Rainbow Six: Siege: Played at E3 2014

By Steven Wong, Jun 13, 2014 12:00pm PDT

Ubisoft blew the audience away with the surprise announcement that a new Rainbox Six game was on the way. Rainbow Six: Siege, which has been in development since 2013, puts an emphasis on multiplayer. Two teams of five square off against each other in intense, indoor, tactical combat. Past Rainbow Six games have always separated the teams with walls. Siege expands that wall into a stronghold, and the teams must fight to control it. The defending team (aka The Enemies) must fortify the building and hold their position with everything that they have. At the same time, the Rainbow Six team has to observe, plan, and breach to take control away from the defenders.

However, the wall that separates them can be broken. Siege introduces environmental destruction for the first time in the series, and it opens up all new level of strategy and gameplay. Many of the house's interior walls can be destroyed by shotguns or explosives. Invaders can make their own entryways and exits, while defenders can purposefully blast a hole in a wall to create a firing position.

The playable demo uses the same hostage rescue scenario as the one seen at the Ubisoft pre-E3 press conference. Defenders must keep the hostage in the house, while the Rainbow Six team has to escort her out. Each team currently uses to three classes, which some overlap between the teams. For example, both sides have a class that employs a heavy, bulletproof shield, but while the Assault side can carry it around (limiting the player to using only a pistol), defenders have to plant theirs at key locations. Defenders also have a trapper class, which throws down barbed wire and other fun toys to impede the opposing side. Meanwhile, the Rainbow Six team has the Assault class, who carries a pack full of explosive charges to blast open entryways through walls.

Each game is made up of three rounds, and starts with a setup period. Defenders run around the house fortifying walls, laying down traps, and closing off entryways like windows and doorways. At the same time, the Rainbow Six team uses small drones to observe the house, find the hostage, and get a good look at how the enemy fortifications are set up. What sets Rainbow Six apart from other shooters is that it's as much a match of wits and strategy as it is about gun play.

The setup period ends and the match officially starts. The Rainbow Six team has to figure out the best point of entry, which could be almost anywhere, since the team can climb up the side of the building using grappling hooks. I played the first round as a Defender and immediately set to setting up fortifications and tossed down an explosive. Gear includes wooden barriers for windows and doorways along with wall reinforcements so that sections cannot be destroyed. I didn't really know what I was doing, but experienced players that really know the map could set up a defense that forces the Assaulting team to walk into a trap.

The intensity ramps up as soon as the house is breached, and some players have a tendency to panic. A teammate accidentally (I hope) killed me while I was taking cover behind a shield. But that enabled me to watch the battle through the house's security cameras. Each round a battle against the clock and each other. The RB6 team has to get the hostage out of the house before the timer runs out, so if the Defenders can't hold out and keep control of the hostage, they can try to outlast their enemy and keep them from leaving the house.

Matches move very quickly. Once the bullets started fly, members from both of our teams started to drop. It eventually came down to one remaining defender against the RB6 team, shooting across a hallway. My teammate shot the explosive that I had thrown down earlier, almost by accident, which blew away the enemy and won the match for us. It's not difficult to imagine that the action would be even more intense between two experienced teams.

Playing Rainbow Six: Siege is as much about outsmarting your opponents as gunning them down. Yet, at the same time, the fully embodies how the best laid plans have an expiration of about one second after you begin executing it. Players have to coordinate, communicate, and work together during these matches. Then they have to think fast when the shooting starts. Even when all of that isn't enough, sometimes a stroke of luck is all it takes to take victory.

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