When I played Rainbow Six Siege [official site] back in April I was enamored. Its round-based terrorists vs. counter-terrorists is fundamentally similar to Counter-Strike, but the destruction tech that underpins it and allows you to smash through any wall makes a fundamental change to the weapons, your tactics, and the level design.
The next closed beta launches later today and there's a new trailer introducing its maps and things below.
The beta comes with three maps - a French Consulate in "Africa", an S.A.S. training facility based in Hereford, England, and a third 'Domestic Residence' set in Somewhere, USA, which was previously featured in the beta earlier this year. This is also the first opportunity we'll have had to play the game's Terrorist Hunt Classic mode, which allows four people to fight against enemy AI rather than other players. This mode was superb in Rainbow Six Vegas 1 and 2 and so I'm glad it's returning. You can find more details of the beta - including expected problems - over on the game's blog.
I'm looking forward to Rainbow Six Siege because my favourite Counter-Strike maps were always those that put one team in an entrenched position, as the terrorists are on cs_assault and cs_militia. The imbalance makes for better stories, of underdogs and last stands, and encourages distinct tactics from each team instead of both simply running towards a set of central chokepoints. Every Rainbow Six Siege map, meanwhile, puts the terrorists in an entrenched place, because that's what the entire game is about: one team barricades themselves in, and the other attempts to breach and clear.
It's less of a balance problem here than in Counter-Strike's few equivalents because of the ability to take a sledgehammer and smash a hole in any wall you don't like the look of. Can't find an open window or door that isn't a kill zone? Travel to the level above and smash your way down through the floor, then. It's a thrill to do, it makes games more tense because attacks can come from any angle, and it makes a feature of normally despised multiplayer feature like camping. Smart.
The beta should launch around 9am Eastern Time, which is 2pm BST, which means the game is likely live by the time you read this. If you're not in the closed beta, you can still sign up the waiting list via the game's site.