Rainbow Six: Siege — Everything You Need to Know

If the latest Halo, Call of Duty and Battlefront games weren't enough for you, there's one more shooter looking to sneak into your wallet and take your attention hostage. 

Ubisoft's Rainbow Six: Siege is a return to the tactical action that the long-running Rainbow Six series is known for, pitting teams of five against each other in tense battles in which every room is destructible and nowhere is safe. If you've seen the game's epic, Idris Elba-infused commercials and are wondering what it's all about, here's what you need to know about Rainbow Six: Siege.

As an aside, Rainbow Six Mobile is coming, and that looks set to be a smartphone version of Rainbow Six Siege. 

What is Rainbow Six: Siege?

Rainbow Six: Siege is a tactical first-person shooter with a big focus on competitive multiplayer. It's out now on PS4, Xbox One and PC, and it costs $60.

How is this different from the boatload of other shooters out there?

While games like Halo and Call of Duty provide nonstop action, Rainbow Six puts a focus on careful strategy and team tactics. It takes only a few bullets to kill you, so you and your buddies will have to have a smart plan for how you enter and assault every room.

One of Siege's biggest selling points is destructibility — almost every ceiling and wall in the game can be destroyed or shot through. This provides near-endless strategic possibilities, whether you want to snipe your opponent through a small hole in the wall or detonate a bomb on the floor before crashing down through it.

Another feature that sets Siege apart is its cast of characters. Instead of customizing your own soldier, you can play as one of several "Operators," each of which has his or her own special set of skills for either offense or defense. For example, Pulse, a defender, has a cardiac scanner that can detect enemy heartbeats, while Sledge, an attacker, wields a powerful sledgehammer that can break through walls.

The game features a total of 20 unlockable Operators — 10 attackers and 10 defenders. This gives you and your pals plenty of ways to form a powerful team of five that takes advantage of each character's cool abilities.

What can I do in this game?

The meat of Rainbow Six: Siege lies in its five-on-five multiplayer, in which teams take turns attacking and defending. The objectives vary by gametype — sometimes there's a bomb to defuse, other times a hostage to rescue — but the core gameplay flow remains the same. The attacking team can survey the area with drones before assaulting, while the defenders can reinforce walls and lay traps to slow their enemies. Plenty of unpredictable chaos can ensue during any given round, thanks to the game's breakable environments and bevy of high-tech gadgets. 

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If you'd rather not shoot other humans in the face, the series' beloved Terrorist Hunt co-op mode makes a return in Siege. Here, you and up to four friends work together to clear bad guys out of an area, with the occasional bomb to disable along the way. No matter how you play Siege, you'll have a total of 11 maps to shoot around on at launch.

Is there a single-player mode?

While Siege doesn't feature a traditional solo campaign, there are 10 single-player missions (called Situations) that help you grasp the game's various modes and mechanics. Situations help you practice playing both offense and defense, and completing them will reward you with experience points and in-game currency for buying items and Operators.

Ubisoft has made it clear that its main focus for Siege is multiplayer — those looking for a cinematic story mode should probably check out the latest Call of Duty or Halo games.

Let me guess: There's downloadable content on the way.

There sure is, though much of it will be free. To avoid splitting up its player base, Ubisoft has promised to deliver four "seasons" of free post-launch content through late 2016, including complimentary maps and modes as well as brand-new Operators.

Siege has two forms of in-game currency: Renown, which is earned through gameplay, and Credits, which are bought with real cash. The only things for which you'll absolutely need Credits are a few extra-fancy weapon skins, which have no effect on gameplay.

If you want as much content as possible, you can pick up the $30 Season Pass, which provides early access to select Operators, exclusive weapon skins, extra Credits and a Renown boost that lets you unlock stuff faster.

How does the game differ on PS4, Xbox and PC?

According to Ubisoft, Rainbow Six: Siege runs at 1080p resolution on PS4, while the Xbox One version is limited to 900p. On PC, the game's performance will depend on your hardware.

You can find the game's PC system requirements here. In terms of graphics cards, you'll need an Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 or better, or an AMD Radeon HD5770 or better. If you want to meet Ubisoft's recommended specs, however, you'll need at least a GTX 670 or a Radeon HD7970 or R9 280X.

Is Rainbow Six: Siege worth playing?

Based on our time with the game so far, Siege's tactical gameplay provides a unique, exciting level of tension that's hard to find in modern shooters. If you like working together with friends and playing strategically, Siege can prove tremendously rewarding. On the other hand, if you're a lone wolf, prefer run-and-gun action or want a robust single-player mode, you should look elsewhere.

Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.