E3 2014: The Real Return Of Rainbow Six?

It seems Ubisoft has gotten used to having “stingers” at the ends of its E3 press conferences. This year’s looks extremely promising… to a specific subset of shooter fans, and that’s if what we saw wasn’t heavily scripted.

Watch_Dogs at E3 2012 and The Division in 2013 impressed mainly with their graphics, but Rainbow Six Siege this week looks interesting because it almost looks like a return to real tactical shooters. I’m just wondering how many people that will actually interest in this day and age.

In a few posts a while ago I, like many old school fans of Tom Clancy games, lamented the disappearance of tactical shooters that actually let players plan and execute missions. The recent Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six games have been typical, linear shooters with some friendly AI command controls thrown in. Siege looks like a return to the thoughtful, slow-paced, and lethal games of old if you actually pay attention to what’s going on in that demonstration.

The first thing the Siege video showed was the return of a long-missing feature in Tom Clancy shooters — the planning phase. The second major feature that’s apparent here is the absence of any respawn. That by itself changes the way players approach the game because they don’t want to die — they start actually trying to use tactics instead of just upping their kill count. The games Siege reminds me the most of are SWAT 4 and Rainbow Six: Raven Shield.

And because this whole demo was multiplayer, it looks like the kind of multiplayer I’ve wanted to see for a while in tactical shooters. I always wondered why no one tried to make a multiplayer mode where each team takes a minute to draw up a game plan against the other. I have to give it to Ubisoft for believing some players might like that slow, cerebral element instead of just spawning right into the zone.

Maybe Ubisoft has a little faith in this because it was willing to bring back Splinter Cell’s multiplayer last year. Maybe the company hopes Siege can stand out from the typical Call of Duty-inspired games in a way similar to Evolve.

Overall, I have a feeling this won’t be a complete return to the hardcore level of realism of, say, Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear. It looks like Siege might be somewhere in-between today’s accessible shooters and the tactical simulations of the past, which I might actually like better. I’ve always wanted to play a shooter with the options and freedom of a tactical simulation but also the comfort of today’s shooters.

The press release for Siege confirms it will have a singleplayer campaign but at this stage it’s a complete unknown. Will it have the same kinds of open-ended maps as the multiplayer with the resurrected planning phase? Will you command AI teammnates? These things are at least as interesting as the multiplayer concepts.

There’s just the question of how much of the Siege demo was even real. Some people are burned on Watch_Dogs because the final game doesn’t look quite as beautiful as the 2012 demo. Far Cry 3 has received similar criticisms, so there’s already skepticism surrounding Siege.

The graphics and gameplay concepts in the Siege demo look completely within the grasp of the PS4 and Xbox One. It’s just that the actions of the players, as well as the voice chat, were probably heavily scripted. I have faith the final game will look like the demo we just saw, but real people probably won’t play it like that.

BULLETS:

  • Nice logo for the game by the way: http://t.co/N4fHxOsL3w
  • A lot of the E3 live demos have ended with a cinematic shot taking over.
  • I hope Assassin’s Creed Unity can actually deliver on the word “Systemic” Ubisoft dropped at its conference.
  • Disappointed at the total lack of actual Far Cry 4 gameplay so far.
  • A smaller overlooked E3 announcement: Hotline Miami 2 will feature a level editor.
  • If anybody is interested in that game Cuphead from Microsoft’s indie games reel, there’s more info here: http://t.co/LdD4QzMosl
  • The guy who made Gunpoint just released a free game. http://t.co/Cj4KuPePJe
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