When Rainbow Six: Siege first walked this earth in the sweet summer days of June 2016, it was a vastly different game. It was a stuffy, incohesive departure from the Rainbow Six series but was also a dated relic compared to more modern shooters at the time. As a result, it was goldilocks-ed out of a lot of people’s ever-changing taste in multiplayer shooters—not as fun and light as Overwatch but also not as straight-laced and uniform as CS:GO.
However, with the constant improvements to its unique and dynamic gameplay, a solid content and support stream, and an ever-expanding fanbase an argument can be made that Rainbow Six: Siege may be the best shooter in the market today–possibly of all time.
My gaming brothers and sisters, I am here before you today to make that argument. Allow me a few moments as I talk to you about our lord and savior Rainbow Six: Siege.
At its very core, Siege is a tactical military shooter. You play as elite military operators with a whole plethora of guns, gadgets, and devices that all feel unique and satisfying to use. It’s also less forgiving than other shooters as friendly fire is in effect at all times, headshot instantly kills and your body can’t absorb more than a few bullets before you are downed or killed. However, its refined tactical gunplay is just the tip of the iceberg.
Additionally, layered on top of its excellent feeling basics is the limitless, strategic freedom that its environmental interaction gives you. Both the attackers and defenders have the ability to destroy, change and alter the battlefield into their ideal course of action. All the maps in Siege feature destructible floors and soft walls that Operators from either side can break or shoot through to catch the opponent by surprise or create different angles of approach and flanking routes.
On top of that is the role-specific utility that each side has at their disposal. Defenders can fortify their Bomb Site in a number of different ways such as reinforcing walls to prevent being exposed from or shot through; and preparing various traps such as landmines, barbed wire, and poison needle dispensers to discourage or slow down the opponents’ push.
Attackers can use various hardbreaching devices to gain access to a fortified site; rappel up windows and rooftops to play vertically and; employ various explosive weapons to create attacking angles in soft walls or neutralize whatever traps and utilities the defenders have set up.
All this environmental interaction that’s ingrained in the gameplay allows for unlimited tactical possibilities—more so than any other shooter in the market today, maybe even ever. Players have the freedom to choose from a multitude of ways to approach a given situation: shoot through the floor to hit an enemy below, create an opening on a surface to quickly rotate between rooms, make a sneaky hole to shoot, spot enemies, and throw gadgets through and many more.
In this regard, Siege almost feels less like a traditional multiplayer FPS and more like a physics-based sandbox game. You are given the rules of the world, tools to shape and affect it, and the only limitation is your creativity. And in Siege if you do this well,―finding a tactic that is inventive, unique, or unpredictable enough, you are often rewarded. No other multiplayer shooter does this. No other multiplayer shooter puts as much emphasis on creativity and imagination to the depth and complexity that Rainbow Six: Siege does. In Siege, the player is an artist and the battlefield is their canvas.
As a byproduct of this freeform creativity is the genuine culture of learning and discovery among Siege’s players. Since death can come quickly in a lot of different ways in Siege, learning to maneuver through its risks as well as use them to your advantage is part of the fun. There’s always something new to learn while playing Siege, a new strat to employ, a new way to approach a situation, or a new vantage point to get the drop on enemies.
Even at almost 400 hours in, I’ll often get shot from a new, unexpected angle or fall victim a crazy placement of a gadget or find out an interesting interaction with gadgets and the environment that simultaneously makes you watch out for it next time but also make you go “oh, that’s cool” and try it out for yourself. There is an organic communication of information here, one that uses the language of the gameplay—win or loss, kill or death—to teach.
A microcosm of this is when me and a buddy were in a match on the map called Consulate. We carefully made our way up a flight of stairs when we both immediately get obliterated out of nowhere. Thanks to the kill cam we immediately found out that the soft wall directly above the stairs was shot out and there was an enemy Pulse lying in wait where we could barely see them. Informed by this new strat we immediately put it to use in the next round when roles changed over but while we did manage to get a kill with it, the player who initially used it on us, shot us through the window beside us to counter it.
In an exchange consisting of only gunfire, dead bodies, and shattered glass, we were able to learn a cool and interesting strategy as well as its sneaky counter play without ever saying a word to our teacher.
With its various interacting systems, coupled with player autonomy, Siege is filled with moments like this which add to the feeling of freedom, learning, and discovery every time you play the game.
In turn, outside of the game, Siege’s community on forums such as Reddit are more interested in sharing and learning cool and interesting discoveries about the game rather than gratuitous killing sprees and trickshots. When Siege players get together it feels like the old playground days where kids would talk about what they found out they could do in their favorite game, exchanging notes and testing it out for themselves when they got home. There’s a genuine environment of learning that is fueled by the freedom and malleability that the game provides.
The final point that I wanted to cover in this gospel testament to Rainbow Six Siege was how the game puts importance on the individual. With so much freedom and knowledge at their disposal, every single player, regardless of rank and skill level is in a position to help or harm their team. Each player is invited to contribute and has a role to play on the team, from side specific tasks such as reinforcing walls or taking out information utilities or character-specific tasks like hard breaching or flank watching—on top of, y’know, shooting and killing the opposing team.
This increases the impact that an individual player can have in a team. They’re not just defined by how well they can shoot but also equally as important is if they do or don’t do their tasks correctly. And because Siege is a harsh and unforgiving game, there’s a weight to that responsibility that just isn’t as apparent in other shooters.
If your tank doesn’t position themselves correctly and get their teammates killed in Overwatch, you’ll lose some ground but they’ll respawn and try again. In most Battle Royale games, having squadmates mean little more than an extra pair of guns, eyes, and ears to watch your back. In Siege, if your teammates forget to reinforce, setup the site, or bring a hard breaching device it severely hampers your ability to win. If they don’t drone out a location properly or fail to check cameras, someone will die. As such there’s a trust that’s formed between players in a team that’s not just limited to the concept of if the other player can shoot well or not—a trust that you can keep each other alive and win the game.
The reasons above that I’ve laid out before you, are the reasons why I think Rainbow Six: Siege is a shooter unlike any other. These three reasons: the emphasis on creativity, the organic learning curve, and putting power and responsibility on the individual, go far beyond Siege’s mechanical and technical brilliance. Don’t get me wrong, the immaculate gunplay, the tight balancing and the overall polish of the game is incredible—a result of the painstaking dedication of its dev team to continually make the game better — but there are plenty of other shooters out there that have that.
However, no other shooter trusts its players with the freedom to shape, alter and mold the game in any way they want; to teach and learn from other players through gameplay; and ultimately be empowered by that responsibility that the game provides to the level that Siege does.
Siege is the best first-person shooter because it’s more than just a well-made stack of ones and zeroes, it’s a unique and ever-evolving reflection of its players and no other multiplayer shooter game can say it does that.
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