Rainbow Six Siege's match replay tool is a cheater's worst nightmare

rainbow six siege shifting tides
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

For the past five years, Rainbow Six Siege has been the only game that gets me paranoid about cheaters. It's not something that comes up in every match I play, but when I do see something suspicious from an enemy or teammate, it's all I can think about. I spend the rest of the match looking for signs, examining their profile, and deliberating on whether or not I should report them.

The problem is that cheating can be really hard to detect in Siege, where a normal round often includes non-cheaters using sound and game sense to headshot someone straight through a wall. Good Siege players look like they could be hacking even when they aren't, so when a cheater comes along with a wallhack or an aimbot, it's not hard for them to masquerade as the real deal. That is, until Match Replay finally arrived last month.

Match Replay automatically records all of your recent matches and lets you play them back in-game from the perspective of any player. Fans have enjoyed replays for years in shooters like Overwatch and CS:GO as a way to improve their game or save memorable moments. Most important to Siege, however, is the tool's ability to finally answer the question: Was that guy cheating?

To me the best thing about the replay system is the ability to find cheaters. Here's a clip of a blatant cheater in casual recorded in x2 speed. from r/Rainbow6

Well, that one definitely was.

Found 3 cheater in 2 days. Reported them all to ubisoft support team. One in Villa, two in Border from r/Rainbow6

Yep, they were too.

He has a very good gaming chair from r/Rainbow6

Oh, come on.

There is nowhere for a wallhacker to hide in Siege anymore. As you can see, replays show every player's outlines by default (similar to watching Siege esports). Instead of spectating a suspicious player to see if they might be tracking people through walls unrealistically, you can roughly simulate what they would be seeing if wallhacks were active. Watching clips like this feels validating, even if the cheater still ruined the actual match

Crafty cheaters can pretend they're not looking through walls or purposefully miss a few shots here and there, but experienced players know what real instinct looks like. Things are different now that you can always jump into the shoes of the offender after the fact and scrutinize every twitch of their camera.

Now, if only the rest of Match Replay wasn't so janky. The feature is in beta, so bugs are expected, but Ubisoft has a long way to go before it's a robust anti-cheat tool. Elements sometimes render incorrectly in-game (weapons might get misaligned or hands might disappear) and there are too many confusing hotkeys buried in settings menus. Worst of all is that you can't report players from inside the tool. Siege's built-in reporting options only appear while you're in an active game, so reporting a cheater retroactively requires you to hunt down the username and submit a report on Ubisoft's support site. Yuck. If at any point I have to load an external site to tell the game that someone is cheating, the game has failed me.

Still, Match Replay is a crucial step forward for the competitive FPS. I expect most players to use it for recording highlights (which anyone with an Nvidia card should already be doing with Shadowplay), but I see myself using it most often to learn from better players. I used to try to suss out how an enemy heard me coming from the brief perspective I see in the killcam, but now I can watch their entire process if I want. That's really neat.

Morgan Park
Staff Writer

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.