Realistic mode FTW.
The destruction-happy Rainbow Six Siege blew us away at its E3 2014 debut, and then continued to impress (mostly) when we got hands-on time with its closed alpha earlier this year. But I know the nagging thought in the back of your mind: you were worried that Rainbow’s reboot would pull an Evolve, i.e. packing great gameplay but with no proper single-player campaign and a bit skimpy on content.
Fortunately, the E3 2015 reveal of the fan-favorite Terrorist Hunt mode in Siege goes a long way to vaporize those unhappy thoughts. And the mode, called TerroHunt, is a blast, to boot. The Ubisoft Montreal development team wants you to “never have the same experience twice” as you lock and load with four friends against waves of AI-controlled bad guys across 11 world locations and across several game modes.
I played a three-round match on the “Consulate” map. The first thing I noticed was how far Rainbow Six Siege’s visuals have come since the closed alpha. Fortunately, it’s now looking much closer to its original dazzling debut gameplay, with impressive light and shadow effects as well as denser smoke and improved textures.
Gameplay-wise, destroying walls now requires you to press A to vault through the newly formed opening, slowing down your entry into the next room. It’s a key change, likely made because in previous builds you could smash through and get in and out like a superhero, to the defenders’ disadvantage.
As for the matches themselves, they’re quick but harrowing. First you must get in and disarm a bomb in the building, during which you’ll shoot a handful of foes. But the real fun starts when you get a decoder to the next planting location. One player must haul the package, and plant it once you arrive. From there, the five of you must set up impromptu defenses using your Operator abilities (like my so-far-preferred Sledge, who totes a shotgun and can mash a giant hammer through destructible walls). As the clock ticks down on your decode, the AI opponents begin swarming from all directions, blasting through doors, walls, and windows.
For the third and final round, Ubisoft cranked it up to “Realistic” (i.e. old-school Rainbow Six 3-style one-shot, one-kill) mode.
My fellow human players and I won the first two rounds with ease on “Normal” difficulty, but for the third and final round, Ubisoft cranked it up to “Realistic” (i.e. old-school Rainbow Six 3-style one-shot, one-kill) mode. I rappelled up to the second floor outside our target room, hung upside down outside a window for a while, picked off a few guys as my teammates made their way through the house and up the stairs. We cleared out the initial goons easily enough, but when it was our turn to throw down the decoder and wait out its countdown, the OpFor overwhelmed us. I ran out of ammo in my clip just as a guy was in front of me, but the KillCam revealed that I ended up getting eighty-sixed by another enemy who stormed in from the other side of the room. Two shots and I was six feet under.
Bravo, Terrorist Hunt. You’ve got your hooks in me yet again.
Ryan McCaffrey is IGN’s Executive Editor of Previews and Xbox Guru-in-Chief. Follow him on Twitter at @DMC_Ryan, catch him on Podcast Unlocked, and drop-ship him Taylor Ham sandwiches from New Jersey whenever possible.