My journey with Rainbow Six Siege has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride, with many ups and downs and twists and turns. I never know what to expect with each season release every few months. There have certainly been some interesting changes over the years, some for the better and some for the… Well, I don’t know if ‘worse’ is really the word I would use, but some of the changes I would prefer to have never happened. Regardless, Siege has been the one game that I’ve always been able to come back to, time and time again. I still enjoy it and I’ve learned to adapt to whatever Ubisoft Montreal throws at us.
Siege Year 8 Season 4, Operation Deep Freeze, is another mixed bag for me. There’s some good stuff coming up in this season, for sure, but there’s some other things that are a bit of a head scratcher.
As with every season, I’ll start off by introducing you to our newest operator, Isaac “Tubarão” Nunes Oliveira, who will be joining Wolfguard Squad, led by Doc, as a defending operator. Tubarão is from Portugal, having grown up in the Açores archipelago where he would often go on boating trips with his father. He had a knack for helping lift up others who were struggling, and when he joined the marines, his humanitarian outlook was an asset he often put to use, working often in civilian areas and always finding new ways to make sure everyone got to go home.
Tubarão’s gadget is the Zoto Canister which, when deployed, releases a combination of liquid nitrogen and liquid oxygen that freezes any gadgets within its range. The gadget doesn’t discriminate between friend or foe: anything within its range will be disabled. I feel like it’s important to distinguish here, it disables gadgets within range, it doesn’t destroy them, which is great for restricting and delaying access to the objective. It also restricts enemy movement if they walk through affected floorspace. Affected players also leave footprints behind, which are also visible from below, making them vulnerable if the floor is destructible.
The Zoto Canister is a great complement to Kaid’s “Rtila” Electroclaw and Bandit’s Shock Wire. It doesn’t negate their gadgets since it doesn’t destroy anything, but instead can be used to give Bandit or Kaid time to deploy their own gadgets, or for defenders to otherwise respond to the oncoming threat.
He gets a handful of the Zoto Canisters, the effects of which wear off after a brief period of time. Counters to Tubarão would be Maverick, Zofia, Twitch, and Zero. Zofia’s KS79 Lifeline can destroy an activated canister with the impact ammunition, as can Twitch’s Shock Drone and Zero’s ARGUS camera with their tasers. Maverick can, of course, burn a hole through any affected walls. One would think Ash’s M120 CREM could also destroy a canister, but the canister was developed to delay and prevent explosions, so her breaching rounds would be disabled as well.
Tubarão’s loadout is pretty solid. He’s one of the few operators that doesn’t have a shotgun option as a primary or a secondary, instead having an SMG and a rifle as primaries and a pistol, the P226 MK 25, as the secondary. The SMG at hand is the MPX (Valkyrie and Warden), which packs a punch at mid-range. The rifle is the AR-15.50 (Maverick) which is an AR-15 converted to a .50 caliber upper receiver. It’s effective at mid to longer ranges and has incredible stopping power. For secondary gadgets, Tubarão can equip either a proximity alarm or a nitro cell.
Overall, Tubarão feels like a great addition to the defending lineup. At no point does he feel underpowered or overpowered. He’s a 2-speed, 2-health operator, making him great as a roamer as well as for holding down the fort.
Speaking of the fort, we have a new map this season. Lair is the hideout of Deimos hidden within a cave. For those who maybe haven’t been following the story that’s unfolded over the last few years, Deimos is a shadowy figure responsible for the assassination of Masayuki Yahata, for whom Azami had been a bodyguard, which had been blamed on Nighthaven. He also staged an ambush that compromised Thermite, Ash, Caveira, and Zofia and assassinated then head of Rainbow, Harry Pandey.
Back to the Deep Freeze, Lair is a 3-floor facility with a lot of short interior sightlines and some great spots for bottleneck traps, which is great for Kapkan, Thorn, and Lesion mains. The attacker spawn points outside provide a decent amount of coverage for the approach to the building and there’s even some places where long-range operators, like Kali and Glaz, can get a good view from a distance. However, once inside they’ll likely want to switch to their secondaries, though I did see some amazing close-range Kali action from our demo squads.
