I’ve certainly had my fair share of opinions about PVP shooters. Recently I wrote about and made a video discussing why PVP shooters aren’t fun anymore, and also called for veteran gamers to walk away from Call of Duty. Most of the footage and press about Rainbow Six Siege has me intrigued, but still very apprehensive. I managed to download and watch the closed alpha footage before it was taken down, and I learned a valuable lesson in uploading commentary on video game footage that a company doesn’t want to be seen. But what I also learned was that Rainbow Six Siege is going to be hard and may turn away most fans of shooters. Chris Watters at Gamespot confirmed some of my concerns about this title that has already received a good amount of hype and anticipation.
Out with the twitchy, in with the thoughtful
A common criticism of Call of Duty is that it is just a quick twitch shooter with a wash, rinse, and repeat experience where almost no thought or strategy goes into how most users approach gameplay. While I would push back on that criticism, and point out that most of the game modes require good teamwork and communication to win, I will let it stand because of how consistent the community proves it to be true. After watching the closed alpha footage and reading the Gamespot article, it became very clear to me that Rainbow Six Siege is trying to leverage something that most PVP shooter gamers reject: tactical cooperation and communication. I found the footage to be exciting, even though it was a bit slow due to some “hurry up and wait” mechanics that are basically necessary for game modes where one team gets a certain amount of time to setup their defenses and prepare for an assault. And the Gamespot article captured what I already thought: you can always do better. Obviously it’s easy to watch someone else play and point out tactical or strategy mistakes, but this game will certainly have you examining your decisions and plans of attack or defense after every game. You are going to learn hard lessons in Rainbow Six Siege, and those lessons will have time to ruminate as you helplessly watch from the sidelines after dying.
Wake me up when the next round starts
One of the main reasons I have always avoided game modes like Search & Destroy in Call of Duty is because I can’t stand sitting out and waiting. I’ve always enjoyed jumping right back into the fight, so even hardcore modes that had spawn delays grated against my desire to start shooting and making decisions again. I know I’m not in the minority here as game modes like S&D always garnered the lowest engagement while constant respawning and fighting modes like TDM always carry they lion share of the community. It is because of this that I think Rainbow Six Siege is going to turn a lot of players off and maybe even turn them away. If people buy this game hoping for lots of action and firefights, they will get that… in moderation. This could lead to day one low star reviews and complaints about load times, boring game modes, and a lack of excitement. None of this will be the game’s fault, but it could certainly be blamed on the marketing if they follow the same tired over hyped cinematic trailers that make the game look like you will be the embodiment of Bruce Willis in Die Hard combined with Rambo in First Blood as you run from room to room blasting away the bad guys. Regardless of how the marketing looks, many gamers will probably find this game too slow for their liking. I know it’s still early to make these predictions, but watch gameplay of the most recent Call of Duty and Battlefield titles, it’s all shrunk down and fast paced. These are big and influential titles that have set many shooter fans expectations in a way that is unhealthy for game modes or titles that ask players to slow down and work together.
Adapt or die
I’ve charged game companies with the mindset to “adapt or die” in the past, but this time I’m talking to gamers. I avoid certain games because I know I won’t enjoy them or be able to have the patience to improve enough to be proficient. But if I were to suddenly decide that I really wanted to get good at Madden, I couldn’t blame the game because of my lack of ability or impatience. If you buy Rainbow Six Siege, try to ignore the hype and the commercials, because this isn’t going to be Call of Duty. So don’t run out and buy this game day one if you’re just going to cry about dying too much or whine that the gameplay is too slow. Sure, the game may launch and have significant problems or deserve actual criticism. But let’s get beyond game reviews that are just unrealistic expectations that are unmet, and really give games a fair shake. Call of Duty and Battlefield have primed the pump for fans of shooters to be quick to criticize, so let’s all try to give a new game with a different approach to a shooter a fair chance.
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