Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege PS4 PlayStation 4 Beta First Impressions 1

Here at Push Square we've been checking out the closed beta for Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege on the PlayStation 4 – and boy has this game been kept under a rock since its first announcement at E3 last year. There's been a distinct lack of interest in the title since its reveal, but it finally appears to have found its feet with this pre-release taster. Anyway, onto the game itself...

For those of you out of the loop, this is a five-versus-five multiplayer title which involves a SWAT team taking on a group of terrorists in a realistic shooter, where each player only has one life per round. It's a similar setup to classics like Counter-Strike, SOCOM, and even The Last of Us – just with lots more destruction of walls, ceilings, and floors.

The primary difference between Six Siege and the other shooters is the sheer number of options that you have available when defending and attacking. This is a game that's best played with friends who you can communicate with, right the way down to selecting which class you'll choose prior to a match. You'll then need to decide between you where to defend or attack from, and which tactics you'll employ. We like this element of the release, as it brings something refreshing to a stagnating genre.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege PS4 PlayStation 4 Beta First Impressions 2

There's an absolute ton to think about: each room has multiple entrances, windows, doors, and trapdoors. And, of course, there's the destructibility which means that every round will play differently to the last. We've played several rounds now where our team has been undone by a breached wall, and we've been forced to learn from our mistakes as a consequence. Sometimes, though, a well-executed strategy will simply get the better of you – and the tension that this creates is wholly unique.

There are two different game modes in the beta: Disarm Bomb, where the attackers have to shut down some explosives in order to win, and Secure Area, where you have to prevent the opposing team from entering a marked location. Both modes are similar, but so far we prefer the accessibility of Secure Area, even though we suspect that Disarm Bomb will have slightly longer legs.

In addition to the two playlists, we also got to explore a couple of the maps that will be available in the game: one's set in a large house, while the other takes place mainly in a concrete building with shipping containers around the outside. With these maps the terrorists get a choice of which areas they want to defend – each including different advantages and pitfalls.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege PS4 PlayStation 4 Beta First Impressions 3

We also got to play as some of the different classes – or Operators, as they're known in the game. Each one is either a defender or an attacker and comes with different weapons and a unique special ability. Smoke, for example, is a defender who can place down poisonous smoke bombs that can be detonated on his command; Fuze, meanwhile, is an attacker who comes equipped with a riot shield, and his special is a cluster bomb, which can be placed on breakable surfaces so that you can drill through into rooms. These different classes can make the difference in a game that comes down to the wire, so knowing how to use them is essential.

The only disappointment at this early stage is that friendly fire is on, which means that you absolutely have to play with people that you know. We've started several rounds in which we've been blown to pieces or shot dead right from the start, and it's just not fun. As the title's playerbase matures this will probably become less of a problem, but it is something to be wary of if you're planning to pick the title up.

Still, the game's shaping up to be a very enjoyable shooting experience that's getting short shrift in a holiday period packed with blockbusters like Call of Duty: Black Ops III and Fallout 4. The fact that it offers something fundamentally different to the competition may be what helps it to stand out in the end, though.

Have you had a chance to go hands-on with the Rainbow Six Siege beta yet? What are your impressions so far? Think carefully about your next move in the comments section below.