Rainbow Six: Siege Beta Impressions

After my experience with the Rainbow Six Siege (Siege) beta, I realise my time with the game is more than enough. I kept think, ‘I loved Rainbow Six back in the day.’ Raven Shield was a hard but deadly experience, Rainbow Six 3 on Xbox was my original introduction to the series and Alcatraz, along with some poor squad voice controls just made that experience. Rainbow Six: Vegas was the first step down, curbing the danger of every corner. But ultimately it’s multiplayer was integral to keeping it alive. While its namesake sequel Vegas 2 was more of an add on with an even weaker story.

Patriots looked like it was going to bring back a stronger story and have the multiplayer we have with Siege somewhat. Then it gets pulled in favour of this multiplayer only experience. Which puts tremendous weight on its metaphorical shoulders. It only takes one thing to make it crumble to dust. Plus coming off the heels of the Black Ops 3 very successful beta, Siege is going almost as bad as it could go. Multiple platform wide server issues on an almost hourly basis, endless matchmaking cycles where you feel like you’ve got a Willy Wonka golden ticket, to then mid-match crashes, and non-progress registrations of +0 despite doing all the work to either win or be the best on your team at least.

Let the Test Begin

Now, this is a beta. I expect these things, until you realise if this game wasn’t delayed until December 1st. That in two weeks time Siege would be released and even with this beta, the likelihood of the myriad of issues being magically fixed by then would be a miracle or in all seriousness be considered an absolute joke if released in this state. For an online only multiplayer experience to not have your online service working is akin to shooting yourself in the head, but finding out it didn’t quite do the trick, leaving you in a vegetative state.

I usually set myself some sort of goal for a session, something simple like gain a level or reach a certain amount of cash. All I wanted was a weapon skin I had 2000 and change so needed just over 900 points. you usually get at least 200 to anywhere near 400 per multiplayer match. So that works out at 3-4 games right. 10 minutes each should be done in about an hour tops. The beta was in such a state that it took me 10 hours to reach such a ‘lofty’ goal. Between endless failed attempts to join matches, and when I did get matches only to receive +0 as an end result was maddening. Especially when the beta began it was going smoothly. As the players came in, the foundation beneath Siege cracked like a dam about to burst.

We as gamers should applaud the person/s who went to the higher ups to tell them the game won’t be ready. Because it will take them until December to fix most of the problems this beta has dredged up for them. But based on the current state this need at least six more months to be in praise worthy serviceable order.

The thing with multiplayer only games though is your audience after three months are going to be the dedicated few, the whales who just buy everything because they have no serious free time to grind and unlock things, and the few new players who picked it up at a marked discount. Evolve is Siege’s mirror. Evolve is good for anyone looking for a multiplayer experience that isn’t exactly military or fighting off hordes. The requirement of teamwork is practically mandatory to win against a gigantic monster. Yet the time comes when you realise you’ve just had enough of the same thing over and over again. For me it took over three months to stop playing Evolve, for Siege this beta has crushed nearly all my enthusiasm I’ve had to play it. Leaving me only curious about other maps/modes and characters not in the beta. I have no further intention of going 12 rounds with this matchmaking as it stands. Whomever was pro release it in October is a cancer to Ubisoft as a games studio. I genuinely want Ubisoft back on track on releasing quality products. Ubisoft feels like it’s turning into that moment in the movie Santa Claus where they go from handmade toys to machine crafted with everything falling apart. That is how Ubisoft appear from the outside looking in.

A Little Good, A Lot of Bad & Too Much Ugly

So with the rant over about how dismal the beta is, when you get a game, it sets actual benchmarks in multiplayer standards. DICE may have started the destructible environments with Battlefield, but the Siege Team have taken it to where I always imagined. Bullets penetrating walls, grenades and breach charges just obliterating walls. Gunfights on staircases demolish the wooden struts and nicely polished handrails. The maps are nearly perfectly destructible, without compromising the integrity of the maps.

My favourite aspect of the game is the camera system. Each team has a set of cameras. For attackers you are each given a drone you can roll about the house to mark enemies and find objectives with, during this time you watch as defenders frantically run around laying down defenses. From barring entrances with wooden barricades, reinforcing walls with metal protective fencing, placing electronic jammers, C4 and toxic gas grenades, while another team mate puts out armoured vests for team mates to strap up with and gain just a touch more protection from bullets bar a headshot or grenade blast. Throw in some knowledgeable players and you have some crafty tactics going on to block the attacks from finding the bomb locations. However, play the maps enough times and simply locating the floor is good enough for the attackers.

To which when I am on the attack my first priority is locating the dome cameras dotted around the map. As these are the post-kill cameras which enemy teams can not only watch the rest of the action through, but also use to mark attackers locations, and if they aren’t shot out can prove the difference between a win or a loss, as even early on defenders have the ability to access these cameras and with them can predict the other teams play and adjust accordingly, turning a round into a shutout. Thus restricting them to watching other players P.O.V’s.

