Back in its heyday, the Rainbow Six series was the king of tactical shooters. Nobody did realistic, open-ended and challenging shooter scenarios quite like that series did. When the current console generation arrived, the series made a trip to Vegas, and since what happens there stays there, it decided to experiment with third-person cover shooting with successful if slightly forgettable results. After a retread of that scenario in the form of Vegas 2, the series went on a temporary hiatus much like Ubisoft’s other Tom Clancy franchises, Splinter Cell and Ghost Recon. Like those games, it was inevitable that Rainbox Six would come back in slick, rebooted form sooner than later.

Cue Rainbow 6: Patriots breaching the reveal door and roundhouse kicking gamers everywhere in the face. Don’t be fooled, though, because the change from Six to 6 in the title isn’t the only innovation Patriots has planned for the series. Being developed by what you might call the Rainbow Three in the form of Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Red Storm and Ubisoft Toronto, Patriots has quite the talent behind it, not to mention the lofty ambitions required to justify it.

Whereas most realistic military shooters still have their head stuck in the middle-eastern sand by portraying conflict between the US and foreign nations, Rainbox 6: Patriots focuses on a conflict that is, literally, much closer to home. Past Rainbox Six titles have usually taken place on domestic soil, but they settled for the beyond played-out trope of having to fight Mexicans, Arabs, and other stereotypical FPS cannon fodder. In Patriots, your enemy consists of Americans who have banded together to form a terrorist group called the True Patriots. Their goal? To give America a wake up call regarding its economic instability and eliminating key government officials that they feel are to blame for it. Their acts of domestic terrorism will mostly take place in New York City, where a newly formed Team Rainbow are the ones who are sent to stop them.


Rainbow 6: Patriots doesn’t merely get points for being daring by portraying Americans as enemies; it’s Ubisoft’s devotion to social and political commentary that has truly caught our attention. It’s refreshing to see a shooter acknowledge that at the moment, America’s greatest and most important conflict is with itself. Today, we live in an unstable climate dominated by class warfare, sketchy politics and a truly troublesome economy, and the fact that Patriots promises to explore these themes is reason enough to be interested.

Nobody is necessarily right or wrong in this conflict, and the various moral choices that you’ll have to make throughout the game accentuate this fact. It’ll be up to you as the player to determine what exactly will be worth the risk; do you try to help a forcibly-armed suicide bomber, or push him off the edge of a bridge, knowing you’ll have guaranteed the safety of everyone else on the bridge? Do you shoot a terrorist holding a hostage, knowing you may very well injure said hostage? It’s impossible to feel completely safe and justified with anything you do in Patriots, which will hopefully add to the thoughtful and ideologically diverse nature of the narrative. Details about the protagonist himself are sparse at the moment, but Ubisoft has stated that they also wish to flesh him out and create compelling relationships between him and the rest of Team Rainbow.


In terms of the core gameplay, Patriots aims to be an evolution of the mechanics found in the Vegas titles. It’s still very much a tactical first-person shooter complete with realistically weighty weaponry, complimented by a versatile cover system that shifts the game to third-person whenever it’s used. The mechanics will see a fair amount of improvement in terms of overall polish and playability, and the AI of both your teammates and enemies will be vastly improved. To keep up with the trend of advanced technology, the game will also hand you a special X-ray vision mode, though Ubisoft has stated that they don’t want this feature to become overpowered and make the game too easy, so concessions will definitely be made in that area in order to create a balanced experience that still requires planning as much as it does an itchy trigger finger.

Another area where Patriots will be able to distinguish itself will be in its level of interactivity. Throughout the game, you’ll be shifting between perspectives regularly in order to give the conflict a greater sense of scope. It’s in these moments, as well as the various moral choices, where you’ll be able to interact with the world via button prompts and icons that allow you to perform certain actions in a very immersive, involving way.  If you saw the initial gameplay reveal, you’ve already seen many of these, such as having to hold down a trigger to have the suicide bomber keep pressing the detonator button, or being given the optional prompt to shove said bomber off the bridge when you’re playing as one of the operatives. It’s moments like these where player immersion will likely be the highest and have the potential to tell the game’s story in unique and interesting ways.


All in all, we’re confident that Rainbow 6: Patriots will provide another scrumptious serving of nail-biting tactical gameplay encased in a shell of genuinely insightful commentary on the boiling cauldron that is the US’ current political and economic climate. The game was originally scheduled for release in 2013, but a few speedbumps during development had Ubisoft stating that the game may very well be pushed back to a release on next-generation consoles. If that’s the case, so be it. This is a project bursting with potential, and ideally, it should be handled with the same care and finesse that Team Rainbow itself operates with.


Michael Urban
Now an occasional contributer, Michael Urban is the former Editor-in-Chief at OnlySP and has the nickname "Breadcrab" for reasons his therapist still doesn't understand. From the moment he first got hacked in Runescape, he's been uninterested in multiplayer games and has pursued the beauty of the single-player experience, especially in terms of story and creative design. His hobbies include reading, writing, singing in the shower, pretending to be productive, and providing info and feedback regarding the games industry. It is an industry, right? You can ask him a question or send him spam at michaelurban@onlysp.escapistmagazine.com. Also, follow him on Twitter or the terrorists win. (@MichaelUrban1)

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  2. i am seriously excited for this game HOPEFULLY it actually is tactical and isn’t some COD campaign :/

  3. Bout time we get to kill some Mericans in a game. And even conservative right wing nut jobs at that. I hope they keep progressing the series like they are with splinter cell and don’t try to hold on to all the boring old school tactical bullish!t though. This thing could def compete with COD if they go more mainstream with it.

