosing between characters designated ‘attack’ or ‘defence’. Attack characters have access to entry tools, breaching charges, shields etc…Where defence characters can lay barbed wire, reinforce walls, lay charges or jammers. Once the match begins there is a short period where attackers attempt to survey the buildings interior with small wheeled drones. While defence team reinforces walls, doors and sets up whatever devices their characters have. Once the match begins proper, the idea is simple. Attackers get inside the building and get the objective, defenders….stop them.

The most important feature of the game design is, there are no respawns. The idea here is to be tactical. Leaning around corners, silently abseiling through windows, using breaching charges and stun grenades to get the upper hand. The character movement is slow, but deliberate, its no Call of Duty run ‘n’ gun. New to the series is destructible walls and floors, which completely charges how a player can use, or more importantly perceive ‘cover’. Just because you are behind a wall or door doesn’t mean you are safe.


The first few days of the Beta where plagued by server issues and hanging in menu screens. I recall spending upwards of ten minutes in loading and menu screens, then one minute into the match I would catch a stray bullet through a door and I go back to surfing twitter on my iPad. After a couple of days of this I had written the game off. But for some reason I gave it one more go. Thank goodness I did, as I had some brilliant matches. The menus and loading screen stuff was still slow, but they were at least stable. I was teamed up with some randoms who clearly love tactical games as much as I. We were talking, planning, synchronising entries with stun grenades, using shields to lead the way. We were a ‘Rainbow’ team!


So now I’m torn. With no campaign in R6:Siege to spend time in if you have no friends to team up with online, a tactically minded gamer is destined for frustration when playing with randoms. Sure Terrorist Hunt could bridge that gap, but anyone who played it in R6:Vegas knows that it’s a challenging game mode on solo. The title is going to heavily rely on like-minded friends and community to get the most out of this niche shooter. I predict will get the game, but will likely wait for the rush of Run n Gunners to try it and move on. In short I hated the beta…then I loved it.