Rainbow Six Siege: Skull Rain – Biggest Siege Update Yet
"Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais live up to their reputation"
Skull Rain is Finally Here!
The Skull Rain update for Rainbow Six: Siege
is finally here and that means a host of exciting additions and changes. A new map, new operators, new weapons, new UI updates and a brand new season of ranked tactical special ops combat. As usual, a new intro screen takes center stage at the start of the game. This time, a skull shaped hole left cut out in the ruins of a battle ravaged Rio de Janeiro building. As with every new season, the ranking stats are reset and players will need to complete ten qualifying ranked rounds to get back into ranked standing.
Perhaps the most unexpected changes have to do with the interface overhauls Ubisoft has added to this update. Planning your deployment is now easier than ever before. Full color, bird's eye view maps take place of the dull blueprint arbitrations from the past. This makes planning for missions much easier as there is less to remember and process about each location.
Another major change in Skull Rain replaces the final team loadout graphic we're used to seeing. Instead, the loadout screen now features character cards which can be flipped to show all of the team's equipment. This is extremely useful when coordinating loadouts as well as just being aware of what your team is equipped to handle. There is even an option to drop/grab the bomb defuser during the prep phase, so that you don't need to do it in game.
Rio de Janeiro
The Rio de Janeiro favelas are perhaps the most complex and well designed of the locations so far. Dilapidated multi-story buildings crowd the colorful streets as the iconic statue of Jesus looks on from the distance. At night, firework explosions fill the sky, competing for attention against the firefight below.
The claustrophobic indoor areas give way to interconnected favela rooftops and scaffolding. Verticality and positioning are key elements in this level. Unlike other locations in Siege, almost every entrance in Rio has another entrance or window facing it. This allows the defenders to take advantage of the vast and interconnected underground area to move counter to the incoming attackers to pick them off.
Attackers rule the rooftops, while defenders move underground with the action often mounting within the lived in residential spaces. The favelas make for exhilarating close quarters encounters as well as plenty of long range combat opportunities. And if you needed more of an Olympic tie in with your map selection, there's soccer balls all around the level allowing for some impromptu drone soccer before matches.
Skull Rain introduces two new Brazilian operators from the Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais or BOPE unit. These operators are based on the real life Brazilian special forces and are infamous for their unrelenting war on drugs in the run down favelas of Brazil. BOPE officers are called in to handle extreme situations that require superior firepower and strategic planning. Hostage rescue, patrolling favelas, serving high risk arrest warrants and even quelling prison riots, to name a few.
On more than a couple of occasions BOPE has come under scrutiny for their ruthless approach to law enforcement which more often results in deaths than arrests. Referred to as "Death Squads" by local papers, these operators conduct missions in circumstances where danger and death are omnipresent and the difference between combatants and civilians doesn't always exist. Just over a decade ago, BOPE was under investigation for the murder of four teenagers which were at the time presumed to be drug traffickers, but no evidence ever surfaced to prove that assumption.
Despite their negative reputation, BOPE's discretion around shooting prior to asking questions has earned them some worldwide notoriety. The phenomenal motion picture Elite Squad
from 2007 details the exploits of this highly trained special forces group. For this infamy alone, the BOPE operators make an excellent addition to the ranks of existing Siege
Vicente "Capitão" Souza is the new BOPE operator for the attacking team. This man has something for every situation. Skull Rain's Capitão is outfitted with a TAC Mk0 tactical crossbow and two types of ammunition. First, a deadly asphyxiating bolt that sets a small area on fire, killing targets in about three seconds.
The affected area is not huge (about two cubic meters), but the effect lasts an incredible ten seconds. This makes the asphyxiation bolts perfect for keeping the enemy from entering a certain room or disabling the defuser. The second type of ammunition Capitão carries for his crossbow are micro smoke grenades. These grenades produce less smoke than their thrown counterparts, but are easier to aim and have much greater range.
In addition to the four crossbow bolts, Capitão carries two frag or stun grenades, giving him access to a total of six utility armaments. To top it off, Capitão can equip a 100 round, M249 LMG that chews through the environments like Langoliers. The power and ammo capacity of this weapon is superb, providing impressive cover fire and enemy suppression options. In all, Capitão has an answer for any situation, but especially excels at controlling narrow spaces. As an offensive operator this makes him extremely valuable for bomb defusal and container securing operations.
The BOPE's unwritten "shoot first, ask question later" policy is perhaps best embodied by Taina "Caveira" Pereira; a defensive operator. Maybe a tad on the nose, Caveira's special ability literally requires you to shoot and then interrogate downed operators for intel. If you've played Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
from 2012, you should feel right at home with this ability. The hacking mechanic from Future Soldier
returns, but now it's called interrogation and takes a fraction of the time. Interrogating a downed opponent for about two seconds will reveal the locations of any of their still living fellow teammates.
While Capitão makes for an excellent all around combatant, Caveira is an extreme opposite. Fulfilling the highly specific role of being the ultimate defensive roamer. Caveira's ability allows her to walk and run much more quietly than any other operator. While walking, she is nearly impossible to hear, but even at full sprint she barely registers any footsteps. This gives Caveira an unparalleled ability to sneak around and flank individuals or even entire teams.
Pulling this off consistently with Caveira isn't easy. Luckily she has some excellent and unusual tools for the job. Contrary to what we've seen with every operator so far, Caveira's knife stab does not instantly kill her opponents. Likewise, a headshot with her pistol at close range, will also not cause a kill. Instead, both of these normally lethal attacks will only down the opponent, leaving them open to interrogate.
Which Operator Should I Get?
Caveira is a high risk, high pay off character. Whether you'll have success with her or not depends heavily on your play style and how well you can communicate with your team. If you run with the kind of squad that is able to call out "live ones" and sacrifice their own points for the good of the team, you'll likely do great. Quality Pulse or Valkyrie players that can work to assist you with intel will be invaluable as well.
If you generally enjoy roaming and sneaking, Caveira is the right choice for you. Getting her special off is incredibly rewarding, but don't expect it to happen every round. Her primary weapons are solid, but her armor is practically nonexistent. Don't expect to go toe to toe with the heavies and win. Playing Caveira in Skull Rain is an intel intensive job.
If you want to be able to provide massive firepower or just like crossbows, Capitão is your man. He's great all around. Fast, versatile, and equipped with more than enough tools for any job.