Rainbow Six Siege: The 10 Best and 7 Worst Operators

Rainbow Six: Siege is a competitive first-person shooter grounded heavily in tactical gameplay, and as such demands that you choose the best operator for a given job on your respective five-man team. These roles range from monitoring the enemy’s movement around objectives to jamming incoming drones before they can reveal your squad’s location, as well as a host of other vital positions in-between. But not all operators are created equal, and some can provide a much larger advantage to your squad than others. If you can have an advantage right from the character select screen, why not take it?

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With the game currently undergoing an intensive slew of technical maintenance in anticipation of Fall 2017’s new operator releases, now’s a good time to brush up on who’s currently the best (and worst) in Siege’s still-expanding roster so you can best assist your team in competitive play.
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17.) BEST: Valkyrie

In a game that’s all about having eyes in as many places as possible, Valkyrie’s assortment of relocatable cameras can give the defending team a massive edge on any map in Siege. To balance this out, drawbacks include that they’re destroyed easily and she only gets three total, not to mention they don’t actually impede the enemy team in any real way unlike most of her cohorts’ abilities. Still, if used wisely, Valkyrie’s cameras serve to provide intel that can end a match before it begins.

16.) WORST: MiraR6Siege-Mira

The reason Mira’s on this side of the fence isn’t through any fault of her own; her ability can be fantastic. The issue stems solely from its high liability potential. Here’s the scoop: Mira can place two one-way mirrors on walls, effectively allowing you to see the enemy but not the other way around. Additionally, you can shatter the mirrors from your side in order to fire on unsuspecting enemies. However, if the enemy has a Twitch, her drones can pop the mirrors remotely and create gaping holes in your defenses. Similarly, if your teammates aren’t very bright, they might choose to pop a mirror prematurely on your behalf, which is just as bad as dealing with a smart enemy Twitch.

15.) BEST: JagerR6_GSG9_Jager_4k_001

Jager has special devices that shoot grenades out of the air, something that really wasn’t that useful until the dawn of Glaz’s smoke-proof sniper scope. Seeing as smoke is currently Glaz’s biggest advantage, Jager serves as the only hope of destroying the sniper-friendly vapor grenades before they can detonate and render the most dangerous attacking operator invisible.

14.) WORST: TachankaTachanka_Spetsnaz

While Tachanka is a lord in the Siege meme community, he’s little more than a glass cannon in the game itself. He’s got a deployable turret that can mow down enemies with ease, but the vulnerable stance taken while using it leaves Tachanka immobile and defenseless while operating his biggest asset. He’s great for certain hallways on a select few maps, but moreso a waste of an operator on most of Siege’s battlegrounds.

13.) BEST: CavieraCaviera_model

Having a good Caviera on your team can be the biggest defensive asset in all of Siege, as her ability allows her to interrogate singled-out opponents and reveal all enemy locations on the map. The trade-off here is that she’s the least-armored operator in the game and can be easily picked off if caught alone–but in a game where knowledge is absolute power, even a chance at revealing the entire enemy team’s whereabouts is invaluable.

12.) WORST: BlackbeardBlackbeard

While he was once one of the best, he’s now one of the worst. After the most vicious nerfing to ever hit Siege, Blackbeard went from being the (arguably) strongest operator in the game to a mere afterthought during any smart player’s character selection phase, meaning the quantity of Blackbeards in ranked these days is dismal–and not without good reason. His sole perk, a rifle shield that protects his head and allows him to make all kinds of plays that are too risky for the normal operator, went from being nigh invincible to its current state of transparent eggshell, shattering after eating the daintiest of pistol bullets. The fallen king of Siege, Blackbeard is to be avoided at all costs.

11.) BEST: MuteMute_SAS

Mute’s jammers immunize reinforcements from both Thermite and Hibana’s arsenals, stop drones and prevent standard breaching charges from detonating, effectively serving as a blockade to any electronic offensive tool in the game. While he might not pack the useful sting of Bandit, Mute serves a broader range of preventative measures in ensuring your team’s security.

