Rainbow Six Siege: Outbreak — Impressive or Overreaching?
A great sign from Ubisoft, but ultimately lackluster
Upon hearing the announcement revealing the new Rainbow Six Siege game mode Outbreak, I was instantly filled with hope about the new direction by Ubisoft. With less than two weeks left of the limited time event, and after playing some of the new mode, here are some thoughts I have about it.
Get used to bullet sponges
While Siege’s online gameplay is characterised by fast action, tense moments and quick deaths, this is not the case in Outbreak. Where in online play, one wrong move will to a headshot, the zombies take some major ammunition to drop. When it comes to the five enemy types, you’ll find that the easiest ones to kill are the Breachers, but they also have the highest potential to take you out if you let them get close enough. In my experience, the other enemies — Grunts, Rooters, Smashers and Apex — all take significant ammo to kill. The key is to take grunts down before they detect you, once they do they sprout spikes and armour, making them harder to kill, but I find this mechanic to be wholly redundant, as there’s no real way to beat the three different Outbreak levels solely through stealth. That being said, it is worth having a silencer equipped on your sidearm, so you can take out zombies quietly if you do feel like sneaking past a certain section of the map.
A little like Left 4 Dead, a little like CoD Zombies
I admit I have played far more CoD Zombies than Left 4 Dead, but it’s evident from playing Outbreak that it’s a blend of both the aforementioned games. It’s well-paced and focused on co-operative play, with each of the unique operators changing the way in which you complete the levels, theoretically increasing the replay level (more on this later). Playing with Glaz is different to playing with Ying, which is different from playing with the new Operation Chimera operators, Lion and Finka. Ultimately, the Operators are what make the game mode work; without their unique abilities, Outbreak would just be another underwhelming Left 4 Dead clone.
It might tank your performance
Siege’s minimum system requirements are an i3 processor and a GTX 460 with 6GB of RAM (for us PC gamers out there). On my rig I can usually run it on Ultra and still get 60FPS, and that’s with a GTX 970 and 16GB of RAM, but this isn’t the case on Outbreak. As soon as I first loaded in, my performance tanked, and I could barely reach 30 frames. Console players might tell you there’s no difference between 60 and 30, but trust me, there is. To get a stable frame rate on Outbreak I had to lower my settings to Medium. This is probably the reason that the game mode is only three players and not five. I just can’t see the game mode supporting that many in its current stage. There’s just too much going on for your average computer to handle. For most people, this revelation means little, but for those of you who crave 60FPS on Ultra, you’ll have to make sure your PC set up is relatively new and powerful.
You can’t bring your whole squad
Due to my aforementioned conjecture, the game mode only supports three players, most likely because of performance requirements, which means you won’t be able to play with your normal squad, just as I mentioned in my reaction to the announcement of Outbreak. If it was possible, it would have been so much better seeing this mode available with five players. This would have increased the uniqueness of each play through, as well as making the gameplay so much more hectic. Furthermore, having only two teammates along for the ride with you means it’s much harder to complete the levels if anyone drops out, which trust me, happens quite a bit. This is especially the case if you are queuing solo.
A viable option for the Siege experience?
Ultimately, I think it’s probably a good thing that Outbreak is only a limited event. Despite the fact it could have high replay value, it just didn’t feel that way to me. The tireless act of shooting bullet sponges, with occasional performance issues and gameplay that’s not really that unique to any other zombie game, means it can be tiresome playing the mode. Additionally, the fact that the unique Outbreak-themed Alpha Packs can only be purchased with real money disappointed me. It would have been a great opportunity for Ubisoft to encourage playing Outbreak if you were able to grind to unlock the cool skins and headgear they created for the event.
Whether or not Ubisoft will attempt to make more unique content like Outbreak remains to be seen. For me, it’s a mixed bag; it’s awesome to have some radically fresh content, but it ultimately doesn’t set itself apart from other zombie game modes to be anything amazing.
If you still haven’t played Outbreak, you have until April 3 to try it out either on PC, PS4 or Xbox One. Despite its shortcomings, it’s still worth a go, and let’s be honest, free content is good content.