After months of content starvation during the Operation Health, Rainbow Six Siege’s third season is finally here. Operation Blood Orchid has brought a new map and three new operators followed by a huge list of changes and fixes, some great and some not so much.
The new map, Theme Park, has a playful visual design filled with the details worthy of an abandoned amusement park. The highlight here though is the level design showing the improvements that came after the nightmarish lessons of Favela. Large and small rooms come together forming sideway paths in parallel to the main corridors, providing extra space for both roaming and flanking. The destructible walls of the objective rooms, even if sometimes numerous, don’t connect to the outside and have enough buffer space for the defenders to make their stand. It’s good that Theme Park made the cut on Ubisoft’s new playlist for ranked maps, but that’s not the case for some of the other good maps. The removal of maps from Ranked and Casual mode is a questionable decision that might make easier the life of newcomers to the game, but at the expense of the veteran’s entertainment.
Blood Orchid’s new operators are somewhat interesting, a good distraction from the usual meta, with the Polish operator, Ela, securing her spot in a high tier and possibly a name on the list for upcoming nerfs. The improved hitboxes are something to talk about as well, a much needed life saving change for some of the heavy operators and an incredible buff for shield wielders.
The last on the list of things to talk about are the graphics, which have been overhauled with lighting adjusted on all the playable maps to be more consistent and make spotting players less difficult. This would have been a good improvement if it didn’t make everything look extremely sharp and made anti-aliasing less competent at removing jaggies. The end result is pretty much a visual downgrade with many shadows being completely removed or made static while the light sources something coming as unnatural. I guess that’s the price we had to pay for the game to adjust to competitive standards, but I can hardly defend the fact that Siege has taken a step (or maybe two) towards CSGO visuals.
Operation Blood Orchid is a bag of mixed features. Having new content is great and some of the improvements are welcomed, however, some of the design choices that came along with them are hard to swallow. The reality is that almost two years after its release, Rainbow Six Siege still didn’t get the fixes that it needed. The game continues to struggle with an unreliable netcode that has gotten a new friend in rubber banding with this very update. I guess we can’t have all things fixed at once even if Operation Health was supposed to pave the way to a technically improved game. But no worries, winter is coming, we’ll see what we get then. In the meantime, enjoy what we got, Siege is still here to stay!