    1. Rainbow Six Vegas 2 was the king of multiplayer shooters before Call of Duty came out, so one can hope. We sure as hell hope to see some gameplay at E3 this year.

    2. Woah. Always nice to see enthusiasm; just make sure not to bring any sharp objects to political debates. XD

      If you need some American-killing to tide you over until this game comes out, may I recommend Spec Ops: The Line?

      1. God, I really need to work on my internet sarcasm, do they have classes for that? I mean, I have always hated the whole /sarcasm thing, but I am seeing more and more why people do it.

        1) Although I have no problem with fighting internal (i.e. non Russian or Middle Eastern) enemies, I think there is a reason most shooters have easily defined good/bad guys. Most people want to feel like they are accomplishing something good, or ridding the world of evil. I don’t want to feel like I just shot my neighbor Ned because he thought wasteful government spending was ruining the country for the future of his children. That is just a major downer, and I usually play games to feel good.

        I would pretty much have to say I would probably side with the enemies in R6 Patriots (although perhaps not to their extent). Granted, I don’t know the whole story, but the fact that Ubi touts it as morally ambiguous probably means that both sides have a point. Government encroaching on every aspect of our lives, detaining us without justification, and spending us into bankruptcy is probably my biggest pet peeve, and I’m not sure I want to kill a bunch of “baddies” who agree with me. (Although I’m sure the Obama crowd would love to take up their assault rifles for that very purpose;) Perhaps the whole point is that Rainbow Six is actually the bad guys???? doubt it..

        2) More importantly, I think Ubi has actually ruined just about every Tom Clancy series they have touched. Ghost Recon is officially dead, the new Splinter Cell Blacklist is going to have f-ing air strikes, large scale firefights, and allow you to hold down a button to kill everyone in sight (in a stealth game mind you), and Rainbow Six has been going downhill since R6:3 (although Vegas1 wasn’t bad). Therefore my comparison to this becoming more like COD was not a good thing…..

        1. I apologize; after reading your comment a second time, I have no idea how I missed the sarcasm.

          I definitely see what you mean. I think this whole issue comes from a conflict in terms of what people want from an antagonist (and his/her faction). Some people want them to be straight up evil and easy to hate, while others want them to be fully fleshed-out, sympathetic characters with well justified motivations and interesting ideologies.

          Which one is the right method? It’s impossible to say. Either one will have people complaining. If you take the ‘Bond villain’ path, people will complain that the antagonist(s) have no depth. If you try to create sympathetic ones, you risk players rooting for them more than the heroes, which we saw recently with the likes of Binary Domain and Assassin’s Creed III.

          One thing’s for sure; I certainly sympathize with YOU. I understand the problem that arises from having the True Patriots being as justified in their actions as they are here. To be honest, I’m also rooting for them more than I am Team Rainbow at the moment. And yeah, the Tom Clancy franchises have taken drastic changes since the previous generation, and they definitely feel more action-focused now.

          Gosh, I’m not even sure what point I was trying to make. I guess it’s that creating sympathetic villains is a double-edged sword and needs to be handled carefully, while straight-up evil villains can also be done well. Personally, I’d like to see more games try to mix the two together. I believe it can be done.

          1. Yeah, I think it is all going to come down to implementation. While I don’t have high hopes for Patriots based on Ubi’s track record, I will still give it a go if there is a demo or it receives glowing, universal praise. When it comes down to moral ambiguity, I guess I could see both sides of the spectrum, as long as the game is still entertaining and doesn’t demonize those playing it too much. I have heard Spec Ops the line does a good job with this, but I have yet to pick that one up.

            As for my dislike of Ubisoft, I think I could better deal with their treatment of the Clancy games if they weren’t my favorite game series of all time. I actually don’t mind action-y, linear, semi tactical games, but after playing the originals and seeing what the series are capable of, they have been leaving a seriously bad taste in my mouth.

            Splinter Cell went from a hardcore, hiding in the shadows stealth game to a full blown third person COD clone. The fact that they are going into air strike territory pretty much sums that up for me. Also including the autokill (mark and execute) feature (that games like Hitman are now latching onto) angers me. Features like that almost require the player to use them, or the game will become too difficult. If they balance the game to be hard without them, it will be far too easy WITH. Just a terrible idea to auto-kill people for me. Isn’t that the point of PLAYING THE GAME?

            Ghost Recon on the other hand used to be about an open battlefield in which you picked a squad of named soldiers and guided and advanced them through multiple open ended missions. You watched their skills grow and upgrade, and knew that if they were killed by a single stray bullet in a mission, you lost them for good and replaced them with a green recruit on the next mission. Now the series has “evolved” into a futuristic invisible camo wearing, shoulder rocket launchering, explodo-rama linear set-piece eye candy fest. It has lost all it’s soul in the pursuit of the casual market.

            I guess Rainbow Six being my favorite of the three, I have the highest hopes for. I also think that Ubi has done the least damage to the series so far, since the Vegas games weren’t half bad (except for the lack of enemy AI and over-scripting). Let’s hope they manage to at least make an engaging story and multi-dimensional protagonists. A small part of me is holding out hope that this game will at least slightly take the series back to its roots in tactical planning.

  4. Does no one know that this game helped to start a mutiny on a Georgia Army base?

    Ubi fired the creative director after the mutiny took place. My guess is that is why we’ve heard nothing from it. They are completely changing it. there is no way that they’d risk releasing a completely media silent game with the potential that the demos had… I hope I’m wrong, but i doubt it.

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