Patience is, apparently, a virtue, and something arguably essential to success in Rainbow Six Siege. Fans of the series have had to show plenty of it, with Rainbow Six Patriots cancelled in 2014 after an expectant reveal in 2011, making the previous game released in the series 2008’s Vegas 2.
With the online multiplayer only offering a few different modes across a handful of maps, it’s difficult to feel that the game isn’t light on content.
Siege at its best is entirely reliant on good communication. Much like Evolve, the effectiveness of a team relies on how unique skills are used together.
The depth of the game comes in your choice of characters, or operators, and how you use them. Following the completion of basic tutorials at the beginning of the game, you’re given enough renown (reward currency) to unlock your first operator.
With 10 attackers and defenders to choose from, it might sound like a varied roster, but as different players quickly find their strengths in one or two specific operators, you’ll quickly find pickings become slim in an experienced team.
There are eight new operators still to come post-launch, as well as an unspecified number of additional maps and modes. All will become freely available following a period of exclusivity for season pass holders, so as not to split up the community.
Each of the characters has their own brief introduction video, some of which do a better job at highlighting how they should be used than others. In addition to the standard stream of solo Situations, it would have been nice to see character-specific ones and get chance to practice with your freshly-unlocked character before jumping online and being a liability to your team.
Unfortunately the game doesn’t offer this sort of support, meaning you have to work out how each operator’s special abilities work as you go along. Choosing the right operator not only for the right game variant, but also to complement your team composition is a difficult thing to master, and is really only feasible when communicating with your teammates.
Siege at its best is entirely reliant on good communication. Much like Evolve, the effectiveness of a team relies on how unique skills are used together - there’s no point in trying to put down Bandit’s electrified wire at doorways to counteract enemy drones if Mute has already placed a jammer, for example.
Once you do get into a good flow with a team, there can be some fantastic examples of tactical gameplay, all leading to an immense sense of satisfaction following hard fought and well earned victory.
Unfortunately, the other side of the experience is a disappointing one. This falls down to the simple fact that - as of now, even a few weeks after launch day - the matchmaking is unreliable at best and teeth-grindingly poor at worst.
Often entering into matchmaking, even with a full party, can result in failing to find an opposing team or getting stuck at some point in the process, forcing you to not only quit back to the menu, but even restart the game to make sure everyone gets pulled into the next attempt.
While some technical issues with online play are expected, even tolerable, to be experiencing it this regularly and to this extent grinds any momentum built up by a previous strong win to a halt.
The problems don’t end once you’re in the game either, as inaccurate hit detection and bafflingly inaccurate killcams can lead to cheap deaths and even arguments as the team is presented with a fictitious rendition of your round-ending game experience.
In theory, the premise of the game makes sense. It builds on the team on team action forged by games like Counterstrike and the gadgets and tools do make you think about the best way to get into the opposing teams stronghold, or defend your own.
The lack of campaign isn’t a problem, also in theory, as the format of the game lends itself to short game sessions of only a few minutes. Trying to weave those situations naturally into a narrative could be jarring or forced, though probably possible. The issue is that it’s so stripped down and basic that when you inevitably do get bored, there isn’t anything else to function as a break from the instant action element of the game.
If you’re looking for something to play with a group of friends now and then that captures and condenses parts of what makes Rainbow Six a cherished franchise for many, then this can be a tense, exciting and thoroughly enjoyable experience. As more than that though, it’s difficult to see how it will have the staying power to keep players coming back for more in a year’s time.