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Rainbow Six Siege: Operation Neon Dawn hands-on preview

Rainbow Six Siege's next big update is Operation Neon Dawn and the game's latest Operator is carrying dangerous lasers. Shacknews goes hands-on.

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It's been a long year for Ubisoft Montreal and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege. Over the course of the year, the game has hit new heights both in terms of its player base and esports notoriety. However, the path upwards was briefly slowed by the COVID-19 outbreak. Despite that, Ubisoft Montreal has managed to mostly keep up with Siege's DLC roadmap and the development team is now ready for the final content update of the year, Operation Neon Dawn.

As noted in the previously-detailed Rainbow Six Siege roadmap, content updates will focus on single Operators. Last time, players were introduced to Splinter Cell's Sam Fisher, now going by the moniker Zero. For Operation Neon Dawn, players will be introduced to Aruni, a new medium-speed, medium armor Operator hailing from Thailand, and get a first look at the reworked Skyscraper map. To learn more, Shacknews went hands-on with the latest Siege update.

While many of Siege's Defenders have their own distinct ways to close off spaces, Aruni is capable of booby trapping entire entryways. Her ability is the Surya Gate. This is a laser gate, which can damage any Attackers who attempt to go through it. The Surya Gate is a smart device, so it will shut off to allow friendly Defenders through.

Beyond causing damage, the Surya Gate's main function is to destroy gadgets. It can be placed on walls, hatches, doors, and windows and will fry any small gadget, throwable projectile (like frag grenades or flashbangs), or drone that attempts to go through it. The only chance for a drone to survive the Surya Gate is if it's placed on a doorway, as it will leave a small space along the bottom. If the Surya Gate is placed anywhere else, like a window or a soft/reinforced wall, it will take up the whole space. Defenders who know that the Attackers are going to attempt to come in through a certain window can place the Surya Gate behind the reinforced panel in order to zap anyone trying to come in. Just be aware that the Surya Gate needs to recharge briefly after it does its thing. If it zaps a player, projectile, or gadget, the space the Surya Gate is guarding becomes available again for a few seconds. Just be aware that a simple gunshot will reactivate the gate and once again make it a danger to incoming Attackers.

Normally, an Operator's ability or gadget will have some hard counters from other characters. That's not really the case for Aruni's Surya Gate. There are few counters for it, but the tradeoff is that it will also fry her teammate's gadgets. If you're on the defending team looking to toss out a frag to incoming Attackers, the Surya Gate will fry that, too. Be careful if you're on the Defenders.

The other big addition to Operation Neon Dawn is the reworked Skyscraper map. Players will notice that many of the balconies have been lowered and moved around in order to bring Attackers inside. The dev team is looking to lower the instances of outdoor crossfire. Players will also find a reworked second floor design to go along with different bombsite locations. Actually finding a reliable path inside the Skyscraper interior can take some time, but Siege veterans should be able to acclimate to these changes fairly quickly.

Look for some new balance changes to a few existing Operators, as well. Hibana's X-Kairos Launcher is getting a noteworthy quality-of-life change, allowing players to adjust whether they fire two, four, or six X-Kairos. This allow Hibana users to better manage her resources. Meanwhile, Echo is being brought down to earth slightly. Her Yokai drone will no longer be invisible if placed on ceilings, so defenders will need to be more careful about the drone's placement. Lastly, Jager's Active Defense System will now get a significant 10-second cooldown timer after it intercepts an opponent's projectile. That leaves Jager players more vulnerable, but in exchange, the ADS will now have an infinite number of charges.

Beyond all of that, look for new chat features that will allow Voice-to-Text and Text-to-Voice options. This is being done in an effort to increase accessibility. The Options menu will also add audio narration and hints for any players who need them, as well as the option for font scaling.

Rainbow Six Siege players can get a first look at Aruni, the new Skyscraper rework, the game's various balance tweaks, and more when Operation Neon Dawn goes live. It'll hit the Siege Test Server on PC first, so PC players should mark Monday, November 9 on their calendars. Operation Neon Dawn is coming soon to all platforms.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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