Rainbow Six: Siege is an online tactical shooter developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. The title was released in December 2015 for Windows systems and for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles. It is also expected to be available for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X users.
Ubisoft’s Canada-based studio is responsible for other successful franchises, including Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and Watch Dogs. In addition, the company has been developing Rainbow Six titles since 2002 and has produced eleven titles so far, with the twelfth expected (Rainbow Six: Quarantine in 2020).
Ubisoft’s Golden Egg
The success of the entry was soon reflected by the numbers. In 2019 Ubisoft revealed that in their earning report, the Rainbow Six accumulated over $1 billion Euros in sales, season passes, and monetization of Ingame items. Furthermore, it was also revealed that it had generated $36.8 in June alone, its peak for the year, and 50% more than the previous month.
Furthermore, in the same year, it was reported that the game has a base of over 45 million active players. This surpasses the numbers obtained by Counter-Strike: Global offensive, a direct competition that does not accumulate even the half. Moreover, the title also continues to grow as an E-sport. In its last tune in the Six Invitational, it surpassed 100,000 spectators and registered a total of 3.05 million hours watched.
The game was very well received by the critics, who praised the great tension generated in a match and its focus on team strategy rather than personal skill. It received several nominations from The Game Critics Awards, such as Best of Show, Best Action Game, Best Online Multiplayer Game and, Best PC Game, winning the latter one.
In contrast, the single-player mode was received with mixed reviews. On the one hand, positive details such as the quality of the single-player campaign were highlighted, but it generated a great disappointment to see how short it is.
As a direct consequence, Ubisoft informed that it plans to support the game for at least 10 more years, without providing a direct sequel. This varies greatly from the way the company operates, which between downloadable content or DLCs, usually concentrates for 1 or 2 years on their installations.
Game modes, balance, and rankings
Among those that are regular and others that may appear in special events, Rainbow Six: Siege has several game modes. Among them, the most classic is Hostage, Bomb, and Secure the Area. In the first one, an attacking group must rescue a series of hostages held by the defending team. On the other hand, the objective of these is to prevent that from happening by eliminating the attackers or holding on for a certain amount of time without the hostages being extracted. This premise is repeated in the other two modes, wherein the Bomb mode the attackers must defuse the bomb with a defuser and the defenders must destroy it or finish off the opposing team. Secure the Area features a room with a biohazard container that the defenders must cover and the attackers must secure, as long as there are no rivals in the room.
Then, many other modes emphasize teamwork. In the case of Tactical Realism, the game eliminates any additions that would allow teammates to be distinguished, such as seeing them through walls or their overhead indicators. In Terrorist Hunt mode, a group of up to 5 players embarks on classic missions, with the difference that the enemy waves are controlled by artificial intelligence. In addition, Situations mode provides 11 missions, one of which is cooperative. The objective of this last mode is to teach new users the mechanics of the title.
Finally, there are special modes that change according to the season or the event that is active. Outbreak, for example, is a temporary mode during the Operation Chimera event. In it, a group of three players joins together to fight against other humans who have been mutated by an alien parasite. The enemies were controlled by the AI and it was possible to choose between two difficulties, where the friendly fire was activated in the most complicated one.
Apart from the modes, the game also has different mechanisms to separate players by experience and balance the matches as much as possible. This has some exceptions like in Casual, where users gather randomly to play a three-round game regardless of their rank. The opposite is the Ranked mode, where after 10 qualifying games the players will be balanced according to their status in the game, which varies according to the won and lost battles. Among all the possible rankings the user can be placed in Copper, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, and Champion. Once the game has started and the balance has been applied, the winner is decided in 4 rounds with the possibility of playing a concluding tie-break. Finally, the Newcomer mode is for players below level 50, who have only 3 maps available.
The card to separate from the competition: the operators.
Locking up the Rainbow Six: Siege in only his weapons would be austere. One of the great novelties of the game, which separates it from all its competition, is the number of resources and freedoms it gives its users when choosing a character (called by the game “operators”). This franchise not only divides the attackers from the defenders but within each group, there are vast differences in the skills that each member possesses. This is a far cry from contemporary titles, which only add a few exclusive weapons according to the chosen side.
After each player has an assigned team, they choose from various government agencies that will decide on the playing style of their members. Among the 22 available are the American FBI and SWAT, the English SAS, the German GSG 9, the French GIGN, the Japanese SAT, and even the Brazilian BOPE. In almost all of these agencies, there is a representative for the attack and another for the defense. Taking into account that some of them have several operators per sector, the game accumulates 54 different characters, all with unique names and special skills.
