For a game that’s nearly two years old, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege has not merely endured, but has thrived in a ‘first-person shooter’ (FPS) market traditionally dominated by Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Halo, among others. Of course, such franchises continue to overshadow Rainbow Six: Siege, but I would vehemently assert that this undervalued (though increasingly popular) tactical shooter constitutes a refreshing divergence from the predictable FPS commercial narrative. Indeed, many gamers have become tired with Call of Duty and Halo, which while popular, have perhaps involuntarily relinquished the spark that originally propelled such franchises to fame. To clarify, I do not dislike these games – on the contrary, I am an enthusiastic Battlefield fan, and I’m resolutely committed to Halo, and I do miss Call of Duty 4 quite a bit. However, I would suggest that the newest Rainbow Six instalment offers a qualitatively superior experience in many respects. Of course, while all FPS games, these are nonetheless different in a myriad of significant ways, and thus one may argue quite correctly that it is difficult to meaningfully compare them. Indeed, my objective in this brief disquisition is not to claim that Rainbow Six: Siege is better, but rather, to suggest that it is an overlooked game which perhaps best grasps the core of what a tactical shooter should be.
Predictably, as any committed gamer will know, any meaningful conclusions concerning the comparison of games are profoundly elusive – because these franchises often polarize and factionalize the gaming community. Halo came (almost) first, and paved the way for a remarkable trend in videogaming. It was always story-centric, and perhaps was the most refined and well-polished of the big FPS series. Battlefield revolutionized the scale and realism of the FPS realm, and invariably trumped popular rivals in terms of immersive large-scale realism. And Call of Duty, well, I’m not sure what they did, but I’m sure they did something! I loved Call of Duty 4 and Call of Duty: World at War, and I even stuck around until Call of Duty: Black Ops, but as the majority of gamers these days seem to have concluded, the franchise has become stale. Perhaps the upcoming Call of Duty: World War Two will correct that…
So what does Rainbow Six: Siege offer? Well, as a series, Rainbow Six has always been more tactical, realistic, and smaller scale than its larger rivals. The latest instalment, which is two years old this December, is probably the most popular of the series so far, yet has remained comparably overlooked. I would argue that within the current FPS arena, Rainbow Six: Siege boasts a number of advantages. Firstly, it is a tense, squad-based tactical shooter revolving around a round-based dynamic of various objectives (e.g. hostage extraction, bomb defusal etc.). Secondly, the damage output and health of players, along with player movement speed, is far more realistic than what one can expect playing normal (non-hardcore) modes of Battlefield or Call of Duty. The 5v5 setup, small intimate maps, brief rounds, and tactical realism cumulatively make the game an outstanding contribution to the FPS market. Furthermore, this tactical architecture seamlessly demands team-based gameplay, which bolsters immersion and makes it a more rewarding experience.
In conclusion, it seems that Rainbow Six: Siege remains somewhat undervalued within the gaming community, but I assure you it is a remarkably fun addition to the FPS market and certainly worth a try – hence why nearly two years after release, I thought it necessary to remind you!