Rainbow Six Siege beta impressions

I’ve been itching to get my hands on Rainbow Six Siege, and this week I’ve been hitting the beta hard. There are three modes to try out: TDM Secure Area, TDM Bomb and Terrorist Hunt (which isn’t yet live), which can be played on three day/night maps: House, Hereford Base and Consulate. You are awarded renown points for everything you do in-game, which can be spent on weapons, attachments and Operators – specialist CTU soldiers that are kitted out with a bespoke arsenal of gear.

Operators are the main focus of the game’s soldier class, each team picks from a selection of attacking or defending units that you’ve unlocked. Only one of each soldier may be selected within your team, so be quick at picking your favourite or risk having to play as the recruit. Each game starts with both teams voting on their entry point – for the attackers, this is where the team is inserted, and for the defenders, this is where you will defend the bombs or the biohazard material.

Once deployed, the attackers start the game by controlling an RC drone to scout the area – tagging enemies, checking on defenses and (hopefully) locating the objective. Once the prep time is up, and your drone hasn’t been destroyed, it will remain in the field – dead team mates can then use them to tag any remaining enemies so make sure you leave your drone in a good spot, but not in a place that the enemy will notice.

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For the defending team, prep time is used for setting up additional barricades, reinforcing walls and weak floors, while keeping an eye out for the drones – smashing them halts their sneaky recon and prevents the attacking team from using them after they have been killed. The defenders can also use CCTV during the match or after they have been killed to locate where an attack is coming from, although just like the drones, each camera can be destroyed.

Picking an infiltration point to attack and defend an objective instantly reminded me of the early Rainbow Six games – this time instead of inserting with an AI team, you have real gamers to work with and against, although drop-outs mid-game can mean that team numbers become unbalanced making the game rather difficult should you be on a team going up against one with greater numbers.

Bullets are deadly and you can even injure (and kill) your own team. With only one life, comms are essential especially while playing TDM Bomb; your team has a defuser that must be planted on one of two bombs locations. After planting, you have to defend the device until disarmament is complete. Placing the defuser in an awkward position will help hinder the defenders who must disarm it to win the match even if the attackers have been wiped out.

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Not only is it essential to have a good headset for comms, but a good set of cans will give you a real advantage at detecting enemy position – heavy footsteps running around above (or behind), wood being broken and explosions going off.

TDM Secure is the other objective based mode in the beta, and instead of having to place a defuser, all you need do is simply get into the room with the biohazard material and hold your position until it’s captured – no extraction necessary – which would have made for a more interesting (and harder) game mode to play.

In either mode, you can forget the objective and go for team elimination, which keeps the gameplay ever-changing, each match can change from objective play to good old-fashioned TDM – matches are decided by the best of five rounds and in the spirit of voting, you can vote to play an opposing team again. The gunplay is fast, intense and oh so satisfying, particularly when you outsmart an opponent.

Multiple insertion points will keep everyone on their toes – you can never be sure where an attack is coming from or where the objective is placed – and each building can be climbed at any point via rappel. Once attached, you can freely move about the surface you are climbing, making for some intense vertical firefights. Most walls can also be brought down to create new entry points or be shot through – you can also create a sneaky peep-hole to shoot through, which is always a good laugh, well, not for your opponent!

At first, this can all be little overwhelming – rooms no longer have one or two entry points, with an attack possible from any direction. The pace of each round is fast, but you need to play more considerately rather than go running in Call of Duty style.

The PvP mode of Siege is great and I’m sure it will make a huge splash with the eSports scene – each round can play out quiet differently – do you go in quiet or start blowing open holes in walls to get to the objective quicker? Do you play the objective or go for all out annihilation?

I can’t wait to see how the other modes play, but for some, it’s all about Terrorist Hunt, which I lost many hours to during my time with the Vegas series. Terrorist Hunt in the beta is the classic attack mode, available to play on three difficulties – I would hope that when it goes live it’ll be bloody brilliant and everything you might expect from its return!

I’ve found the Rainbow Six Siege beta an intense fun experience, sure there’s the odd technical hitch here and there, but that’s why Ubisoft are doing this beta and it gives you a great taste of what you can expect from the full title –Rainbow six is back and harks back to its root more than ever before. I’m hooked and I can’t wait for its full release.

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