The balancing and other changes is where we start to see some of the head scratchers for this season. First off is the updates for frag grenades. Frags are becoming more available, with them being added to the arsenals of operators IQ, Lion, Sens, and Blackbeard. That’s not the weird part. They’ve changed how grenades work in the game entirely, because I guess they were too overpowered? I wholeheartedly disagree, but I’m apparently in the minority. So what did they do? They removed the cook time. Now the clock won’t start ticking until you’ve released the grenade, with the timer being slightly shortened if the grenade bounces off of something. Gone are the days where you can hold onto that grenade, either blowing yourself up or finally throwing it and getting that satisfying last-second kill.
I would like to know who wanted this. This change just seems so out of the blue (or is it purple now?). It’s so out of line with what we’ve become used to with grenade mechanics in literally EVERY shooter game out there. Call of Duty? Cook the ‘nade. Battlefield? Cook the ‘nade. CSGO? I wouldn’t know, I’ve never played it. But you get the point. Why throw away years of precedence to make this change for an issue that I’ve literally never heard a single soul complain about.
Yes, I am genuinely irritated about this. Can we just not?
Another oddity coming to Siege is the Marketplace Beta, which will allow players to buy and sell items in game for R6 Credits. I assume this will be similar to the CSGO skins market, which has grown exponentially since the game’s release in 2012. I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing as it is likely to drive revenue via the purchase of R6 Credits, I just don’t particularly care to see this feature in Siege. I can see why some would want it, if they’re trying to complete the Black Ice set or something like that (I mean, I really want Nøkk’s mop head), and this can help drive down having to spend money on Alpha Packs where you only have a slight chance at getting something you like, though those are obviously here to stay as well. This is just another money driver for the game.
Quality of Life changes this season include an update to the reputation and commendation systems being put into one section and a slight change to how your reputation is calculated, as they’ll be taking commendations (post-match votes) into account. We also got a glimpse at what’s coming for fixing Battle Pass navigation, which is basically a zoomed-out view of the same model, making it easier to see what is where. I personally think it still needs a bit of a redesign again, or to go back to the linear style, but this will go a long way towards making even viewing the Battle Pass less unpleasant.
The game’s onboarding features are also continuing to get tweaked. Situations and Training Grounds are going away, being replaced by a couple different things.
The Versus AI playlist allows players to go up against AI defenders. It will launch with two difficulty levels, with Beginner being more open to newer players, giving them the chance to experience Siege while also letting them learn how to play Siege. Advanced amps the experience up a bit. You’ll queue up like you would a normal Siege match. Defending AI will prepare the objective area with their own traps and gadgets (with more AI operator options to be released in the future), and they will react more intuitively to the player’s actions. This will be a great way to get warmed up before heading into online matches against real players. In a later update, players will also have the opportunity to play as defending operators against AI attackers.
Map Run will teach players how to navigate certain maps and situations. There are two different Map Run modes. The Landmark Drill runs the player through basic navigation and landmarks while Target Drill teaches players the common routes taken to bomb sites as well as common opponent positions. In Target Drill, you are able to turn Dummy Aggression on or off, meaning if Aggression is on, the dummies will actually shoot back.
Versus AI and Map Run are both geared towards teaching people how to play Rainbow Six Siege’s core game mode, Bomb, as this is the mode played in Ranked as well as in the esports scene. However, these tools can also be used to check out recently released map updates as well as changes to character loadouts.
The last two major updates are a huge win for controller players that have literally been getting requested for years. What features can PC players take advantage of that controller players cannot? Hipfire leaning and control remapping! Well, it’s finally happening! This is long overdue and will surely make a controller player’s whole day.
And with that, the 8th competitive year of Rainbow Six Siege will come to a close with a bit of a chill. The story that has been unfolding continues to provide those of us who crave another Rainbow Six campaign at least a small carrot until we eventually get a new story-based Rainbow Six game (please just release Rainbow Six Patriots). Of course, Siege’s 8th birthday is just around the corner, which will give us another milestone to celebrate.
Cassie Peterson is an Editor for Gaming Trend but also a sporadic content creator and exceedingly average Rainbow Six Siege player. She goes by MzPanik on Twitter and Twitch and all of the gaming platforms.