Cave­blaz­ers

Putting a beat­ing heart in­tense mil­i­tary shooter Rain­bow Six Siege

PC GAMER (US) - - CONTENTS -

I’ve spent much of my time imag­in­ing much more in­ter­est­ing his­to­ries for them

Hav­ing bounced off the game’s open beta many moons ago, I’d all but for­got­ten about Siege un­til strong word of mouth tempted me back. On pa­per, the core con­cept of two five-per­son teams, one try­ing to break the other’s de­fenses, was al­ways strong. I love asym­met­ric mul­ti­player games, and the de­struc­tible en­vi­ron­ments gave Siege some­thing ex­tra special. Yet per­haps the most in­ter­est­ing thing for me was the di­ver­sity of the game’s cast, called Oper­a­tors. They’re the he­roes you choose be­fore each round, dic­tat­ing your weapons and abil­i­ties.

And, good­ness, Ubisoft has done it. I adore this game now. With its huge ar­ray of he­roes, it’s like Over­watch for mil­i­tary nerds—swap­ping out the fast ride for a harsher slow burner. The game has the ten­sion I’ve come to adore in games over the past few years, but dis­tilled into a smaller scale, where luck feels much less a fac­tor.

That’s a per­fect for­mula for a crack­ing Tom Clancy shooter, but the thing that’s kept me fix­ated on the game is that cast. If you like to play games as not-an­other-white-man then this has folks from all over the world, with a fair por­tion of them women. It’s qui­etly in­clu­sive, just lack­ing in per­son­al­ity. Their in-game char­ac­ter back­grounds are dread­fully plain, but also de­void of de­tail. As such, I’ve spent much of my time imag­in­ing much more in­ter­est­ing his­to­ries for them, in­clud­ing in­ter-team re­la­tion­ships of the queer va­ri­ety.

My fa­vorite op­er­a­tor is Yu­miko ‘Hibana’ Ima­gawa. A Ja­panese op­er­a­tive, for­merly of the SAT, she’s been raised in archery, trav­eled to train with var­i­ous special forces around the world. That’s all Ubisoft gives us.

I imag­ine her not as a meek, quiet ninja, but a foul-mouthed rogue. Not quite cocky, but con­fi­dent all the same. She feels like an out­sider, never hav­ing set­tled in one place, but as part of Rain­bow, she’s found her­self open­ing up to Elena ‘Mira’ Al­varez. Mira’s a wrench mon­key, but her time serv­ing on Rain­bow has left her home­sick. Hav­ing never felt any­where to be home, it’s Mira’s sense of place that Hibana finds so­lace in. The two have a lov­ing re­la­tion­ship on the down low. Of course, there’s more. The online, long-dis­tance dat­ing be­tween IQ and Valkyrie. Or Frost’s se­cret past as an es­caped con­vict. Those are the tame ones.

Stranger than fic­tion

Does any of this mat­ter? It cer­tainly makes me en­joy the game more, play­ing as char­ac­ters in­stead of cogs in a ma­chine. Be­ing in a party of five (the ideal way to ex­pe­ri­ence the game) makes it feel like an ac­tion movie about a rag­tag bunch of mis­fits, with down time be­tween shootouts spent flesh­ing out our char­ac­ters. The game’s de­void of a plot but the maps are evoca­tive; an em­bassy in a city dur­ing a riot, a favela at night un­der fire­works. They seem part of a world that at least lets you imag­ine some con­text for your dar­ing.

If you’ve been look­ing for a mul­ti­player game with a di­verse cast that isn’t Over­watch, then Siege might be the slower paced al­ter­na­tive for you. It’s not as ex­plic­itly queer as Over­watch has be­come, but come on… it’s called Team Rain­bow.

The maps are var­ied and each evokes a story of some kind.

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