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Rainbow Six: Siege is free to try & on sale this weekend

The Italian Job

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege (to drop its seldom-used full name) really has come from strength to strength. Once an also-ran, now a genuine esports phenomenon. For those fashionably late to the party and confused as to what's going on, imagine Counter-Strike, but where all but the sturdiest of walls, floors and ceilings can be shot to ribbons, and where every single player has a bag full of fancy gadgets and traps to flummox their opposition.

It's best played with friends on voice-comms, but hugely popular nonetheless. This weekend is a fine time to give it a try for yourself. From now until Sunday evening, the game is completely free to try on Steam, and discounted for those who decide they'll be sticking around.

This is an especially good time to start on the game, too - just before the addition of a new Italian map, plus two more similarly Italian characters to shake up the balance of the game long-term. Operation Para Bellum (as its known) will be fully unveiled on the 20th, but we have at least gotten a peek at the two new Operators to play as. First up is Alibi, probably the most high-tech of all characters, given her ability to deploy holographic decoys.

Cover image for YouTube video

The other character on the way is Maestro, who has some manner of remote weapon system the he can control through his phone. Unsurprisingly, he's a defensive operator.

Cover image for YouTube video

The game is in rude health right now, with Steamcharts (unofficial, but scraping active player counts direct from Steam) showing that it's been gaining players steadily since March 2016. The number of active players at any given time has increased by around 1000% in that time on Steam alone, and given that this is one of Ubisoft's flagship titles, quite a few players more are likely logging in through Uplay. It may not be the biggest esports shooter on Steam, but it 's coming a close third after Plunkbat and Counter-Strike.

As temptingly priced as it may be during this sale, I would recommend that anyone that enjoys the game avoid buying the Starter Edition. While it'll get you into the game at budget price, it also gives you a much smaller range of characters to play as off the bat, plus adds an extra mountain of grind in unlocking the remainder. Unless something has changed recently, there's no way to reverse this account limitation. Just stick to the Standard edition of the game, which costs a little more, but is steeply discounted alongside the free weekend.

Rainbow Six Siege is free to play via Steam from now until 1pm Pacific time on Sunday. The Steam sale on the game will continue until 10am Monday, also Pacific.

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Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege

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Dominic Tarason