E3 2015 – Rainbow Six: Siege Hands-On Preview: Information is Power

In an industry that seems to be filled with high octane shooters, the Tom Clancy series has become the go-to staple for fans who have been looking for a little bit more out of their experiences; and to me, none of them exhibits that more than the Rainbow Six franchise. Using tactical gameplay, its change of pace from other shooters has always been where I have always felt more at home, a place where simply running in to kill things was the quickest way to be put on your back, a place where reflexes, skill and strategy will almost always win. So, when Ubisoft announced that the series would be returning in Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, I couldn’t have been more excited to see what they had in store.

At this year’s E3, I got the chance to play a few rounds of Siege with our very own Chandler and D’yani Wood to see just how well the tactical shooter holds up. To start off, as I have already said, this isn’t a game for players who want to just jump into battle and fire until everything or everyone is filled with holes. In Siege, it’s about information. To best explain this, you need to understand how the game plays. Starting the match, one team plays the defenders. They start the round by fortifying a stronghold, and this could mean placing anything from barbwire, to reinforcing walls and windows to force the other team to have to breach; giving away their location. The other team starts out the round driving around remote control vehicles with cameras in an attempt to locate the opposing members, and have an array of methods to break into the area. 

Stop and Think

On top of the ability to either fortify or defend, each team has an array of gadgets to help them locate the other team. This is where the tactical concept comes into play, as the team with the most accurate pieces of information is the most capable of getting a leap on the other. Using cameras to look through walls, or hacking into camera feeds lets players spot the other in hopes of making the right move, making each round play out like a deadly game of chess. Adding to the tension of the situation, Siege offers a high level of destruction that it lets players shoot or even hammer through walls. While being downed through a wall isn’t anyone’s ideal way to go out, it does keep both teams from turtling, as well as punish teams who aren’t planning out their matches well enough. 

While most of this already sounds pretty slow and boring, there is a great deal of action that happens, but when it happens is all depending on how each team determines their strategy. On the first round we played as defenders, we set up a number of reinforced walls, as well as dropped barb wire to prevent anyone from rushing in. After that, we watched the camera feeds to locate the attacking teams entry point, and waited. Then, suddenly a breach charge, someone got through, in a matter of moments, that safe little hiding hole we had is filled with smoke and gunfire erupts from every angle. One teammate goes down, two enemies go down, then suddenly it ends up being just me against one other person. Stuck inside our hiding spot, we trade shots, bouncing behind cover until I eventually catch a stray and lose the match, all within a matter of minutes. 

It All Went Wrong…Again

From here, we try out what it’s like trying to breach. We’re guided to split up and try and locate their safe room. I go directly through a tunnel and hit the basement looking for the slightest clue, until someone shouts out their location. We leave the cameras and talk about who should go where, we set one at the primary window with a breach, I flank to the side through an open window and remaining two go through the front door. As I reach my spot, someone gets seen and downed, the window gets breached, I find two sitting in a room by my window, down one and move before the other can get a shot off, but just as I descend, another one comes up from behind. They rushed and we were scattered, it was over. 

Unlike us, the opposing team didn’t group up everyone together. Our information didn’t tell us that they split up, it didn’t tell us that they pushed out, we fell for their trap. That is how the game plays, it’s all about information, and reacting to a shifting battleground, while trying to coordinate with a team. Having played with Chandler and D’yani on other games it was easy to communicate, but it simply wasn’t enough, we ran in too hard and didn’t wait for the full picture. 

While the build we played was far from complete, it felt like it was a great way to get a group of friends together to try figure out a battle strategy. The idea of having to hunt for information might not be for everyone, but we still have a great deal left to see from Siege, so there is no telling what the game’s other modes or features it may offer when it  comes out on October 13.