"Okay, so uh, let go of the button and you'll place a breaching charge." I dutifully do what I'm told by the watching-over-my-shoulder developer, lurking during my E3 hands-on with Rainbox Six: Siege. The breaching charge takes about five seconds to affix — an eternity as I hang from a grappling hook on the side of the house, completely exposed.
Finally it's in place, though, and I hear the developer pipe up again. "Yeah, so I'd recommend climbing down a little bit to get away from the charge." I do so. "Okay, that should be good," he says.
I trigger the charge and the entire side of the building erupts into fire and splinters. I've blown the entire bedroom wall off with a ferocity that startles even me. There's a pause as both sides admire the destruction, and then the guns go off.
Rainbow Six lives. It's been six years since the last entry, Rainbow Six: Vegas 2, and you'd be forgiven for thinking the franchise was dead.
But woe unto the unfaithful, Ubisoft has resurrected the series with Rainbow Six: Siege — kind of. How picky are you about names? Did you get upset when EA started slapping the BioWare logo on every damn studio in existence? How about when you played Super Mario Bros 2 and realized it played nothing like a Mario game? What about Battlefield: Hardline's weird tangent into a realm of militarized cops and robbers?
Okay, so Rainbow Six: Siege would be more appropriately titled "That successor to SWAT 4 you never received because Irrational went on to make BioShock and Sierra just sort of died." But that's not a very catchy name, and Ubisoft doesn't own the rights to SWAT, so instead you get Rainbow Six: Siege.
Try to contain your rage. Siege doesn't always play like a Rainbow Six game, but you're going to have to get over that. Why? Because this is one of the best multiplayer experiences I've had in a long time.
Siege eschews the enormous, convoluted environments of old Rainbow Six games for something more concentrated and claustrophobic. We played on the same demo map as the initial reveal trailer — a small house in the suburbs. Terrorists have hidden a hostage inside the house, and it's up to the counter-terrorists outside to either take out all the baddies or save the hostage.
There are two stages to each round: planning and action. In the planning stage, the defenders are out to barricade the house. Each defender is equipped with tools to reinforce walls, barricade doors, and windows, and throw barbed wire around the house. Attackers in this stage take on the form of small, cockroach-like drones that roam around the house, spying on the defender's plans and trying to spot the hostage. If the attackers spot the hostage they'll enter the action phase with a marker showing where the hostage is, saving time during the assault. Of course, defenders can also destroy the drones if spotted, blinding the attackers.
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