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Rainbow Six Siege is aimed at recreating the feeling and realities of a SWAT Operator – and it does it well. Unlike most shooters that reward the faced paced run-in-guns-blazing, the game (a lot like reality) focuses on slow methodical tactics. As the SWAT saying goes “Slow is Smooth, and Smooth is Fast.” One missed corner can be the difference between life and death, win and lose.
Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast
The game itself relies heavily on team work and constant communication, just like a real SWAT team. Every match involves a healthy dose of tactics and improvisation. Every breach is tense due to the unknown on what’s waiting behind the wall or door. Every situation becomes unique, and every player on the team counts as each death can be the difference between mission success and failure.
The matches do not have “respawns”; when you’re dead – that’s it. This also increases the stakes for the player – albeit to lesser degree to the realities of an real-life operator.
The shooting mechanics also focus on realism: guns recoil like they’re real guns. Also, the ability to peak around a corner and lean at any moment prove useful to keep a low profile while checking corners. The characters, with their tactical gear and equipment, feel a bit clumsy – a bit human. When bullets start flying you can hear your operator breath harder as their heart rate goes up.
Also, the aiming mechanics make for hip shooting fairly impractical. It always annoys me when a game makes hip firing an alternative to aiming. In Rainbow Six Siege, hip shooting is a last resort. The game wants you to keep your sights up as move about. And running around with your gun down is a sure fire way to miss your target and pay the ultimate price.
There is also the aspect of “Cover vs. Concealment”. Just like in life, drywall does not stop bullets, but concrete does. In the case of fire fights, you must have a keen situation awareness of even the materials that surround you. Once the bullets fly, the corner you hide behind will soon reveal if it is simple a “concealment” or indeed “cover” with it’s ability (or lack there of) to stop rounds coming at you.
Just as their are visual ques, the sound design also plays a role as you listen for enemies move around the environment. Running makes for clunky steps – signaling your location. Just like aiming, the game rewards stealthy methodical smooth movement as you attempt to win the objective.
While playing the game, I couldn’t help but hear my (very limited) SWAT training from both my Sensei and Covered 6 in Simi Valley: “Slice the pie. Check corners. Quick peak. Know cover vs. concealment.” And while some of the early missions are more forgiving – especially on normal – the more complex the mission and better the adversary, the more punishment you will receive for making a mistake.
Unlike the recent release of Star Wars Battlefront, this is not your casual shooter experience. While fun, Rainbow Six Siege expects you to move and think like a true Operator on a team rather than Rambo charging in and killing everything. The game requires discipline and focus to achieve success.
While not a perfect recreation of the experience, Rainbow Six Siege does the best job so far of any video game in bringing the complexity and stakes of SWAT Operators. If you want to get a taste of what it’s like to face unknown and breach a room, then you should give Rainbow Six Siege a try.