Rainbow Six Siege AmaruSource: Ubisoft

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege receives its next shakeup with Operation Steel Wave, the latest seasonal update headed to the hit multiplayer shooter. Ubisoft packs the usual pair of two new Operators expanding its counterterrorism roster, augmenting combat with abilities and weapon loadouts to match. While Ace translates a career in search and rescue to a hard-breaching alternative, African defender Melusi anchors foes in place with an attacker-slowing deployable.

The arrival of Steel Wave also revisits Rainbow Six Siege's grappling hook aficionado, Amaru, following her debut midway through 2019 with her signature Garra Hook. The Peruvian explorer turned military specialist joined with Ember Rise, coupled with an ability capable of thrusting through barricades, while quickly clambering ledges and hatches. And in concept, its point-and-shoot design would elevate mobility to scale its multi-story arenas.

Best online learning tools for kids: ABCmouse, Reading IQ, & more

But Ubisoft's original vision for Amaru failed to translate at launch and saw unable to gain traction among the pool of over 50 Operators. Various limitations of the Garra Hook birthed in balancing drove player frustrations, from slow entry, bellowing sound cues, and a lengthy weapon draw animation. While fun to play, those traits contrasted her identity, leaving Amaru near-worthless in the competitive backdrop of Rainbow Six.

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Rainbow Six Siege AmaruSource: Ubisoft

Steel Wave brings a significant rework to Amaru, with various adjustments to the properties to the Garra Hook, and potential to skew her overall presence in high-level play. The changes primarily speed up Amaru, with smoother animations, faster reactivity, and amping up her element of surprise. And following one week of early access, Amaru isn't only fun, but finally more viable in-game.

Amaru's makeover centers on the Garra Hook, alleviating several frustrations familiar to any player. Quicker animations and recovery time upon landing are the defining tweaks, coupled with control over reticle aim while mid-flight. It provides Amaru with a fighting chance upon touching down, raising her weapon in around 40ms, resulting in a sizeable speed increase over live servers.

Ubisoft has also revised how the Garra Hook interacts with barricades, previously popping upon locking onto the frame. That early warning, followed by her travel and recovery time, provided a generous window for defenders to retaliate. The update now pops the glass layer and reels in once locked — subtle audio cues for defenders — with the full barricade collapsing as she enters. It eliminates the notable pitfalls that plagued her first iteration but retaining the familiar encounters for defense.

While Amaru primarily shines coasting from out to in, she also brings hatch-climbing capabilities once under the roof. Steel Wave tweaks her to open hatches while grappling through them from below, lessening the load on the SuperNova and ITA12S shotguns. That eliminates the process of blasting out hatches and ascending, providing a jump in one swoop.

With Operation Steel Wave on the horizon, Ubisoft finally takes one of 2019's worst Operators (waiting for you, Warden) and finally refits her with the locomotion deserved. The buff centers on removing former restrictions imposed on players, but still retaining the same strengths and counters entwined within the meta. While her pick rate was never an issue according to internal data, these upgrades finally position her as a viable candidate within your lineup.

How these changes play out among the public remains unclear, but still comes balanced for defenders. Charging into hot areas exposes Amaru — despite her improved recovery time — and those sound cues are distinct. But if you miss those initial warnings, Amaru injects an unpredictable variable for defenders to wrangle.

Amaru gets back into shape with Operation Steel Wave, the next Rainbow Six Siege update bringing new Operators, the House map rework, and various balancing changes. The update makes its Test Server (TS) debut on PC for three consecutive weeks, followed by likely June availability for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC live servers.

Eyes On Target

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege

Addictive, challenging shooter action

Ubisoft's hit shooter is hotter than ever, touting tense tactical gameplay, and regular free updates. Entering 2020 with millions of players, Rainbow Six isn't slowing down.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.