10.) WORST: PulseR6_SWAT_Pulse

Pulse can scan enemies through walls, which should be a huge asset. But given how slowly he deploys his heartbeat scanner and how long it takes to put away, there’s an outstanding chance the enemy on the other side will have already rounded the corner and killed you in the seconds it took to identify them in the first place.

9.) BEST: HibanaR6Siege-Hibana

While she’s essentially a weaker version of Thermite, she’s still one of only two operators that can destroy reinforced walls in any capacity. Couple that with her ability to detonate her unique breaching rounds remotely as well as lay claymore traps and she’s a decent ranged alternative to Thermite, and utterly essential on any team lacking the former. If you have both on your team however, she can serve her primary function as a hatch-maker, burning little holes in reinforcements for characters such as Glaz to snipe through.

8.) WORST: BuckTom_Clancy's_Rainbow_Six_Siege_Buck

Buck is not only one of the worst operators in the game, but also one of the least imaginative: he has a shotgun attached to the barrel of his rifle and nothing more. Mira and Jackal both have pocket shotguns and that’s just the third best thing about both of them, whereas said shotty is Buck’s primary selling point. The kicker? The gun his entire profile hinges on isn’t even good, being one of the most spastic and short-ranged weapons in the game balanced only by its high damage output. Continue reading

Ubisoft and the Bastardization of Ghost Recon

This company is a heroin addict who needs its IP children to be adopted by a caring foster parent before it’s too late.

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Ubisoft, a company whose mission statement is mediocrity first and players second, has decided Wildlands will be the next installment in the Ghost Recon franchise. From high atop his ivory tower of corporate villainy, Yves Guillemot cackles deviously as he knowingly squanders 4 years of developers’ precious time on this planet, forcing them through wage slavery to produce yet another copy-and-paste open world borefest, squandering his underling artists’ valuable talents on a project he knows a disabled infant could produce comparable results for.

Where’s the issue? Is it the bland, uninspired open world? The wonky, B-grade shooting? The physics-less vehicles? The complete and utter lack of anything inspiring or original under the hood of a bland third-person shooter masquerading as a beloved tactical stealth franchise?

Could it be all of these things, perhaps?

Yes, it could. Now we’ve got another The DivisionFar Cry Primal, Watch_Dogs 2 to add to our collection of generic Ubisoft garbage.

Capture outpost A, slink around to outpost B. Use a helicopter to fly to outpost C and liberate the resistance. Protect a VIP as you escort him back to outpost A. Rinse and repeat for fifty hours. Jesus Christ, what a downgrade from Future Soldier, a game that came out over half a decade ago. Trading a tight, engaging and tactical linear narrative for a blase open-world snoozer is the dumbest yet most frequent misstep Ubisoft seems to love to make these days. Hope they love making it without my $60.

The Game of the Year Award for 2016

The first few months of this year didn’t seem to exist, as far as video games were concerned. No relevant triple A releases, no worthwhile indie games, nothing. Between January and August, one of the only two new releases I purchased was The Culling, an early-access mess of a game that revamped every piece of in-game weaponry with new nerfs and buffs bi-weekly, to the point where you never knew what weapon would have what impact. Hence why I dropped it. What started out as a very tense Hunger Games-style multiplayer madhouse dissolved into overly long, drawn-out matches of poke the bad guy with a spear forty times until one of you gets bored and dies. Such a shame.

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The other new release was Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, a fine if unremarkable game. Terribly short but notably sweet, it’s nothing more than a faint whisper in my memory at this point.

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From there I snagged Deus Ex: Mankind Divided in early September, the best half-complete product I ever bought. If acts 2 and 3 of the story had been included and the overall narrative delivery hadn’t been so utterly pedestrian, this would’ve been my game of the year easily. Ah well, maybe the trilogy’s finale will feel like a complete product when it comes out in three to four years.

