September 24, 2015

6 Min Read

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Rainbow Six Siege - New Operators and Devious White Masks in the Closed Beta

It's down to the wire, and I'm the last person standing. Only a few minutes ago, my squad breached the makeshift defenses surrounding the central building at Hereford Base, where two bombs had been rigged by the mysterious White Masks. The shield-carrying Montagne was the first to enter, along with the breaching specialist Thermite, and through the lens of Twitch's shock drone, I watched both of them immediately die at the hands of an Alpha, the White Masks' heavily armored bomber archetype. I scouted ahead to find a bomb as my surviving teammates did their best to repel the sudden and unpredictable appearances of White Mask gunmen. After carefully reinforcing the bomb room's defenses with barbed wire and a last-minute flurry of smoke grenades, we slapped the button on the defuser and did our best to hold fast as waves of enemies crashed in through every opening.


The villains of Rainbow Six Siege's Terrorist Hunt mode – which will be playable in the now-live closed beta starting September 24 – are exhausting in the best way possible. In groups, they're relentless, overwhelming you by rappelling through windows, flooding through doorways and using explosives to create new holes in the walls. Alone, they're crafty in ways few computer-generated opponents are, making excellent use of hiding spots and waiting for you to slip up – say, by reloading or turning your back – before they lurch out of cover to strike. Survival takes quick reflexes and, more importantly, the support of your teammates – something I was about to learn the hard way.

Before we defused the first bomb, we took a second to catch our collective breath and plan. Hereford Base is a huge map, with points of entry that include a wide-open parking lot, SAS training course and shooting range, but the action unfolds in a huge, warehouse-like building filled with treacherously narrow hallways, cover-filled rooms and eerie mannequins – all perfect cover for the White Masks. Holed up in a little top-floor room with the human-sized bomb, we carefully set barbed wire by the windows, and got ready to toss smoke grenades as we took up positions that would let us watch entrances the others couldn't.

Rainbow Six Siege

Once we hit the switch to start defusing the bomb, we had only a few seconds before the White Masks began storming in, alternating between run-and-gun tactics and darting into corners in the hopes we wouldn't notice them in time. When the smoke cleared, all three of us were still alive, if a little overwhelmed. The sense of relief was palpable... until the announcer ordered us to the next bomb.

Seconds later, a teammate was flattened by a shotgun blast, courtesy of a White Mask who stepped out of a doorway he'd just run past. It wasn't long before my other teammate was cut down in a hail of gunfire from another White Mask, and I foolishly revived him before killing his assailant. He went down for good when he stood right up into a second wave of bullets, and I was alone.


It's entirely possible to play Rainbow Six Siege on your own, but it's not easy. Without teammates, there's nobody to warn you when enemies do things like duck into a room you just cleared to set up an ambush the next time you enter. If that seems oddly specific, it's because one of them tried to pull that on me. Luckily, my dead teammates were paying more attention to my surroundings than I was.

My luck didn't hold out for long. Reduced to creeping forward and listening carefully for telltale shouts and clicks, I stepped off a stairwell and immediately traded shots with a White Mask who stepped out into the hall in front of me. He was an easy target, but his real job was to distract me from his buddy at the back of the hall, who was crouching behind a barricade. As I reloaded, he stood up, and – camouflaged against a white wall – tossed a flashbang my way. I fired blindly, only to be treated to a view of myself taking a fatal shotgun blast to the face.


Terrorist Hunt is just one of the modes available in the closed beta; there's also Hostage Rescue, in which one team fortifies a structure while the other does their best to attack it and wipe out the defenders. Apart from having a smaller number of more unpredictable opponents, the biggest difference between PvE and PvP is that PvP allows the attackers to make use of a planning phase where they can scout ahead with their drones without it eating into the round time. It also broadens the pool of available operators considerably, giving me a chance to play around with some of the newer, sneakier operators. On the defending side, Bandit was an instant favorite, as his ability to hook an electrical device up to barbed-wire patches makes them a wonderfully devious trap for players expecting to just be slowed down. Meanwhile, Blitz's flashbang-equipped shield made him an obvious choice for breaching defenses and clearing rooms, so long as I could avoid blundering into any traps, or – in Terrorist Hunt – bombers.

All told, the closed beta gives players a choice of of seven attackers, seven defenders, and a blank slate recruit for those who want to play without special abilities, but with a few more customization options. With three maps, two modes and a smattering of different objectives, the closed beta offers a substantial taste of the Rainbow Six Siege experience, which debuts in full on December 1 for PS4, Xbox One and PC. In the meantime, those who have a code can get started on the closed beta today.

For more on Rainbow Six Siege, check out these stories:

Rainbow Six Siege TerroHunt Tips

Rainbow Six Siege - Inside Rainbow #3

Rainbow Six Siege - Meet Six

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