Going lone wolf in Rainbow Six: Siege’s Terrorist Hunt is more fun than any fluffed-up, superfluous story mission, says Matt Martin.
I was a little surprised at the reaction to confirmation that Rainbow Six: Siege doesn’t have a campaign story mode. I mean, the game’s been billed from the start as a 5v5 shooter and everything I’ve played of that so far has filled me with hope.
I guess I shouldn’t really be so shocked that the internet cried “fuck you, I’m not buying it now,” as it so often does. But I’m playing the beta right now and it seems to me that tackling the Terrorist Hunt mode as a lone wolf is a single player campaign in all but name.
(It’s worth pointing out to begin with that you can play Terrorist Hunt solo because it’s not that clear from the beta. I’ve just had a chat with someone who was pulling hair out at not being able to get a co-op team together completely unaware that the “lone wolf” option exists.)
So there’s no story thread and the maps aren’t played in any kind of chronological order, but everything else about it is exactly what you would find in a single player campaign. It’s you versus an overwhelming number of enemies. Even better, the XP and Renown you earn is applied to your game overall, so you can level up here before going toe-to-toe with real humans.
There’s no corny storyline but then who honestly cares about that? What do you remember about Advanced Warfare other than Kevin Spacey wanted to take over the world armed only with half-robot men and his own ability to SHOUT LOUDLY?
There’s still plenty of drama to be had. There’s tension when you hear the gas mask breathing of enemies stalking you. Or the way walls explode with bullets while you were distractedly covering two doorways. How about hanging upside down above an exit waiting for someone to blunder out and lose their head?
And there’s challenge, too. Set it on Normal mode and it’s hard. Try it on Hard and it’s teeth-grinding. Try Realistic and go home like a spanked doggy. You versus 30 enemies is no easy job, and the higher difficulties are where the bigger rewards are at.
Because although you’re playing solo with no danger of friendly fire, you still can’t go full Rambo. The enemy AI does a good job of changing routes and patterns to continually keep you on your toes. When you think you’ve established a pretty good killzone they’ll find a way around it, or tear gas you, or crash through the windows, or rush your position when you back off to cover. Smug gets wiped from your face pretty quickly.
Isn’t this what we want from a tactical first-person shooter? Brutal combat. None of that recharging health bar nonsense. A ticking countdown of tension. Tactics that blow up in your face if you repeat them. Who dares wins, and all that.
This is only the beta and the game isn’t complete – that’s my caveat sorted – but at this point, right now, with three maps, day and night cycles and a bunch of weapons that punch through walls, I’m having a good time playing Terrorist Hunt as a lone wolf. I’m not going to pretend I want a coherent narrative or long cutscenes flitting between emotions and explosions. I want to adapt on the fly and come out alive with a smoking barrel and a bleeding health bar. My story is simple: eliminate the terrorists or die trying.