“If the development team can expel the uncertainty, this game will be a winner!”
Rainbow Six Siege is undoubtedly one of the most exciting new releases coming out later this year. It is a shame that it has been set back for a December release, but the recent beta still reached our screens on time, and allowed us to get a taste of what we could be looking forward to. It was a good week for gaming with friends, but gave a few mixed signals about the upcoming title. Here is what it was all about…
I played some of the beta on both console and on PC, and personally found the latter experience the better one. Controlling the game was easier, I felt like I was more able to use all of my senses with a headset, and more people were talking in the game. For that reason, the PC version is the experience which I will focus on going forwards. That being said, not nearly enough people were talking when myself and my friends were playing the game online. For a game which focuses heavily on team play, this was annoying, and whilst it was not a problem with the game itself, it did make us worry that the community might be a major downside come the final release.
Onto the beta itself though, the gameplay side of things was fantastic. Dynamic gameplay is exciting every time. Using different classes with different equipment changes every mission and its outcome. The multi-level gameplay and quite literally explosive transitions between them allows for an unlimited number of approaches to be taken. The use of drones in the game is very current and an inspired idea which also plays out as a great feature. These also mean that when you are downed you are not out of the game, and you can feed intel to your surviving team mates using these cameras. This does of course bring us back to the requirement for people to speak to each other, but as a feature it is strong.
There were some negative points to the beta, however some of these may only be problems with the beta and not with the final game. One of these was that the beta was limited, with only three game types to play and only three maps to play them on. The main problem with this was that the ones which were available were not the most exciting or anticipated elements of the game, and so we did not get a chance to play what we really wanted to. The plane map and the hostage game type which we have previously seen for example were not available in the beta. There was a Hereford map though, which made me happy. Go Hereford!
The biggest actual problem with the beta was the numerous errors and problems which matchmaking was riddled with. This is a concern, as being a purely multiplayer game which relies on online play, we do not want the final game to be like this. It was also frustrating that you had to leave matchmaking and go back to the main menu to buy new classes or change loadouts. This seems like something which you should simply be able to do between games rather than have to totally leave for. If you are playing with a squad, this means the whole squad must leave for you too, which is frustrating and awkward all round.
There were a few issues with the gameplay and features of the game as well which should be mentioned at this point. The first is a problem with a feature, which is that our group felt that some classes had been the victims of gender stereotypes. Whilst the vast majority of male characters were heavily armoured, one of the female classes for example was pictured wearing flared jeans instead. We weren’t sure what to make of this, and although it won’t have been done on purpose, some people might take offence to this. More specifically to gameplay, a big issue is that you are not made to do the objectives. If you kill the entirety of the other team, you win. It would seem to make more sense, at least from the attacking perspective, that you had to defuse a bomb even if you do this. That way if you kill the last member of the defending team, you may still lose if a bomb goes off, which is essentially the point of the mission. Riot shields were the other major gripe, needing a serious nerf before the main game.
All of that being said about the beta, the thing that I have mentioned about the game is how it looked. It looked amazing, from the dust, to the smoke, to the shrapnel and the action itself. Everything has been carefully constructed to compliment the destructive gameplay and action. As a ground-up development, Ubisoft deserve praise for this. The sounds of the game are also spot on, and are a massive part of the gameplay too. Siege challenges you to use all of your senses in order to succeed, and knowing where and enemy is coming from is very often dependent upon you hearing them in the building. Ubisoft have nailed this experience, so kudos once again to them.
A relatively mixed experience, the Rainbow Six Siege beta has shown us that there is some amazing gameplay on the way to look forward to, but also that there are issues which need to be overcome in the mean time. The most pressing matters for Ubisoft to look into are why they had some many issues in matchmaking. These need to be fixed if the game is going to sell and indeed maintain its community. On top of this, they need to convince that community to interact with one another, and to actually attempt to complete the objectives set out for them. A few other opportunities to perfect the game here and there and it has massive potential on top of its already exciting offering. If the development team can expel the uncertainty, this game will be a winner!