I don’t think any multiplayer game has sunk its hooks into me quite like Rainbow Six Siege. Even when I take a break, it invariably drags me back and I always wonder why I stepped away from the thigh-twitching intensity and constant adrenaline rush within just a few matches. There’s nothing else that has quite replicated the sensation for me this generation, or maybe ever, and I’m only aggressively average at it, too.
The battle royale craze took up a lot of my spare time in 2018 and into early 2019, Fortnite’s dominion over me waning when I discovered that players were taking it very seriously indeed and the opportunity to just mess around was disappearing. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced a multiplayer game leaving you behind skill-wise, but those who have will know that it’s not a nice feeling. I simply couldn’t compete with the cracked-out kids who lived and breathed the game.
Then Apex Legends came along, a seriously concentrated burst of addiction that saw me playing far too much a day and then suddenly just none at all — it was like a switch had just been flipped. Maybe it was the lack of updates or the familiarity within a short space of time, but Apex Legends was like a super strong sugar rush that left me feeling jaded by the comedown. I’ve dipped my toe in semi-regularly over the past few months, though the attachment isn’t quite the same.
Siege, on the other hand, now has me as enthralled as the day I bought it, running around maps and randomly hitting things to see if I could make a hole in them. I’m pretty sure that I am much, much worse worse than before, yet I find myself compelled to keep trying, to learn from my mistakes and understand that, hey, maybe I should give up trying to be any good with Amaru and her Spider-Man ways.
A lot has changed since I checked in last, which was in the middle of Year 3. I wasn’t massively fond of the maps if I remember correctly, and I also had my weekly dab quota to hit in Fortnite so I didn’t stick around for much of it. We’re in Year 4 now and it feels fresh to me again, partly because a lot of the maps I knew and loved have been rotated out temporarily to make way for the new hotness. Siege is a game you need to constantly keep learning.
There’s also the new Operators to consider, which nearly pushed me away from the game due to their sheer wackiness a few years back. I was even a little perplexed by the likes of Capitão and Caveira way back when, though I now proudly own a chibi of the latter because spook bitch is the best. I now see that Siege isn’t really that realistic at all and has embraced its goofy side for the better. When your game has been going for nearly four years with constant updates, you have to get a little wild.
There are some new Operators that are underwhelming to say the least, however. Warden, Nokk, and Kaid are rather bland and situational to me, them coming across more as picks for competitive than casual fun. I don’t think any of the Operators introduced over the last year or so have been that broadly embraced by the community, and some of them are even routinely banned during Ranked picks.
The changes to Ranked have been some of the smartest Ubisoft have ever implemented to the game. Players can now ban two defenders and attackers at the start of a match, which means less chance for people to complain about the balance; Lion and Finka are still a little much, it must be said. Lesion, the cheapest Operator there is, is almost always outlawed, as is at least one shield Operator. This system promotes flexibility across all Operators so that you don’t become dependent on one, and it’s a nice way of negating some of the complaints. More multiplayer games should implement what Ubisoft have done here.
The technical side of Siege always used to let it down, but now it seems that Ubisoft have shored things up — for the most part. I’ve not personally experienced a DDoS attack, and it looks like I might never as Ubisoft are taking serious action against perpetrators. Matches are now quicker than ever to get into, imbuing the game with that “just one more match” appeal that battle royales have perfected.
Another small but really appreciated change is how Ubisoft have “fixed” the trophies and achievement to make them far less grind orientated. The boring Terrorist Hunt and Situations trophies have been replaced with much better alternatives — I now just need to win four flawless Ranked matches and the Platinum is finally, finally mine. That’s easier said then done, though, as I am butt.
There’s just one thing holding me back from playing Siege more than I already am: cross-platform progression. I didn’t have anything even remotely resembling a gaming PC when Siege released, so about four years of progress is tied to my PlayStation 4. I’d love to now be able to switch to PC for the “true” experience, but the long grind of unlocking everything will have to be started again if I made the leap. I even tried to get a friend into Siege, but with them favouring PC and me more or less moored on PS4 and unwilling to start over, Ubisoft essentially just lost a new customer.
That said, even the clunkiness of prodding sticks to hold a tight angle hasn’t stopped me from falling head over heels in love with Siege all over again. Comparisons to CS are still fairly commonplace, yet there’s ultimately nothing out there quite like it. If you want a very average player to occasionally get a lucky ace, I’m your guy.