I think it’s fair to say that E3 left most people with mixed feelings mostly due to the the colossal hype generated before the event that almost reached stratospheric levels. Whilst I personally wasn’t all that impressed with the general announcements made at E3, one announcement grabbed my attention by the jewels with such ferocity that I fear that I may now be infertile. Ladies and gentleman, Rainbow 6 is back. Scrotality!
Before I go into any detail why this game has tickled me so, I think it is worth at least briefly looking back to where Rainbow Six came from and who Tom Clancy is.
The man behind Rainbow Six.
Tom Clancy, in my opinion, was probably one of the greatest writers of the late 20th century. He was a master of technically detailed espionage and military science storylines. His other great works include and by no means are limited to the Hunt for the Red October, the Sum of all fears, Patriot Games and Clear and Present danger. All of these novels have either been turned into great box office movies or successful video games. His name has been associated with some fantastic games such as the Ghost Recon series, Hawx, Endwar and of course, Splinter Cell.
Rainbow 6 made it’s first appearance in 1998, releasing within the same month as the critically acclaimed book by the same name. It was developed by Red Storm Entertainment, which was founded by Tom Clancy.
For those that are unaware, Rainbow Six gets it’s name from several directions. Rainbow is a reference to U.S. strategies created in the 1930′s in response to a variety of hypothetical war scenarios. Rainbow also reflects the multinational make up of the ‘blacker-than-black’ covert ops team. Finally, Six is US military terminology for a unit commander.
As time progressed, Rainbow Six went from strength to strength until it had released over 16 games or expansions, the most recent incarnation being Rainbox Six: Vegas 2 in 2008.
Rainbow 6: Siege
Until now, the only games that successfully captured the whole concept of destructible environments were the ones in the Battlefield series (starting with Battlefield: Bad Company). However, in Rainbow 6: Siege, the destruction operates in a far more functional manner. Take a look for yourself:
From the gameplay trailer, almost every environmental asset seems destructible and this has a tremendous effect on the gameplay elements. Kicking the door down guns blazing is likely to have the result of the hostage getting clipped or slotted and most if not all the storming team being gunned down. Walls are no longer a barrier, with bullets punching holes through them like a hot knife through butter and C4 absolutely decimating windows, walls, and even floorboards. Throughout the video, we see examples of how the environment can be manipulated to suit both defenders and attackers. From the defenders point of view, it seems you have about a minute to reinforce the walls, block windows and set up traps. For the attackers, the video suggests you can use that same one minute to locate the hostage and also decide from which point to enter the property.
Flanking, overwhelming your opponents and coordinating your attacks; these are things that you just don’t see in many shooters today
Rainbow 6 finally seems to have gone back to its roots, delivering close, personal, deeper engagements of the older games but using next-gen tech and newer gameplay refinements to inject a whole new dose of realism and cinematic flair. The gunplay looks and sounds incredibly solid and teamwork seems to be an absolute necessity in this. Flanking, overwhelming your opponents and coordinating your attacks; these are things that you just don’t see in many shooters today. My mind wanders back to majesty of games such a Counter Strike and the older Rainbow Six games, when fps’ required some modicum of skill and teamwork as opposed to the more modern shooter. I doubt you will see some lone kid called xXNoSc0p3zL3etXx try to spin around with controller sensitivity set to its max setting and pressing the trigger only to let the auto-aim do all the work as the pre-pubescent screaming of his team-mates synchronise to create what can only be described as aural vomit.
If Ubisoft manage to keep all of these elements in the final polished version, then we will finally get, what I would classify as a ‘thinking man’s shooter.’ It would be a shooter I know I would get endless hours of satisfaction from. But most importantly, it would be a shooter, which I strongly believe Tom Clancy would be proud to attach his name to, were he still with us today.
Thank you Tom, for giving us Rainbow Six. Rest in peace.