Ubisoft’s tactical shooter Rainbow Six Siege is about to embark on its fifth year of operation in 2020, bringing with it new mechanics, modes, quality-of-life tweaks, and new door-smashing, head-popping operators. This week, at the Six Invitational tournament in Montreal, the Rainbow Six dev team officially unveiled year five’s first season: Void Edge, starring two particularly unusual operators: Iana and Oryx
Our new Attacker is Nienke Meijen – better known by her call-sign “Iana”. Originally hailing from The Netherlands, the galaxy itself is Iana’s true home, having spent years working as a highly skilled aerospace engineer. Iana’s expert knowledge of complex, futuristic technology makes her a valuable asset to Team Rainbow, as demonstrated by the devious gadget she brings to battle.
Iana is equipped with the Gemini Replicator – essentially a fully controllable holographic recreation of herself – that looks, moves and sounds just like the real thing. Not unlike Schwarzenegger in Total Recall, Iana has a full-size scout at her beck and call, one that can run ahead, search rooms, distract the enemy, and act as a decoy from more genuine threats.
The Gemini Replicator can be deployed anytime Iana’s feet are firmly on the ground. It cannot be used to scan rooms or ping enemies, nor can it be left active while the real Iana is in motion. A fragile device, the holographic projection can be destroyed by a single bullet, jammed by Mute, or fritzed by electricity. Should her clone be interrupted, Iana can launch a replacement after a short cooldown period.
You think this is the real Quaid? It is.
From the delicate, finely-tuned tech of Iana, we transition to the raw power of new Defender, “Oryx”. Trained by fellow operator Kaid, Jordanian-born Saif Al Hadid has a troubled past, mostly spent languishing in dingy, forgotten prisons. Rather than breaking his will, Oryx used these bleak formative years to strengthen his self-belief, becoming a stoic warhorse of an operator, strong in body and spirit.
Having tuned said body to muscular perfection, Oryx is capable of two amazing feats of physical strength. After a brief dash, he can smash clean through barricades, unenforced walls, and also hapless operators. Like a brick through a plate-glass window, Oryx bursts onto the scene, taking unsuspecting Attackers by surprise while clearing a path for his fellow team members. Oryx does suffer for his art, taking damage as he bursts through plasterboard like The Winter Soldier, but the potential for this ability is readily apparent.
If literally walking through walls wasn’t enough, Oryx also has the ability to leap – yes, LEAP, – through breached hatchways, helping him reach higher ground with ease. So be careful next time you peer down through a hole, lest you find this man-beast roaring in your direction. With his aggressive mobility, it feels like Oryx would be better suited in an Attacker role. But that’s the rub because by taking the fight to the Attackers, Oryx turns the hunters into the hunted.
The next map in line for a rework is everyone’s favourite Manson mansion: Oregon. This cultist paradise has had its first floor and basement redesigned, creating a wider entrance-way staircase and a more open-plan bedroom hallway. The tower section has also been expanded. For the most part, the ground floor remains relatively unchanged. Having played the new Oregon map, I can attest that it’s a significant rework, and I definitely dig the fresh layout.
From a technical standpoint, Void Edge will finally address two points that have been frustrating players for some time. Destruction mechanics have been overhauled, and melee-ing a barricade will now always punch out a clean hole. Another great feature concerns the prep phase and will see Defender drones launch from the same side of the map as their chosen spawn point, allowing players the chance to immediately start plotting their trajectory toward the objective. These are both very welcome changes.
Long-time operators Twitch and Lesion are also receiving tweaks in Void Edge. Twitch’s troublesome drone now comes loaded with only three shots, though it can charge further shots over time. A huge damage nerf reduces these shots from 10 to a measly 1. This still allows for sneaky assists and annoying distractions, but Twitch’s drone can hardly be considered as “lethal” anymore.
As for Lesion, our favourite pin-prick defender can no longer see his Gu mines once they leave his line of sight. These little cans of joy will also no longer deal damage on impact, though they will continue to drain health from the enemy until they are removed. To redress the balance somewhat, Gu Mines have had a slight damage buff from four to six.
Finally, Void Edge will see the long, long, long-awaited arrival of Caveira’s cool MMA-style Elite skin, which sees our girl in Brazil rocking sparring gear and sans her skull facepaint – though this makes the dangerous BOPE interrogator no less intimidating.
As the Six Invitational continues, we can expect to hear more cool info and announcements regarding Siege and its future content, so stay frosty. Void Edge is expected to hit the Test Server on February 17, before transitioning to the main server sometime thereafter.
Rainbow Six Siege is available now on PS4, PC, and Xbox One.