The Chalet rework, delayed Ping 2.0 and a certain Sam Fisher (huge for those of us that know the guy from Splinter Cell). Year 5, Season 3 of Rainbow Six Siege is a hefty update to say the least, with a lot going on beneath the surface of a celebrity protagonist and a popular haunt in need of refurb. With that said, it only makes sense to start with the legend that is …

… Sam Fisher

He’s known as Zero as an Operator, but Ubisoft is upfront about his Third Echelon identity. In the Splinter Cell series famous for its third-person, stealth-action, Sam Fisher is a lone wolf tasked with black ops requiring total invisibility. For Rainbow Six Siege, Fisher, but we’ll refer to him as Zero from now on, is much more action-oriented given the FPS scenario, but no less tactical – defined by the mantra: ‘Prepare, Execute, Vanish’.

Zero has medium armour and medium speed as an Attacker and is tempting to adopt as a roamer though he is designed to coordinate more closely with the team. His Unique Gadget is an Argus launcher that propels miniature cameras that stick to any surface. They’ll also burrow through any breakable or reinforced barriers to provide visibility on rooms, or switched to show the same location from outside.

As a neat touch, Ubisoft has the deployment sound mimicking the night-vision goggles whine from Splinter Cell. The downside (deliberate) is that defenders are alerted to their presence. It’s only fair since the cameras are also armed with a single laser blast that can destroy gadgets or wound nearby enemies. That’s on top of the valuable intel that they provide.

Zero’s loadout is reminiscent of console shooters of old, which is no bad thing. His mains are an SC3000K AR or MP7 submachine gun. The former is just a joy to use, a great all-rounder.

In keeping with Zero’s stealth heritage, his sidearm is a 57USG handgun with suppressor, which is deadly accurate given the time to line up shots. Zero is surgical in the right hands. Going back to what we said about shielding the team, Zero has Claymore mines to position or he can join the assault with frag grenades. He’s a strong addition to any Attacker team.

Thatcher was slightly less fun however

If you’re fond of sneaky Operators, Thatcher was likely included in your mains. He’s been compromised slightly, but for the good of the game overall. His EMP temporarily disables most gadgets now, as opposed to destroying them. The exceptions are Lesion’s mines that are immune, though locations are spotted, and Bandit’s batteries hold in place. The idea is that attacking teams must coordinate their efforts around the small window of opportunity. Time pressure seems to be a theme emerging throughout Shadow Legacy, which we do like.

Chalet rework is sweet

As one of the 11 maps to have arrived with the base game in 2015, Chalet should be familiar to all … as are its many frustrations. It does appear that Ubisoft has addressed all issues that prevent Chalet from being ideal, starting with the freedom to rappel onto and then traverse the rooftop. Working from the top down, the Master Bedroom is now part of an enclosed terrace with a staircase connecting to the Trophy Room below. The adjacent room is a Solarium where the balcony once was. 

The Mezzanine now connects to the Office balcony where many of the windows are now blocked. So too is the long window that gave visibility into the Kitchen. A cheeky window has been added, however, above the garage to make it harder to stay hidden outside. In the basement there’s now a corridor to create a rotation route between sites during Bomb. Other improvements to how matches generally flow include the Wine Cellar, which is now one large room as opposed to being split into two as before.

It’s taken five years of heavy footfall and goodness knows how many notes based on player feedback, but you can rest assured that all changes are gameplay oriented as well as being more impressive on the cosmetic side for PCs that can handle the highest settings at speed.

Secondaries receive significant further attention

Somewhat boldly, Ubisoft is using Shadow Legacy to loosen/shake things up with Operator responsibilities. From Y5S3 onwards, all Defenders can access a pool of 10 Reinforcements in the match, no matter how many players are in from the start. This is no longer a Unique Gadget, meaning that any Operator can throw up Reinforcements where needed, taking the pressure off of newcomers serving as anchors and giving more freedom to roamers in general.  

Meanwhile, Attackers have a Hard Breach secondary in addition to the Unique variety carried by Thermite, Hibana, Maverick and Ace. This one is distinct in that it fuses soon after it is deployed, meaning that the Attacker does not have the option to place and wait for go. As a defender you’ll want to recognise the sound it makes, or at least be ready to respond at the sound of any outside activity. Again, this adds to the pressurised nature of encounters.

Yet more intel

Ping 2.0 is here at last, enriching the quality of tactical insight passed remotely. Drones and cameras are used by active Operators to spot objects as readily as line of sight. The latter can also be operated from ‘beyond the grave’ (Operators taken out of the current round). At the beginning of each match all Operators are assigned a numbered Ping marker. In addition to standard yellow there are also red and blue markers to flag contextual objects that include gadgets and barriers.

Too much information? Arguably this is more accurate shorthand for agents in the field, and Ubisoft has found an elegant way to communicate.

Setting new sights

Optics are receiving an upgrade in Shadow Legacy too, with specific sight magnification and features such as holographic lenses being assigned to particular Operators. The new grading system ranges from sights capable of 1.5 all the way up to 3.0. Instead of a generic ACOG, that capability is being described as 2.5x magnification. Expect a new red dot variant too.

There is also an Accessibility option for optics being provided with colour-blind players in mind, though it can be tinkered with to merely suit taste. There’s a wide range of colours to choose from and a slider to set the opacity of the reticule. Although this may seem a minor addition to some, many of the guys we play with will benefit for the reasons intended which is fantastic news. 

Choosing your battles more wisely

First we got Operator pick and ban, now we’re having Map Ban too. Ahead of the match the players can vote which location they’d least like to play; and this is relevant to Unranked and Ranked competitive games. Map Ban basically ensures that you go to the happiest place from a choice of three. You’ll be served a choice made at random from the remaining two.

You don’t need to ban any maps of course. Just that Ubisoft wanted to give you that sense of power before the game even gets underway. Also, they understand about Kanal 😉

Plentiful community features incoming

It’s R6 Siege’s turn to get a fulsome statistics service, something that’s common to many competitive platforms. This one is tidy and looks easy to navigate, giving access to your performance attributes across the previous Week, Month and an entire Season. The My Siege Stats service will be going live from the top of Y5S3, all you’ll need is your username.

To complement My Siege Stats, a Match Replay function is being debuted on the Shadow Legacy servers during the Alpha phase. Your previous 10 matches are stored on the R6 servers for replay from any Operator POV or Spectator cam. It’s primarily intended as a study tool, but can just as easily serve as a convenient highlight reel for impressive feats.

If you’re becoming serious about your R6 Siege outings, a new Squad Finder app will also accompany Shadow Legacy that should help recruit a team worthy of your awesome skills. This should be a way in for many players whose circle of friends remain ‘R6 Siege averse’.

When can I get it?

Rainbow Six Siege Shadow Legacy is scheduled for release on September 15. All content is free except Zero (Sam Fisher), who is available exclusively to players with a Season 5 pass on launch day. Seven days later, Zero can be purchased using Renown or R6 Credits. 

Last Updated: August 17, 2020

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