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Two disappointments and one neutral release in and finally the holiday heavy-hitters started to make their arrivals, kicking off with Titanfall 2. I still haven’t touched a second of the campaign, instead soaking up every last multiplayer match the dying community will afford me in the time it has left. Given the positive word of mouth circulating around the story component however, I’ll give this one the benefit of the doubt and say it’s a great purchase overall. We’re one for four now, those of you keeping tally at home.

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Next up came Hitman, the surprise show-stealer of 2016. Featuring insanely creative and aesthetically inventive levels, a refined and revamped mechanics set for Agent 47 and an overall sense of bold direction no other game this year had, the DRM-laden episodic caper from Square Enix comes out on top. Two for five.

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And lastly, at the twilight of 2016, after the horrendous PC launch had subsided and my unwavering love for Dishonored grew to a fever pitch, I picked up Dishonored 2. Having just gotten past the infamous clockwork mansion, I can attest to the game’s merits. It’s wonderfully inventive in its level design and gameplay structure. But its story is weak and contrived, its launch was terrible and because of these things I can’t grant it nearly the amount of praise I heaped upon the original.

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So where does that leave us? Nowhere, frankly. This year was a bust for games as I don’t see myself actively pitching any of the aforementioned titles to anyone simply because they’re “that good,” though Hitman comes close. Hell, I didn’t even mention Unravel, a cute little platformer I bought solely because the lead developer put on a good show at last year’s E3. I’ve played one level and it’s nothing to write home about, though it’s serviceable and deserves a mention on here for being heartfelt—something these soulless sequels and corporate cash-grabs could learn from. Notice how all of the major releases above have a literal or proverbial “2” at the end of their titles?

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My God.

I almost forgot the worst game of 2016. The absolute worst port in the history of PC gaming, as far as my firsthand experiences are concerned. It stuttered more than a nervous high-schooler with a lisp, screen-tore like an iPhone made of wet paper and shit the bed so frequently that its myriad of disabilities almost distracted me from the piss-poor narrative and lacking runtime lurking beneath the surface. The studio’s fallen since the heydays of Max Payne and Alan Wake.

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My Thoughts on Titanfall 2’s Multiplayer

Before we go any further, here’s the situation: I’ve played the first five minutes of the campaign and that’s it. Why skip out on the best new addition to Titanfall? Because the single player will still be there for me to explore long after the online community has dried up and died, meaning I need to hop on the already-decomposing corpse that this game touts as a multiplayer component before it’s gone.share-image.jpg

On PC, the community is small. Very small. Less than a month after launch only one game mode is ever reliably playable (guess which one), and even then, only barely at odd hours on weekdays and weekends alike. At most I’ll see 1,000-something players online in my region on a Saturday afternoon. It’s rough. And it’s sad because, just as was the case with Titanfall 1, it’s some of the most fun I’ve had in a multiplayer game this year.

Initially, Titanfall 2’s multiplayer feels like a step in the wrong direction from its predecessor. For a start, maps are bigger, introducing brief moments of nothingness that NEVER existed in the original. This couples poorly with the fact that wall-running is now less emphasized, which inadvertently jacks up the barrier to entry when versing the droves of players who’ve already figured out how to circumvent a map’s superficially slow design. Then there’s the increased danger of AI specters and grunts, resulting in actual deaths from what were previously useless computer-controlled minions. Throw these things together and you’ve got a recipe for a lot of frustration and shaken faith in the game’s quality—early on, that is.

Sink enough time into the game and overcome the steep learning curve that Titanfall 1 veterans such as myself had to suffer through and eventually you’ll discover Respawn knew exactly what they were doing. They’ve essentially shifted the focus of Titanfall multiplayer to be more centered around situational awareness rather than blazing fast reactionary processing, something I can’t say I’m a fan of but do understand the appeal toward. It’s a far more tactical affair, to say plainly.

