Like the seemingly elongating final seconds of a clutch defence round, Rainbow Six Siege is sticking around for longer than originally expected. Much has been written about the game’s inauspicious start, its remarkable turnaround, and the bumps along the way, but at this point we should probably all stop dredging up the past in order to contextualise its success.
Kirk chose Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus as his personal game of the year.
Siege is now a success in its own right, and its continued ascent is no less remarkable for being shorn of that two-year-old raggedy design to riches story.
And on that point: no, Siege did not come out this year, but it is a profoundly different game to the one that we were playing in 2016. Now three seasons in to Year 2, it may as well be an entirely new release. Operation Velvet Shellintroduced us to the glitz and glamour of the Coastline map, and its penchant for long-but-tight sightlines. With it, Jackal and Mira joined the operators lineup and upended the meta to such a degree that every map felt new.
An agonisingly prolonged Operation Health followed which, while managing to temporarily introduce some game-breaking bugs (whoops), has resulted in everything generally running a little smoother and faster now. Unless you are stuck in a game with team killers, of course, but that is another story. Operation Blood Orchid gave us Hong Kong map Theme Park – whose dark corners weaponise shadows – and Ying, Lesion, and Ela, who have further disrupted established tactics for roaming, objective room defence, and late-game pushes.
Most recently, another trio of operators joined the game for Operation White Noise, along with the vertigo-inducing Mok Myeok Seoul map. Between them, Dokkaebi, Vigil, and Zofia bring a heady cocktail of hacking and grenades to the situation. And, on top of all this, regular updates have rebalanced older weapons and operators – most notably, Glaz’s controversial thermal scope, and Kapkan’s more plentiful, harder-to-spot traps.
Rainbow Six Siege continues to be one of the deepest, most flexible shooters ever made, while its skill ceiling remains encouragingly out of sight. Let’s face it – Siege will probably be my pick next year, too…