PREVIEW: Rainbow Six Siege’s Operation Demon Veil May Be The Best Season To-Date (PC)

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Operation Demon Veil

Rainbow Six Siege has been the pinnacle of Games as a Service. Launching to OK reviews, it is now one of the prime examples of what tender love and care can do for a game.  Starting with Operation Black Ice in February 2016, the team over at Ubisoft Montreal has diligently released a major update about every three months. Each coming with new limited-time modes, new operators, new maps, and major game improvements. Operation Demon Veil, the 25th season, is poised to be the biggest season yet for this fan-favorite game with the introduction of Deathmatch, the newest operator Azami, and several quality-of-life additions like attacker operator switching and universal 1x sights. 

The preview event I attended started off with a look at everything available in Operation Demon Veil at launch. We were able to try out most of the new features including the new operator and the new mode but I’ll cover those later. Importantly though, the developers brought up two major details that weren’t available to test the preview.

Emerald Plain – New Competitive Map

First, is the newest map hitting competitive play that won’t arrive until halfway through Operation Demon Veil. Emerald Plain is a golf course in Ireland where the world’s elite go to golf and make shady deals. Being the first new map since Fortress in Operation Wind Bastion, I thought Emerald Plain looked great from what was shown in the preview video. A beautiful setting full of winding corridors interesting vantage points on the roof, and full of places for defenders and attackers to get the jump on the enemy.

Incentive Program

The second detail of Operation Demon Veil was the Incentive Program. Ubisoft will now reward players for reporting bugs and issues with packs, and depending on the severity of the bug found, the more packs you get. For just reporting a cosmetic bug you’ll get three packs that will give you a rare, epic, and legendary item. For reporting a game-breaking critical bug, you’ll get twelve packs resulting in four rare, epic, and legendary items. I think this is a great thank you and something that will encourage more players to use the bug reporting system to report anything and everything they find and will hopefully make Siege that much better of a game.

Match Replay FINALLY Coming to Consoles!

The third detail is match replay finally coming to consoles. One major benefit for playing the PC version of Siege was being able to go back to your last matches and see how it all plays out. Find how enemy teams move, how they countered your team, what details you missed, etc. This feature was never available on the console… until now. Match replay will be available at the launch of Operation Demon Veil and will be fully set for controller usage. While I never really use this feature when I play on PC, this feels like a really good addition for console players who want to improve their game.

Deathmatch – New Permanent Mode

Next is the first new permanent mode to be added since launch, Deathmatch. Pitched as a way to ease people back into the game, regardless of if it’s been a week, a month, or years since someone stopped playing. Even for new players to get used to the mechanics, Deathmatch is a really fun warm-up mode. No building the perfect build, no time pressure, and no pressure about dying.

I found Deathmatch did take some getting used to though. For the first couple of rounds my group played, we all took our time and played tactically. Just like we would do in a normal Siege match. But it quickly clicked that this mode was meant to be played fast-paced. What I enjoyed most was how much dumb fun it was. There was no pressure on my own ability and I even noticed my reaction time improving. By the time we finished playing, I noticed I was less indecisive and was taking riskier shots if I saw any sign of an enemy’s body poking out. And yes, when going back to the retail version I did notice I was playing better (even if it was just slightly). 

I did have three complaints though from my limited time with this mode. First, there is a 75 kill limit in 5 minutes. With a kill limit that high, rounds will always come down to teams with the highest kill count. In my matches, we rarely got past 40 kills on either side. Secondly, the respawn points. I regularly respawned right next to or even in front of people on the enemy team. Finally, I felt like this mode emphasized the use of guns people maybe wouldn’t normally use in the main mode. Guns that were faster to kill, more spray and pray instead of accurate, and specifically, not pistols.

When I can I play Montagne, the riot shield-wielding unit of a man from GIGN. Montagne, Clash, and Blitz weren’t available since their primary weapon and ability is their shield. It would’ve been nice if these operators got adapted to only use their pistols just to help those players get more accurate with those weapons.  Thankfully these seem like quick fixes that could be addressed before launch. Deathmatch is meant to be fast, not as a go-to mode after all. 

Azami, Former Private Sector Bodyguard

Operation Demon Veil

Let’s start with the newest operator joining the ranks of Rainbow Six. Azami is a former high-profile VIP bodyguard who is ready to give her all to save her clients. Azami is a complete badass and has what may be one of my all-time favorite gadgets in the game just for how versatile it is. Azami’s Kiba Barriers act like mini bulletproof walls, growing out wherever you throw her kunai. This is the first defender gadget that can actually plug up ceiling holes. A Sledge breaking the floor above you? Throw a Kiba Barrier up there to stop your team from getting picked off. While they aren’t indestructible, I found that with experimentation, you can create so many opportunities for you and your teammate to pull off some awesome stuff. Like in one of my matches, I threw a barrier to cover an unbarricaded door. A Frost quickly put her bear trap on the other side of it. If a Kiba Barrier is low enough they are valuable. Add enemies being in a hurry to rush the objective with time running out? It’s a fantastic mix. 

The Ubisoft Montreal team made it clear that these Kiba Barriers took a lot of time to get right, and I can see why. Azami excels at creating sightlines that work in her favor, and it takes precision to get the barriers just right to meet these needs. It’s easy when first playing Azami to mess up barrier placements. But with practice, I can easily see her being a required pick. Especially as you learn how her ability can benefit other operators’ abilities, Azami will be a very powerful operator on the team. 

Additional Features

Finally, we got to check out two great quality of life features that are being added. First, all 1x scopes will be available for every operator. That’s right, 1x scopes will no longer be operator-specific. The developers expressed that the key takeaway here is this is about player choice. If you’re most comfortable with a red dot sight, you can now use it on all your favorite operators. Being a Reflex Sight person, it felt great to use my go-to Russian reflex sight on any gun I wanted, and didn’t have to worry about getting used to gun sights again between picks.

As for the other feature, attackers will now be able to re-pick their operator during the preparation phase. Giving the attackers something else to do besides droning and picking their spawn location is a great addition! Especially when you learn how the defenders are preparing to stop you. Or (maybe more importantly) did your team forget to bring a hard breacher? You can get one now and not consider the round a wash.

Overall Thoughts

Operation Demon Veil made it clear that the Rainbow Six Siege team is in it for the long haul. From the love and care put into Azami and her abilities, to Deathmatch finally being added, Operation Demon Veil brings more to the table than any patch has ever brought before. While I don’t expect Ubisoft Montreal to make every season like Demon Veil as extensive as this, even a promise of a Demon Veil every year could keep new and longtime fans excited for the future of Rainbow Six Siege.

Rainbow Six Siege is available now on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC, Ubisoft +, and Stadia.