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Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege is a competent addition to the Rainbow Six series, boasting some rather enjoyable new features not seen in the game’s precursors. The familiar mechanics, genuinely entertaining multiplayer, and array of class choices keeps Rainbow Six Siege afloat in a sea of current generation first-person shooter titles.

While Rainbow Six Siege is still in its alpha stages and there is an obvious chunk of game missing, the first-person shooter still manages to impress. As the spiritual successor to the cancelled titled Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6: Patriots, this new game brings back what fans love about the series; action, team-based matches, and realism.

Playing as a team and feel useful

Players have the choice of ten “operatives” or classes, separated by Attackers and Defenders. Each operative has their own unique abilities, weaponry, and personality. On the side of the Attackers, players may choose from hammer-wielding, brute force operative Sledge or the less up-close-and-personal approach of Ash. Thermite does as his name suggests and breaks down thick barricades with his thermite breach. Thatcher can take down the opposing team’s electronic devices with EMP grenades and Twitch can release her damage-dealing, trap-disabling drone to support the team.

The Defenders roster consists of Castle, Smoke, Pulse, Rook, and Mute. Castle carries kevlar barriers which can be taken down by most operatives with three hits, though it takes the Attackers Sledge only two. Smoke’s name is fairly self-explanatory, as he drops gas to deal damage to anyone in the area. Pulse has a handy heart monitor, allowing him to see not only his own teammates but the opposing force’s as well. Rook is a support character who carries a box of armor, which he can place down at any time for his teammates to use.

Both teams also have the option of choosing a Recruit who can be customized, but has no unique abilities or weapons. While each operative is helpful in their own right, none of the classes feel overpowered as their is a combative ability on the opposing team for each ability you use. While Thermite’s breach is a huge help to gain ground in enemy territory, Mute’s jammer can stop him from detonating. Pulse’s heart monitor may give him a leg up, but Thatcher’s grenades have the power to render it useless. Overall, I found the class system to be not only unique, but incredibly entertaining. Each role serves an important purpose, and so a player never feels like there’s nothing they can do to help their teammates.

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These tools give the feeling of  true high-stakes

The alpha allowed players to traverse through two maps entitled “House” and “Presidential Plane”. Both maps were small and still incomplete in their alpha stages, evident by the many missing textures. The goal of each map was to decide the fate of a hostage. In relatively short 3 minute 5-on-5 rounds, teams would either be charged with the duty of holding the hostage as the Defenders or attempting to save them as the Attackers. Those holding the hostage had the opportunity to utilize barricades and barbed wire to keep the opposing forces away, while the other team had to infiltrate the hideout. Siege chose to include features such as grappling hooks to scale the sides of buildings and small explosives to blow holes through the semi-destructible environment. These tools give the feeling of a true high-stakes stealth mission as you and your teammates climb to the roof of a house or drop from the ceiling onto unsuspecting enemy heads. The most intriguing feature, however, came in the form of the tiny RC car which players on the Attackers side could control before the beginning of the match. The goal of the car is to access the enemy base and find the hostage. If a player succeeds within the allotted 40 second time limit without being destroyed, an objective marker will appear to mark the hostage’s location. It is a smart feature to add which gives a sense of urgency to those first few precious seconds.

While being an Attacker was always filled with excitement, those playing as Defenders often had no choice but to camp out and wait for the arrival of their enemy. Though the heavy rumbling of the barricades and sounds of explosives from above were daunting, I found myself bored with the notion of waiting around, hovering over the hostage until action came to us.

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Rainbow Six Siege cannot be faulted for being familiar

Rainbow Six Siege’s alpha is not necessarily graphically impressive, especially when compared to other current generation games. While the character models and intractable items are relatively high-resolution, it is obvious that miscellaneous objects around the map have been ignored in terms of the look of their model. On top of which, not all of the environment is destructible, as bullets and explosives can hit many walls and floors without so much as a scratch. A particularly disappointing and immersion-breaking moment occurred when I discovered that the windshield of a truck parked outside the Presidential Plane didn’t shatter when a full clip was unloaded onto it. However, when Siege does destruction, it does it right. hatches, doors, certain windows and barricades can all be torn down through melee attacks, bombs, or bullets, and it is certainly satisfying to watch the debris fly. Taking out one or two wooden boards from a barricade can even be used as an excellent point to snipe your enemies.

While the immersion may often be broken, Rainbow Six Siege cannot be faulted for it’s familiarity. Playing with a keyboard and mouse felt responsive and simple, giving players only a few buttons to memorize and master. Scaling the house with a grappling hook is as easy as pressing and holding space, though fall damage is extremely unforgiving. Hit boxes on enemies also seem to be relatively large, lending itself to the inaccuracy of many of the weapon choices.

For a game that’s part of a series which claims to be realistic, a lot of these factors seem to point in the opposite direction. As a whole, Rainbow Six Siege’s Alpha is an entertaining experience fitting the expectations of a first-person shooter title. It stands out through its clever class system and admittedly fun hostage-scenario multiplayer matches. While being a Defender of the hostage can often feel like camping and the immersion-breaking semi-destructible environment needs some work, Rainbow Six Siege is an excellent game worthy of the Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six series title.

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