While only one of TF2’s maps holds a candlestick to any of Titanfall 1’s extremely memorable multiplayer landscapes, be it the orange sands of Demeter or massive skeletons of Boneyard, the sequel focuses less on making memorable moments and shooting dioramas and more on increasing the game’s skill ceiling. Again, not my preference but it’s a welcome challenge. What IS my preference is the insane amount of customization they’ve added, not only cosmetically but also in terms of weaponry and equipment. Gravity stars are the best FPS addition in recent memory, sucking in opponents so you can whip out a pocket shotty and blast them while they’re trapped in a temporary wormhole. Shit’s lit.

In conclusion, while I fundamentally disagree with certain changes Respawn has made, I respect all of them and understand the vision behind the product. It’s a fun game, no doubt, which is why I’m sad to see such a small community. If you can get it for sub-forty U.S. dollars, snag it and hop in, the water’s fine—just a bit different than last time.

Review of “Superhot” for PC

It’s super not.superhot5.jpg

For those of you who know the background info regarding this game, let’s get right to it: the “time only moves when you move” thing is a gimmick. It’s not a revolutionary mechanic. It’s an—admittedly, very entertaining—gimmick. It’s a single power-up that could easily be incorporated into any other FPS. Fun enough while it lasts, but hardly earth-shattering.

The campaign is meme-baiting, wannabe-meta nonsense and it lasts a short, sweet three hours at most. And while the inclusion of challenge modes is a nice gesture, it really doesn’t amount to much. The core of the game is hollow. The gimmick of Superhot isn’t enough to keep the game magnanimously heated or superlatively toasty; much as it wants to be.

And if you’re wondering why the short review, I’m just trying to simulate game length. In text.

Review of “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” for PC

After having seen where this game chooses to roll the credits, it’s clear mankind isn’t the only thing that’s been divided.slider_459_5

Set two years after Human Revolution‘s grandiose finale wherein the protagonist sacrificed himself for the greater good, our hero Adam Jensen has been miraculously deus ex (eh? eh?) machina’d back to life and is now on the hunt for the Illuminati. Fair enough. In a surprising twist, however, by the end of the game Adam’s still on the hunt for the Illuminati.

… Wait, that sounds redundant. Oh, right, because nothing gets resolved. Nothing changes. Imagine if Star Wars: Episode 5 ended after the Hoth battle. Sure, the first act has set all of the pieces in place, but where’s the main struggle? The climax? You know, those things they refer to in the business as “acts two and three.”

The answer: nonexistent. This game is nothing more than a two-part setup for the rumored next game, Deus Ex: Humanity United (or whatever human-themed subtitle it’ll have), which will round off the trilogy and make Square Enix approximately twice as much money (they’d hope) as opposed to just letting this game complete its narrative.

To elaborate, this theory comes as the result of an anonymous dev having recently went on a rant to Jim Sterling about working under Square’s corporate umbrella. Therefore, as much as I’d like to think the unfinished narrative is only a perception-related thing on my cynical end, it seems we as a gaming community may not be that lucky.

Beyond that, the gameplay of the, ahem, video game is really solid; a refined version of Human Revolution with a few more gadgets and tighter level design. While the amazing level design is self-explanatory, the gadgets need a mention as they unbalance the experience to a noteworthy degree. I’m not sure if it’s because of the pre-order praxis kits I got for my initial playthrough (I didn’t pre-order the game, mind you, just got a pre-order code for it), but I had a lot of the new augments fairly early on and, frankly, they just give you a massive edge over competition that the old augments from Human Revolution already compensated for, balancing-wise. So now that the fight’s not even remotely fair, I recommend playing on the hardest difficulty out of the gate. I got the pacifist achievement on normal difficulty without so much as a sweat during my first run, so a little challenge would’ve been nice.

