Rainbow Six built its reputation on deliberately paced, high consequence shooting in a design era that focused on fast paced and frequent respawning combat for first person shooters. After a long period of dormancy since the pair of critically praised Vegas games, the series returns with a new concept in Siege that is built around close quarter combat indoors and strategically deformation with explosives and blunt force entry. It’s a fresh approach to tactical shooters that the Tom Clancy brand is known for and I was excited to try it out at X15 Canada last week.
Selecting the Sledge character provided a massive hammer with which to knock down chunks of the building for forced entry, but its use was limited to wall panels and windows clearly marked with a huge X in the alpha build at the show. Walking through the level felt like skating with a lead suit on, lacking the swaying gait or sense of momentum that players expect from a modern tactical shooter.
Unfortunately, the AI characters were entirely devoid of strategy or even basic self preservation instincts as they rushed headlong to narrow chokepoints such as doorways or between filing cabinets to be sprayed with a hail of bullets. My attacking team was inadvertently aided as enemy CPUs stumbled in front of opposing human players or inexplicably refused to fire their guns when staring at me as I deployed bomb defusal kits only a few feet from their advantageous position. Ubisoft has a lot of improvement to make in this area if Siege is going to present a realistic tactical experience for strategic players.
Over a year after its announcement at E3 2014, the demo did not resemble the character behaviour and strategic elements from the debut trailer:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wlvYh0h63k]
Rainbow Six: Siege has some great ideas in its deformable internal structures and classes built with supporting rather than offensive abilities, but it will need to apply significant AI sophistication and polish to satisfy the high expectations held by veterans of the series.