RAPID REVIEWS: Volume 1 (Rainbow Six Siege, Toontown, Rec Room)
Welcome to Rapid Reviews — a series I’m starting where I quickly go through my thoughts on a selection of particular games that I feel like I would not able to write full, rational reviews on for one reason or another. This will mostly a series I’m making for myself where I brush over titles I can’t see myself replaying and/or formally reviewing any time in the future, or probably ever. These short consensus will be reflections of my personal thoughts, so if you’re here to read an “objective” review(s) with legitimate criticisms, stop reading before you bore yourself to death. There’s no telling how many of these articles I will write.
And with that, we start with our first game…
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege (2015)
Why I’m not reviewing it: the game has changed a lot over the years and I have countless hours put into playing it.
Even though this isn’t that serious of a hobby, one of my few anxieties as a game reviewer has always been how I will review games that receive constant updates. Games can sometimes be completely different years down the line from when they first dropped, and sometimes fans play a part in changing them.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege is a game with a landscape that has changed so much, the graphics literally got updated at one point. New operators have dropped every season, certain strategies are impossible to pull off now, and the setup of how games even get played is completely different than what it first was. I don’t even believe there’s a single surviving map in the ranked rotation from the original version that’s exactly the same anymore. (Consulate and bank may be the only ones(?).)
I didn’t even mention the amount of hours I have invested in this game: too many. It has always been a favorite among me and my friends, and only recently did I decide to throw in the towel for it. I think it’s a fine game, but frankly I’m too exhausted from it to ever get enthusiastic about playing it seriously again, not to mention the amount of toxicity within the community the game has garnered is at an all time high — you can’t even play a “casual” game anymore without sweaty players.
If I had to appraise or criticize Rainbow Six Siege in any formal “review” manner, I’d say that it’s definitely one of the most unique first-person shooters; one where patience and deliberation are encouraged rather than just mindless slaughtering. I always like that even when you die, you could still affect the outcome of a round via callouts and camera spotting. Some operators certainly feel more practical than others, and there is a lot of hefty preparation for three minutes (if you even live that long) of playtime. The only real big issue I have is how broken the game still is after 5+ years! If that’s not the most Ubisoft thing ever, I don’t know what is.
I have plenty of good memories with Rainbow Six Siege, and there’s a chance I’ll still play it at some point in the future, but I feel like I’ve reached a point of epiphany with it, which is why I’ll probably never consider reviewing it.
Rating, probably: 7/10
Why I’m not reviewing it: it is a very personal game and all of my musings would sound too familiar (especially on its MMO trappings).
I haven’t indulged in too many MMOs, but the nutty Toontown is certainly my most played. What was once Disney’s Toontown Online is now simply known as Toontown Rewritten. It is basically a carbon copy of the original online game (which was shut down by Disney in 2013 after a ten-year run) except now you don’t have to pay for anything extra (so I’d definitely say Rewritten is “better” than Online).
Essentially, Toontown is only played by those who played it back during its original run — kids, the target audience for the original game, aren’t really discovering Toontown anymore, so nostalgia is really the only thing keeping it alive. It’s actually baffling how active the community still is, and while the player count is most likely not what it once was, the community is as alive as ever.
I’m surprised I was always so into Toontown because it isn’t much more than some simple but stultifying grinding — there’s a lot of “run here, do this, now go here and do this.” You could genuinely spend countless hours maxing out everything in the game, but after you complete the “main” quest line, there’s a real sense of closure with not much else to do except…grind (and to have fun with its extra activities, such as fishing, go-karts, and mini golf, etc.).
Toontown is best when you aren’t done with the main quest line, which is when your accomplishments actually feel rewarding. Around this time last year, I had a surge of playing it for a few months or so, and I’m not sure if that’ll ever happen again.
Rating, probably: 6/10
Rec Room (2016)
Why I’m not reviewing it: I hardly see this as a “video game,” at least not in the traditional sense (it’s more like an interactive platform, which is exactly what it aims to be).
As if the world needed another Roblox. Let me defend myself (as to why I have even played this in the first place): my friends and I were looking for new games to play one day on Xbox. I browsed the free games and discovered this was new and near the top. A few of us downloaded it to see what it was all about and I won’t lie: we had a blast.
Rec Room is a cross-platform game where you can create your own lobby or join other player’s to either play games or to just chat with people online. The main audience is mostly children, unsurprisingly, and there is a voice chat to prove it so. So why or how exactly did my friends and I “have a blast?:” we mainly screwed around with people in voice chat to create our own ironic fun out of a game we otherwise would never sincerely play.
You could argue that this is totally the point behind Rec Room, but I personally find little value in playing a game that’s meant for something you could just do in real life. This game acts as nothing but a substitution for healthy, real-life interaction and a place for today’s technology-infested children and loners to waste time on. Sure, you could argue that all video games are wastes of time, but there’s a certain merit I and many others whole-heartedly hold in them (admittedly a blurred line of “video games as art,” I would pitifully argue), and Rec Room does not succeed in fulfilling or proving that merit.
Though it’s a place where you can make your own fun, Rec Room is a game that could easily not exist, and I swear to you the world wouldn’t be any different.
Rating, probably: 4/10