Technical aspects of the game can be summed up like this: character models are gross and blatantly polygonal (besides Adam and his AMAZINGLY DETAILED COAT. It’s fucking incredible), lip-syncing is terrible, and framerate issues/memory-leak stuttering are waaaaaaaay too common.

In terms of the content’s quality and quantity, Mankind Divided manages to balance both fairly well considering its halved story. Side missions are varied and abstain from any copy-paste content that, say, Ubisoft sandboxes love to pile on, meaning each mission is a unique experience. That really is the case, mind you; one of the only two boss fights in the entire game is hidden away in a completely avoidable side mission, so do ’em if you want your money’s worth. Beyond that, the main narrative is short and simple, featuring levels that favor sumptuous visuals and attention to detail over runtime. And while the clock won’t be on your side when assessing Mankind Divided‘s bang for the buck factor, venturing into fully aesthetically realized and graphically magnificent venues such as the Aug ghettos of Golem City will remind you you can’t always put a price-tag on art.

It’s a shame, then, that these aspects are consistently overshadowed by the overall package’s mediocrity, chief among the flawed inclusions weighing Mankind Divided down being a tacked-on Breach mode that acts as a free-to-play mobile-esque version of the core game. It exists solely for micro-transaction consumer farming and is devoid of any creativity whatsoever.

Overall, they screwed the pooch. Small time. While corporate shenanigans may have damaged this game’s story irreparably, the love that was put into the title is so apparent that if you were a fan of Human Revolution then I can’t not recommend Mankind Divided.

Review of Quantum Break (PC) — The Worst Port of All-Time?

Across years of PC gaming, I’ve stumbled upon a few bad ports, sure. Trash ports, even.

None of them hold a candle to this.keyart_quantum_break_microsoft

Quantum Break should be re-titled Hardware Break on PC, as it’s a mess. I know the developers issued a big update to remedy (unintentional developer pun) some of the original port problems, but the game must’ve been unable to load fucking menus at that point if this is how bad it is post-“fix.” Make no mistake, this is by far the worst port I’ve ever encountered.

The issues started early on, in an unprecedentedly severe fashion. Boatloads of stuttering and framerate drops began during the very first instance of interactive gameplay, an indicator that I was in for a bad time. So after a minute of the choppiest, most broken third-person action I’d ever experienced, I paused and began tinkering with settings. During this tech-support mission I discovered that the most random changes would boost my framerate for a few brief, blissful seconds. Turning textures from medium to ultra? Less stuttering. Turning off the framerate cap? A more steady framerate. These elements were helping, but nowhere near enough to make the gameplay, well, playable. As such, this experimentation went on for a good hour until I did the unthinkable: I lowered every setting to its lowest possible level, and only then did the game become (barely) playable (25-ish frames consistently). Problem number one averted.

Keep in mind my rig’s above the minimum specs; a GTX 960 shouldn’t be chugging because of this shit. Yet here I was, just thankful to be able to play the game in some fashion even though it looked like a first-wave Xbox 360 title. Then crisis number two struck.

Now, I’ve got 8GB of RAM, the acceptable bar for this title. So no funny business should be happening in that department, right? Wrong. After about thirty minutes of any given gameplay session, memory leaking would begin. Even at the lowest settings with a GTX960 and 8GB of RAM, I was suffering memory leaks and a framerate that could barely cling to a consistent bar of just below 30. It was bad. Against all odds, it somehow found a way to get even worse. Strap in, ladies and gents, it’s story time.