One of the largest arsenals in modern gaming
Far from neglecting the weapons that can be used, this title also surpasses all its rivals for its enormous amount of alternatives. This entry has 24 assault rifles (L85A2, AR33, G36C, F2, AK-12, AUG A2, 556xi, R4-C, 552 Commando, 416-C Carbine and the classic AR-15.50 among many others). 19 Submachine guns (MP5K, UMP45, P90, MP7, M12, AUG A3, Scorpion Evo, and Vector .45 ACP are some of the many examples). It also has 16 types of shotgun, a very neglected weapon in these games (some of these are the classic SASG-12, M1014, M590A1, SPAS-12, Super 90, M870, and ITA12L). 5 Marksman Rifles (417, OTs-03,CAMRS, SR-25, Mk 14 EBR). And 7 Light Machine Guns (6P41, G8A1, M249, T-95 LSW, LMG-E, ALDA 5.56, and M249 SAW).
Also, the game does not leave aside the secondary weapons, where it does not hesitate to show all its repertoire. First of all, there are more than 21 different handguns to choose from (some of them are the P226 Mk25, M45 MEUSOC, 5.7 USG, P9, P229, RG15, and the LFP586, also known as the classic magnum). 5 Machine Pistols (SMG-11, Bearing 9, C75 Auto, SMG-12, and SPSMG9). And Lastly, there are 2 secondary Shotguns (ITA12S and Super Shorty) and the Ballistic Shield. Apart from all this equipment, the game also has other elements. Among these are drones, surveillance, or other cameras installed by the players and even holograms that provide strategic advantages for those who throw them.
A good graphic engine to ensure the quota of realism
The graphic engine chosen for this title was AnvilNext 2.0. Also used in For Honor and the Assassin’s Creed saga (since 2014) this engine is still in Ubisoft Montreal’s plans for future releases. Among all the advantages that this engine has is the ambient occlusion, deferred lighting, dynamism in the meteorological system. In addition, it also increases the artificial intelligence of the characters controlled by an AI, has improvements in the animation, visual effects, and a new camera mode.
All these details are of vital importance for a Rainbow Six style game, which instead of aspiring to innovative or controversial graphics, uses the classic formula of realism. Far from being a lack in developers’ creativity, this appeals to many fans of the genre and due to several points of comparison, it is very difficult to achieve. With special emphasis on details such as facial customization of the character or the remarkable shadow effects, the title manages to pass this test in a satisfactory way
Maps: a journey around the world
The installment currently has 20 different maps to offer. Each one has a different backstory and is located in real locations in various parts of the world. In addition, due to their different characteristics, they are used for different events and game modes.
With various combinations of exteriors and interiors for their gameplay, the maps are the following: Oregon, Bank and House (United States) Chalet (France) Border (Middle East), Clubhouse and Kanal (Germany) Coastline (Ibiza and Spain), Consulate (Ivory Coast) Favela (Brazil) Fortress (Morocco) Hereford Base and Presidential Plane (United Kingdom), Kafe Dostoyevsky (Russia) Outback (Australia), Skyscraper (Japan), Theme Park (Hong Kong), Tower (South Korea), Villa (Italy) and Yacht (Baffin Bay).
Also, another important point in these maps is that Rainbow Six: Siege gives players the ability to modify their environment. This way, having the possibility to destroy walls or ceilings gives the team even more freedom to plan their strategy in the best way.
Servers and maintenance that still leave something to be desired
Regarding the Ubisoft servers, the entry receives constant complaints concerning their functioning. Although in the past this was much worse, today there are still claims about the distribution of the servers and regular ping problems. This becomes much more frequent among console users, who have a greater number of such inconveniences than PC users. This complaint also extends to Joysticks, which is claimed to be poorly optimized for use and forces the use of a keyboard if a more competitive game is to be played. Finally, although it is sporadic, there are several claims of server failures, where players are suddenly disconnected from them.
Most of its servers are in the United States and are located in Boydton, Virginia (EUS), Des Moines, Iowa (CUS), San Jose, California (WUS), and Texas (SCUS). There are also more servers distributed around the world, including Osaka, Japan West (WJA), Hong Kong, Asia East (EAS), Singapore, Asia South East (SEAS), Australia East (UAE), Europe West (WEU) Europe North (NEU), and Brazil South (SBR).
Since 2015, updates are presented consistently every 3 months. New content is often aimed at the inclusion of new operators, weapons, and maps, whether new or older re-worked ones. In addition, among these, there are usually several bug fixes, which despite not having a specific date of release or quantity, there are usually 2 or 3 between scheduled patches.
In conclusion, This entry has many similarities with other contemporary realistic FPS, such as the nature of their missions or the general idea of the game. On the other hand, the title also manages to be revolutionary, adding elements such as environmental destruction or characters identifiable by unique names and abilities. This was a great risk because it inhabits a gamer genre where the rules are already established, and the users, very faithful to them, usually avoid the changes.
Thus, combining traditional factors with innovative and intelligent mechanics, Rainbow Six: Siege manages to captivate the fans of the shooters and attracts many new ones. According to Ubisoft members, the title will have a lot of new maps and content, so this project will continue to bear fruit in the long run.