During the original Xbox era, the Tom Clancy shooters, Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six, ranked right up there with Halo in terms of competitive multiplayer communities. But entries were scarce during the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 era, and attention turned to games like Call of Duty and Battlefield. After dumping the promising Patriots concept we featured on our cover in December 2011, Ubisoft is entering this competitive space once again with Siege.

The E3 demo takes place in a Boston suburb, where the Rainbow Six team must square off against a group holding a woman hostage in a McMansion. This six-on-six variant of the classic Elimination mode begins with one team fortifying the home against invasion with barricades and barbed wire while the other team uses drones to search the house for the hostage location, keep track of enemy movement, and locate a weak point for entry. Once the countdown ends, the mode transitions into the breach. 

The SWAT team can enter the house through the front door, windows, garage, or man-made entry points with the help of a breaching charge. All of the environments are destructible, so after barricading a door the hostage holders could shoot a hole to track movement on the other side. They also have gadgets that can create traps like a motion activated mine. 

Each side had three classes to choose from - Assaulter, Breacher, and Point Man for the assaulting team, and Protector, Trapper, and Sentry for the defending team. We didn't have time to delve into the particulars of these classes, but each has unique weapons, gadgets, and armor, the last of which effects movement speed just like in Rainbow Six Vegas. 

The action is fast and furious, and communication is key to staying alive. Some of the classes have shields that teammates can hide behind as they move through the tight quarters. Since players can shoot through walls, ceilings, and floors, you could get capped from almost any angle. If you are wounded, teammates have a short window during which to revive you, but breach blasts and headshots will immediately end your life. If you do meet your demise, you can use cameras to locate enemy positions and call them out to your team via the microphone. The victory conditions are simple - kill all the enemies, or if you are the attacking team escort the hostage to safety. 

Rainbow Six: Siege's long term value will likely be determined by the variety of scenarios, progression path, and balance, but after playing a round from the perspective of each team, I think it has potential. We hope to spend more time with the game in the coming months.