16 Aug 2021 2:32 PM +00:00

Rainbow Six Siege Crystal Guard Preview: Ubisoft Not Afraid To Mix Things Up In Year 6

It's a story that's been told for six years now; Rainbow Six Siege launched lacking in content, and more than a little buggy, but over more than half a decade has grown into one of the most exciting first-person shooters available.

Each of the game's Operations has added to the title as a whole, and the latest one, Crystal Guard, is no different. In fact, it might be one of the most exciting updates in some time.

Read More: Rainbow Six Siege Year 6 Preview

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Rainbow Six Siege Crystal Guard Preview: Ubisoft Not Afraid To Mix Things Up In Year 6

Key art showing Rainbow Six Siege's next Operator, Osa, standing beside her trademark Talon 8 shield.
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The headline addition, as with many of the game's Operations, is Osa. This Croatian Operative is an attacker, but with a more defensive gadget.

That's the Talon 8, a clear, bulletproof shield that can be placed on doors or windows. The idea, Ubisoft told us at a recent preview event, is to establish a sort of beachhead.

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Players can move up, secure a location with Osa, and then press on. While the shield is bulletproof, it won't survive explosive damage, and can be smashed to obscure the vision of whoever is on the other side – a mechanic added in Operation North Star.

She can carry the shield, too, but she won't be able to use a weapon, sprint, or go prone.

If you're worried about enemy squads rotating, then Osa also comes armed with a claymore as an option, or she can equip a smoke grenade to lob over the Talon 8. Weapons-wise, she has the choice of the 556XI assault rifle or the PDW-9 SMG.

Image showing Rainbow Six Siege's Osa Operator working on a computer.
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While Siege stopped adding new maps some time ago, Ubisoft's commitment to reworking existing areas has never been stronger. That's showcased by the fact that not one, not two, but three maps are getting some changes this season; Clubhouse, Coastline, and Bank.

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Clubhouse will see a pass that improves the lighting and detail throughout, while layout changes make it easier to rotate without needing to climb up and over buildings.

Coastline will add a breakable wall outside VIP, more barricade options on windows, and the ability to rappel from the DJ deck, among other changes.

Finally, Bank's infamous "banana" balcony will get added cover. Railings will be destructible, and at long last, the bars within the bank vault will be removed.

There are also core systems updates coming with Crystal Guard. Elite Skins will now have separate headgear and uniforms, with more mix and match options coming later in the year, along with the chance to customise player's Operator cards.

Flash grenades will also work differently. While players can still turn away, a flash will always affect players at full intensity, rather than varying degrees of distortion. Henceforth, the severity of the flash will determine the duration of its effects. So, if you're barely flashed at all, you'll shake it off nice and easily. If you catch the full force of it, it'll linger for longer.

Players will also see Operator armor ratings converted into health, as discussed in prior previews, and a new 'rim lighting' system will make it easier to spot enemies that would otherwise blend in with environments. It can be turned off, but should make a difference in the middle of a firefight.

New Operator and map reworks aside, it's clear that Ubisoft is looking to iron out any creases and potential foibles in Siege, even this far out from its troubled 2015 release.

Operation Crystal Guard hits the game's test server on August 17th.

For more on Operation Crystal Guard, including Operator reworks, be sure to check out everything we know about Y6S3.