Rainbow Six has been around for as long as anybody can remember (that is to say, since 1998). Once a highly tactical anti-terrorist shooter renowned for its intricate planning stages and one-bullet-kills realism, subsequent releases saw the series gradually descend into a homogenised guff of squad-based, noisy gung-ho action blandness.
Rainbow Six Siege bravely shifts gears back to the intelligent and methodical strategy game of old. Now an almost entirely online-focused multiplayer siege-sim, it has you taking on missions to defuse bombs, rescue hostages and murder bad terrorist men using an array of different operators, each armed with their own skills and weapons.
Communication and careful preparation is critical, to the extent that it’s tough to get a decent game going with internet strangers, who are by and large terrible people. Levels are partially destructable – you can breach holes in drywall or blast through ceilings to get the jump on enemies – so agreeing on the wheres and hows of a hostage rescue precludes the sort of lone wolfery seen in other shooters.
New operators can be unlocked by earning in-game points, but the option to pay real cash for these upgrades (especially when the base game is a full-price retail release) whiffs of the worst kind of micro-transaction cynicism. Look past that, and you’ll find a surprisingly intelligent online shooter with huge potential.