I’d made it to the final battle, the big ol’ boss fight at the bitter end. No amount of stutters, framerate drops or freezes could stop me. Or so I thought. See, the final boss uses screen-cluttering effects the size and scope of which the game hadn’t had to render in real-time prior, meaning my rig was unprepared for a fresh new wave of paralyzing code to strike. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The first time I lost the boss fight was because my character’s foot got caught in a web of suspended scaffolding, a simple obstacle hit-box error on the part of the designers who created the map. That was simply the game’s cluttered design at work, nothing technical… yet. Round two is where the tech errors really began cropping up. The second time I lost the fight was because I paused the game, alt-tabbed to see if anyone else had gotten texture-caught during the fight. Thanks to UWP (Universal Windows Platform), my game decided that alt-tabbing meant I was done playing and TURNED OFF THE PROGRAM MID-PAUSE. Very, very frustrating, after having waded through a murky six hours of the ugliest, most poorly optimized game I’d ever played, during round two of an unimpressive boss fight. But this was the final conflict. I was determined to see it through. So I booted up the game and delved into the abyss of Windows 10 gaming once more.

I blast through the intro cutscene, making quick work of the bad guys that stood between me and the arrival of the final boss. Cue cutscene number two. The big boss sends his goons but no amount of AI baddies in the world can stop me at this point. I’m determined, baby. I’m on fire. I blast the first teleporting enemy with a time bomb, freezing him in place as I dash my way over to bad guy number two, punching him straight to hell before warping backwards and slowing time to a crawl, firing off a series of shots at the frozen dude and a third scrub right next to him. No problem. After one more bad-ass time-dash into an enemy and one satisfying punch later, I was ready for the big boss’s screen-shattering attack. The room goes red and my framerate starts to tank, but I’m not worried. Relying on pure instinct, I press buttons that I know will guide me to the right side of the room and, lo and behold, after the stuttering is finished, I’ve successfully evaded his attack straight from muscle memory. Awesome. Now I’m onto wave two of bad guys. A heavy troop enters the room with a cohort of fellow rifle-wielders, unaware of what he and his friends have just walked into. I time freeze the big guy before bubbling myself, becoming immune to the grunts’ bullets while I pour into their leader. Within seconds he’s down and I’m dashing around the room like lighting, speed-punching troops left and right with reckless abandon. Before I know it, another ten guys are dead on the floor and it’s back to my one v one with the final boss himself. Alright, Paul Serene, you son of a bitch. Let’s finish this.

He lights up his big red glowing spirit bomb in a desperate last-ditch effort to stop my push, but he’s no match for me. I’ve not come this far to let a smarmy AI bend me over and fuck me sideways. I run as fast as my time-travelling legs will carry me, the room aglow with ghastly red hues as the blue triangles of my speed effect are consumed by the enemy’s color, a sign that he’s nearing max attack capacity—then the screen becomes awash with white, a sign of the most powerful attack in the game, a force stronger than anything I’d seen Serene throw at me up ’till this point—Quantum Break has crashed.

At that point I uninstalled the game and ten minutes later here I am writing my review.

Yes, that means I haven’t seen the game’s intended ending. But I DID get an ending. The end to my time buying Windows 10 Xbox One ports. The final boss is Phil Spencer, and I’ll be damned if I let him beat me again.

In conclusion:

Pros
-Fun time powers
-Solid cast of characters

Cons
-It’s seven hours long, and that’s including the hour and a half of integrated TV episodes
-Story is kooky and not in the quirky-girl-next-door kind of way
-Enemies are uninspired, constantly counteracting time powers and taking away the game’s only fun element
-Walking simulator
-Lapses in story logic are all over the place
-Live action TV episodes are amateur affairs by people obviously better suited producing and directing CG drama
-Map designs are uninspired, leading to hit or miss combat situations
-The final boss is broken in more ways than one
THE GAME IS UTTERLY BROKEN ON PC NO MATTER YOUR SYSTEM SPECS

If you’re reading this as a PC gamer (it’s in the title, dude), then that last bullet point should be the only one you need to determine if this game is right for you. Simply put: it’s not. Avoid at all costs on PC, unless you want to suffer through an ugly slog of a game (lowest settings) at 25-ish FPS that demands you forfeit any love you once held for Remedy Studios. Alan Wake, if your long overdue sequel is headed to Xbox One and Windows 10 any time soon… atone.