Operation Void Edge marks the next seasonal update headed to Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege, spearheaded by a new duo of playable Operators, Iana and Oryx. From an interstellar technician to an enigmatic warrior, the season demonstrates two contrasting personas, even reflected in their contributions to gameplay.
Kickstarting Year 5 content plans, Void Edge marks a significant milestone for the tactical shooter. It drops amid continued growth beyond 55 million players, as Ubisoft transitions toward the next phase of its post-launch support. However, that equally follows a mixed bag of Operators throughout 2019, with many failing to provide a lasting impact on the meta.
But with two hours hands-on with Oryx and Iana, Ubisoft appears back on track for Year 5.
Meet Rainbow's new master of deception, Iana
Fronting Rainbow Six Siege's transition into Year 5, Void Edge enlists a master of deception as its new attacker. This seasoned Dutch astronaut comes from a less conventional background, with weeks logged on the International Space Station, and a proven field technician. But her introduction couples with the holographic Gemini Replicator, expanding the wealth of offensive intelligence with a sizeable departure from the gadgets of past.
The illusive device provides our first formal drone alternative, capable of mirroring Iana's slimline albino complexion in a controllable holographic form. The gadget looks and sounds like Iana in the flesh, assembling a 1:1 digital double, and controlled with the full mobility of the two-armor, two-speed Operator. While conceptualized for high-risk space exploration in lore, its repurposed military application creates a new variable for defenders to wrangle in Year 5.
Iana can summon her hologram as many times as desired throughout the round, with free rein to explore the map throughout a 15-second window. While unable to interact with the environment in the state, hampered by an inability to shoot or melee barricades, it provides a whole new approach to intelligence. That new perspective doesn't add a ton to gathered information, but fulfills traditional droning utility, surveying an objective with reduced risk.
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Where the Gemini shines is the true-to-life appearance, primed as a disruptive decoy. It can open new windows of opportunity, disrupting common roaming routes or luring anchors off-site. The gadget's short recharge also makes it more forgiving in creative applications, shifting toward effective time management in the round.
There's a clear opportunity for Iana in Rainbow Six Siege, building upon player uncertainty Alibi introduced with her Prisma technology. Only a handful of rounds saw me utilizing Iana to lure roamers into traps, or increasing pressure on anchors during an objective push. And while it's hard to gauge an Operator's long-term impact, I can't wait to see her evolve in high-level play.
But landing a single bullet on the projection will shatter its illusion, dissolving into static, and kicking Iana off the device until recharged. The digital makeup leaves it prone to Mute jammers and electrified surfaces. It also leaves a trail of giveaways across defender cameras, unable to be pinged, and unregistered by Maestro Evil Eye thermals. That makes it easy to identify the real Iana, but when under pressure, even the game's best players are likely to be duped.
Beyond her two-faced gadgetry, Iana packs the G36C and ARX200 primaries, providing two assault rifle flavors after a lengthy absence on the attack. Previously used by Ash and Nomad, the combination offers considerable fragging capability to hold ground in gunfights, backed by the MK1 9mm.
Oryx brings the big guns to roaming
While Void Edge's Iana thrives on cutting-edge technologies, her defensive partner, Oryx, channels unfiltered power. The Jordanian Operator leverages his burly physique to smashing results, taming his talents for unmatching roaming and utility after years on the run.
Forgoing advanced gadgetry, Oryx is defined by his Remah Dash, delivering a high-impact boost with devasting results. Akin to the Kool-Aid Man commercials, one thrust will blow open soft walls, smashing wooden barricades, and taking down obstacles in his path. That aggression can also be targeted toward Operators, even throwing the most fortified shield Operators on their backs. Finally, a way to deal with that wall-hugging Montagne.
Upper-body strength transpires in his ancillary skills, flaunting hatch-climbing capabilities yet unseen in Rainbow Six Siege. A single button press enables him to effortlessly scale hatches in seconds, either quickly ascending to the next floor, or peeking at overhead action. While Amaru was the first hatch-climbing Operator, Oryx brings a more streamlined and flexible solution – that's also a ton quieter too. While blowing through walls might be Oryx's signature, his verticality could have the greatest long-term impact.
Oryx's appearance conveys a robust anchor at first glance, but his loadout best complements roaming. With three consecutive charges (recharging over time) and unlimited hatch climbing, chaining abilities provides ways to traverse the map like never before. It takes the verticality of roaming to the next level, with ample opportunities to flank attackers on the approach.
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Oryx bears weaponry to accompany that playstyle, with choice of the (ACOG-less) MP5 and SPAS-12 as primaries, accompanied by the USP40 semi-automatic pistol and Bailiff 410 revolver. That provides a kit adaptable to mid-range anti-personnel encounters or close-quarters buckshot to break hatches.
But as with any Operator, he inherits well-defined weaknesses, requiring additional forethought over alternative roamers. While Oryx doesn't face hard counters, smashing through walls will drain 10 HP, either limiting his breaching capability or demanding additional help from Doc. Nomad's Airjabs and Gridlock's Trax Stingers will also halt his charge, requiring extra attention to underfoot hinderances.
Oryx distinguishes himself through his wall-charging tricks, but it's clear how real value comes from hatch-climbing. Tested across several rounds on the newly-reworked Oregon, retaining its tiered floorplan linked by hatches, his abilities unlock rotation routes previously impossible before Void Edge. That level of mobility extends across a vast majority of the map pool, potentially helping him secure a regular presence on the roster moving forward.
Year 5 and beyond
Rainbow Six Siege Operation Void Edge serves as just a portion of Ubisoft's Year 5 plans, scheduled to unveil its full roadmap on Sunday, February 16, 2020. In the meantime, Void Edge is scheduled to make its Test Server (TS) debut on PC from February 17, followed by three weeks of trials preluding a public release.
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