Rainbow Six Siege won't include a traditional single player campaign, but does it really need to? Ubisoft has lifted the veil on the single player portion of its upcoming tactical shooter, revealing 11 "Situations" which will challenge players with specific scenarios on each of the game's maps. At a recent preview event in London, IBTimes UK went hands on with a few of these Situations, as well as the anticipated Terrorist Hunt co-op mode.
Each Situation begins with the leader of the Rainbow counter-terrorism program, who is known only as Six (see what they did there?) and played by Angela Basset, describing the task at hand and the specific use of the particular operator players are cast as.
Each operator in the game (ten attackers and ten defenders) is unique, with a specific ability and a customisable load-out limited to two or three guns, side-arms and extras. Operator abilities vary from, for example, being able to more easily destroy barricades and walls to detecting electronic devices as attackers, or offering additional armour to teammates and having a mounted light machine gun in the case of defenders.
In the first Situation set aboard Air Force One, players are tasked simply with taking out all the terrorists with a device that makes taking out barricades from distance easier, which is helpful in close quarters. Later Situations task players with entering buildings laden with explosives, but gives them abilities that will help them detect and destroy those traps. As well as wiping out a set amount of terrorists, players will also be tasked with rescuing or defending a hostage – the latter giving them the chance to try out defensive capabilities.
The point is to familiarise players with the concepts of Rainbow Six Siege, and it works. The levels are fun to approach in multiple ways and offer a decent challenge – with Normal, Hard and Realistic difficulties offering increased experience as reward. However, while the concept is good enough, what's there does feel limited. I worked through the six Situations in less than an hour and there was little reason to replay except to conquer higher difficulties.
Loadouts for every scenario remain the same each time, and there is no immediate option to mix up scenarios on different maps and approach them with different devices and tactics – though this may be possible through custom games of Terrorist Hunt. If Ubisoft updates the game with additional free Situations - a new one for each free map it plans to release post-launch for example - that would be better. A time trial feature could be fun as well.
Clearly Ubisoft doesn't intend for Siege to be played solo however, so it is a good thing that both Terrorist Hunt and the straight forward competitive multiplayer look to be in such robust shape. Both modes show just how strong the core of Rainbow Six Siege is. This is a tactical game that offers an array of possibilities for attack and defence, but the destructible environments offer the room for surprise and uncertainty among defenders who can never be sure they have an area completely locked down.
Terrorist Hunt is a player vs everything (PvE) mode in which teams of up to five are tasked with eliminating a set amount of terrorists or disarming two bombs. What was frustrating in the moment but good for the game was how much teamwork was required. Even on normal difficulty teams encountered many problems, usually born out of a lack of communication.
One squad mate of mine was too close to a charge when it was detonated. Another died at my hand after I failed to let anyone know that I had thrown a grenade – that kind of thing. This doesn't mean that the game will be spoiled when communication isn't possible (most players will be playing this mute) but it does mean they will have to be conscious of their decisions and thinking tactically.
Rainbow Six Siege is shaping up rather nicely, with the aforementioned strong core supporting two great multiplayer modes and a single player mode. The depth of the primary multiplayer mode will be the key to the game's success and longevity however, and we'll find out the full wealth of what Siege has to offer when the game is released on 1 December.