Review: Rainbow Six Siege Closed Beta

imageOver the past few days, I’ve been playing the Rainbow Six Siege Closed Beta, and while there are some enjoyable aspects to the game, the recently announced lack of a single-player campaign and lack of polish haven’t sold me on the $60 price tag.

But wait! you might cry, it’s only a Beta, you can’t expect polish on a Beta. True, the whole point of a Beta is to find out what needs to be polished in the scant 3 months before the game releases (on Dec. 1). However, what I’m referring to is the graphics quality and the frame rate; things that take a bit longer to fix than a few bugs (and there were a few). It was reported that the Xbox One was running the game at 900p while the PS4 was running it at 1080p. Well, I was playing it on the Xbox One, and the visuals certainly did not impress for a next-gen title.

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imageThe screenshots from my play experience show a lack of refinement and smoothness to the visuals, including some rough-looking textures and graphics that look more on-par with an Xbox 360 game. But, graphics are just one part of a game’s appeal.

During the Beta, players could choose from 3 different game types: Multiplayer TDM – Bomb, Multiplayer TDM – Secure Area, and Terrorist Hunt. Out of the 10 times I attempted to join a multiplayer match over my four days (about 12 hours total) of play time, I was only able to join in twice; a 20% success rate. Terrorist Hunt, because of its PvE nature, where a team of 5 “Operators” takes on AI Terrorists, proved much easier to get in to. I had about an 80% success rate entering those matches and spent my time playing on the Normal and Hard difficulties.

The two times I made it into multiplayer I joined an in-progress game of TDM -Bomb and started a game of TDM – Secure Area. These modes feature 5v5 matches until a best of 5 winner is determined, each team alternating between attackers and defenders. Because I joined an in-progress game of Bomb, I never quite got the hang of the mode. Attackers must disable one of two bombs, while the defenders try to prevent this. However, what the game did not mention was that there was, in fact, two bombs. As a defender, your team spawns around one of the bombs and there’s no indicator as to where you supposedly planted the other bomb, and so my team quickly lost because we had no idea there was a second bomb we were also supposed to defend. Conversely, when attacking, it wasn’t clear how you were supposed to disable one of the bombs and I had to let one of my more experienced teammates take the lead.

In Secure Area, I fared better because I was able to start the match from Round 1, which gave me time to understand what was happening (there was no opening cinematic or explanation as to what you were supposed to do). This game type boiled down to one team killing the other (or the defending team could also hold off until time ran out).

Because of the challenges getting into Multiplayer (almost always attributed to “Server Error”), I spent most of the time playing Terrorist Hunt. In this mode, you could play as a lone wolf and solo a mission, or play on a team of 5 against AI Terrorists. The Beta featured three locations (for all game types): Hereford Base, House, and Consulate. The Base was a rather generic and nondescript military base of some kind, while the House and Consulate proved more varied and entertaining. I played with randomly-matched players, with the typical amount of success: sometimes you get a good team, other times…not so much.

During the course of play, I was able to unlock all Attacker Operators (i.e. offensive characters) and one Defender Operator – since you can use Attackers in any mode but only use Defenders in multiplayer. Each Operator had a unique item special to them (such as a thermite charge or breaching hammer) and came with a few different weapon load-out options. After playing with each Attacker multiple times, I found I enjoyed 4 of the 7 Attacker Operators, while the one Defender I unlocked proved just okay. The riot shield, pistol combinations of Montagne, Blitz, and Fuze proved to be my favorite, with an overall toss-up between Blitz and Fuse. I also enjoyed Sledge (with his breaching hammer and shotgun) and IQ (with her speed and mid-range rifles). Each map lent itself best to a particular Operator, which provided a nice variance. Although the game’s gimmick of breaching buildings or fortifying them was interesting, there weren’t enough options to really make it stand out.

As with any Beta, however, there were glitches, bugs, and server errors. I received countless “Server Error” messages that kicked me back to the main menu, 3 game crashes (that sent me back to my Xbox One dashboard), multiple endless load errors that forced me to quit the game and relaunch due to the fact the match or menu would never load, and being kicked from matches multiple times because the game randomly assigned one player as the game Host (which gave them the power to screw everyone else over if they left, as the game automatically kicked the entire team back to the main menu when the randomly-assigned host left).

Glitches are to be expected though, and the game did provide some fun moments: being the top-performing player on your team, bursting into a room and surprising three Terrorists before they could even react, eking out a close Terrorist Hunt match on Hard, or having fun with some of the Operator’s unique gadgets. However, the fun moments could not make up for the concern that, as an Ubisoft game, and with the lack of a single-player campaign that normally comes with a Tom Clancy game, Rainbow Six Siege just doesn’t offer enough content or polish to warrant a $60 price tag. $40? Sure. $60? Not this time.


Quick Recap

Game: Rainbow Six Siege Closed Beta

Platform: Xbox One

Play Time: 4 days or about 12 hours

Pros:

  • Unique Operator skills can be entertaining
  • Getting a good, evenly-skilled team is a tactical pleasure
  • Terrorist Hunt has a solo and team mode
  • Terrorist Hunt works well and provides new challenges each time
  • Numerous Operators to unlock and weapons to customize
  • Gaining Renown (used to unlock Operators and weapon items) doesn’t take too terribly long to get

Cons:

  • Repetitive
  • Server Issues
  • Random player assigned as Host kicks everyone from game when they leave
  • Unclear instructions on TDM – Bomb and lack of Bomb markers when playing as Defenders
  • Unclear instructions on TDM – Secure Area and is a standard “kill the other team” game type
  • Glitches, loading issues, crashes, bugs
  • Lack of single-player campaign
  • Multi-player only focus causes worries about lack of content

Would I buy for $60 on launch-day? No

How much would I spend on it? No more than $40

Overall Grade: 6.5/10


 

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