The bad guys have the front door covered. They'd prefer it if we didn't know that, but thanks to a tiny remote controlled camera, we can see that there's a ton of firepower pointing right at the door bell. We aren't there, though. Rappelling up the outside wall and walking across the roof of the consulate, I place a charge on a locked rooftop door and blow it. Smoke and debris fly down onto the landing below, and I drop down—just behind the guys pointing their guns at the front door.
We're spoiled for great open-world games right now. From Far Cry 4 to Fallout 4, the most interesting experiences in gaming come when a developer builds a reality, gives you a handful of tools, and sets you loose. Unlike the sprawling square kilometers in those games, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege creates an open world by taking smaller spaces and letting you blow them wide open. A small house in the suburbs, for example, becomes an arena of infinite possibilities, because almost every wall and floor can be breached, becoming a new passage. You can walk through walls, basically, not like a ghost, but a wrecking ball.
The meat of Siege is the five-on-five multiplayer matches. A team of five terrorists are holed up inside a mansion, consulate, airplane, bank, or other large structure. Outside, a team of five special forces soldiers gear up to storm the building like the final act of an action movie.
Two things make this setup really special. The first is the open-world design of these locations. They're all huge, multi-leveled, and packed with doors, windows, and hatches. Storming SWAT teams approach from any direction. Maybe they'll storm the mansion from the kitchen door, or perhaps they'll rappel up the walls and hit the consulate from the roof utility entrance. There are ten maps available with the game, and they're all gorgeous and intricate.
In firefights, walls, banisters, and doorways get chewed apart by machine gun fire and explosions. More importantly, most walls, doors, and even some floors explode open with a breaching charge. There may be two doorways leading to an important room, but adding the ability to blow walls changes that room into a freely flowing, dynamic situation.
The terrorist team can counter this by building their own barricades. They block doorways and windows, and heavy steel reinforcing kits make walls or trap doors impervious to breaching charges. The two teams have a tête-à-tête going, as each stymies the other's plans.
There's an intimacy to a Siege match that I don't get from other online multiplayer games. The intense proximity makes combat a more personal affair, like a ten-man knife fight breaking out at a slumber party.
Whereas most shooters try to one up each other by getting bigger and bigger, Siege, which collapses war into a suburban kitchen or the cabin space of an airplane, is a nice change of pace.
Rainbow Six: Siege is out now for Windows, Xbox One, and PS4.