Breach & Clear on my Mark

I wish I could say everyone gets Rainbow Six, but they don’t. It’s a case of ten lone wolves fighting for the packs survival in random games. You will need yourself and four other friends or competent mic using players to get the absolute best experience out of this, otherwise you’re in shooter game simulator 2015. Shadowing other players doesn’t help either especially if they aren’t on mics because while you can provide each other back up in a gun fight there is no way to stop them throwing in a grenade right as you are swinging in for a room breach from the adjacent window, essentially getting blown up by your own team as you land. (yeah it happened) At best you might be able to co-ordinate a tactical breach with a few willing players, as one marks with a camera while the others use Thermite’s ability to bust through reinforced walls and turn the enemy team into Swiss cheese in under ten seconds.

The characters or individuals within a special forces team are so unique that no two are exactly alike. In the beta three have access to ballistic shields, which a loud amount of people hate, because a ballistics shield does its job, it stops bullets. While a silent amount of players have adapted from the gunplay ingrained by Call of Duty and learnt to outflank or out manoeuvre the slow shield using attackers, or simply melee them for a one shot kill.

Twitch (the character, not the streaming service) has a special deployable camera equipped with a rechargeable taser, which when deployed before a breach, can take a prepared enemy into a confused an disorganized on in seconds, and if twitch has a mic, they can tell you when to blow the breach, and catch the enemy off guard for a much easier kill than without it previously. The best part is everyone on attack has an extra camera after the scouting phase. Not sure about this barrier? or the room ahead? deploy your drone, be careful and scout out the corners, got a camper next to a breachable wall you can get too? creepy up on it, then blow them to kingdom come while you focus on another enemy if they are also there.

It’s not like Defenders can’t make attackers days a nightmare too though. Bandit can lay down barbwire and attach car batteries to them meaning any attacker who walks over them slowly gets electrocuted which can lead to death if they come through it, only to end up either dead during a retaliation/preventative fire, which they then might have to retreat through, so they aren’t just slowed down, but potentially killed by the shocks too. Fuze (attacker) & Jager (defender) are the only pair that perfectly counter each other in the beta. Fuze has an ability to place a tube charge on any window, barricade or dry wall which will penetrate and fire multiple grenades throughout a room. causing absolute carnage or wiping out entire teams in a single go if you are really lucky. Jager how ever has an ability to place a defuser which prevents any grenade from exploding within the devices range, turning fuze’s ability moot.¬†Smoke an S.A.S. operative not only has C4 and basic barbwire, but toxic sticky grenades. Which when detonated cause a big yellow toxic gas cloud which can seriously harm or outright kill anyone stuck inside it. It becomes especially useful in the closing moments of a round if a enemy player has barely survived, or has a shield as if they barely survived, the cloud can finish them off, or if the enemy has a shield it can get stuck to it and they can become their own walking death.

When Terrorist hunt mode was introduced to the beta, it soon became the only stable mode in the beta. As it used a players connection as the host, but the problem is for the realistic difficulty which can be punishingly hard or this team is so on point it felt easy, the progress rewards paled in comparison to playing a multiplier game against what amount to three headless chickens, one chicken that still has a head and a decent player. which is either fun fast an frivolous while downright enjoyable, versus AI which on realistic is so cheap they got the AI on discount from 1997, as they shoot through walls with zero line of sight yet pinpoint headshot accuracy. and have C4 strapped up Biohazard jumpsuit terrorists that come at you like you said free alcohol all you can drink, served by your own Chippendale to a already inebriated hen-party. The fear is that palpable when they rush you an subsequently blow up in your face sending your corpse flying across the room along with any flooring, wall or ceiling with it. It also doesn’t help that they feel like a ever so slightly milder version of a Payday 2 Bulldozer which ironically come in bomb-blast outfits and take an insane amount of damage to kill even with repeated headshots. One would think a headshot to a biohazard suit would be enough to take care of them but it isn’t. and it makes them feel a bit unfair after four headshots and they still manage to blow you up.

A Lasting Impression

Siege is fun, exciting, varied and applies every bullet physics to walls I’ve been jonesing for in videogames for nigh on a decade. But it means nothing when an online experience it crippled by the very basic function it needs to work, good, fast matchmaking. I’d rather see the matchmaking an reward scheme get fixed to a near flawless capacity than any other bug I’ve come across be it cameras falling through the floor at the start of the round, broken end of round killcams, wallclipping issues along with a few exploits I won’t name just so none of you go out cheating the last few days of this beta. I’m just left bitter and saddened after this game has taken my patience and sanity away. I just hope Ubisoft are on point with Assassin’s Creed this year. After Unity last year and the state of this beta, Quality Assurance isn’t something Ubisoft will be synonymous with in future if this continues. Buyer beware come December 1st.

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