Rainbow Six: Siege - Beta impressions
'Okay, so we'll hit both skylights at once.'
Our four previous attempts at clearing the building have amounted to nothing, but this time we're taking it seriously. It's 2am and once eager chatter has given way to a tired determination - it's a superstition not to go to bed on a loss, but we've been losing for the last two hours and our tactical edge is starting to blunt.
'We'll take the top floor all at once. Lots of aggression, follow in the flashbangs and we'll do this easily'
We're back at the game over screen in 120 seconds. Our failure was punctuated by several explosions and a particularly embarrassing team-killing incident.
'We just got unlucky on that back staircase guys, next time' I mutter, defensively, omitting the part where I emptied half a magazine into a team-mate in a sleep-deprived haze.
We previewed Rainbow Six: Siege on Bit-Tech during the multiplayer Alpha earlier in the year, but it seems unfair to judge a game based on a very early Alpha, so I wanted to take a better look at what makes it tick.
I've written several articles on Rainbow Six and given a couple of talks about the game so it's fair to say that I'm something of a rabid fanboy for the series. As a result, I was nervous about the news that Rainbow Six: Patriots was going to be cancelled and in its place we'd be getting a five on five tactical shooter.
The early preview in the Alpha gave me some problems too: the destruction wasn't substantial enough and the movement speed and the gameplay felt too quick - it felt more like an arcade shooter than the return to classics I'd been expecting, with operatives running and gunning to take down the enemy team. I was worried that this game would feel like a watered down Rainbow Six experience.
I'm not so worried now. Ubisoft have managed to slow the game right down and the destruction feels like the most advanced I've seen so far, creating plenty of opportunities for the enterprising counter terrorist.
This destruction is actually core to the game's appeal, and it is what lends the game most of its replayability. The maps on offer here are compact, containing a single building - a french embassy, a military killhouse, a suburban family home.
Every one of these buildings is intricately designed and my internal walls will come apart under sustained gunfire or explosives.The difference to Battlefield here is that it's not a case of explosions levelling walls - although that can happen - it's being able to shoot a hole in the wall and then put your barrel through it, or blowing up a floor with a grenade to shoot at the targets below.
Some of the most interesting aspects of the Beta come from the cooperative terrorist mode: your team of up to five players assaults a fortified structure full of terrorists with the aim of clearing out the structure - while it's definitely been affected by the passing of time, and the design is a little more cluttered now, this is the first time I really felt echoes of the earlier series.