We’ve been playing a lot of Call of Duty lately – as in we’re marking our progress by weapons we’ve got gold on rather than levels – and we’ve come across a lot of campers. Not your happy-go-lucky boy scout types, people who are so concerned about their K/D ratio that they would prefer to ignore objectives and sit in a corner shooting you as you run past rather than putting themselves at any kind of risk. Call of Duty has gone to great lengths to help these campers, from trophy systems to block grenades all the way up to perks and weapon attachments that make them silent or not appear on your minimap (although that has been fixed a little with the newest incarnation of Ghost). Rainbow Six has made a whole game mode out of camping, then challenged you to find as many creative ways to destroy them as you can.
Imagine there is someone hiding behind a metal barricade in the corner of a room. He has sight lines to the two entrances to the room and is guarding something you need. Not a good situation right? Wrong. If you know where he is (made possible by use of remote control security drones that everybody starts with each mission) you’ve got a whole wealth of options. Why not stick a device to the wall that pumps three grenades into the room, killing him instantly? Why not shoot a single hole in that window giving you line of sight to shoot him in the back of the head? Why not sit the other side of a wall he’s resting on until you hear him reload and can pinpoint exactly where he is, before filling the wall, and the camper with lead? Why not place a breaching charge on the floor above him and drop down behind him or shoot him from above? Why not drive a little remote control drone around that can shock him? Why not tear through the wall with a hammer shouting ‘Hulk Smash’ before flattening him? All of these things are not only possible in Siege, but common.
Siege is a team-based first person shooter but with so many differences it barely belongs in the same genre as the games you’re used to. There are two main modes. One is co-op vs the AI, in this you rotate between objectives, sometimes having to rescue a hostage, sometimes disarming a bomb, sometimes simply killing all the terrorists. This final mode is the most interesting; in the others you come up against unlimited waves of enemies who seem to spawn all over the place, so any kind of plan is essentially impossible. With Terrorist Hunt you can create a place of attack with your squad then execute it, clearing the floors from the top to the bottom until there’s no-one left. If everyone has a mic and is taking part it’s a huge amount of fun.
The other mode is the multiplayer. In this one team of players is set up against another over a series of rounds, first to three wins.. The objectives vary on the same themes, disarm a bomb or rescue a hostage, and there’s only a small handful of maps to pick from (with more coming as promised free DLC so the player base isn’t split up). The games are intense because the maps are so small – these aren’t your standard three-lane maps, they’re realistic buildings with dense rooms and a plethora of ways to move between them. At the start of each round the defenders have a few seconds to set up barricades and traps while the attackers command a fleet of little drones to hunt down the objectives. It’s a frantic race against time and there’s so much strategy to think of it’s often chaotic in the first round. By the time it gets to a fifth round or so everyone knows what their job is and it’s an impressive sight having a team of randoms all working together. After the set up phase the defenders have tense moments while they wait to see where the attackers will come from. They can use cameras on the buildings, but these can be shot, they can use heartbeat sensors but they only work for about a foot or so to show you who’s on the other side of a wall. It’s the calm before the storm and as soon as contact is made there’s a frantic gunfight and whoever survives wins.
Rainbow Six Siege isn’t what a lot of people were expecting but it’s hard to deny that it’s one of the most innovative and compelling shooters in a long while. There is very little content currently and there have been many bugs on the PC side -including as brilliant one that locks voice chat to on – but you can easily get your money’s worth if you’ve got a group of friends to play with.