Previews

Rainbow Six Siege High Calibre Preview: Meet Thorn on Outback

Reworking Siege's worst map, finally. And Thorn.

Rainbow Six Siege’s High Calibre is just around the corner and ooh boy does it have some fresh changes poised to spice up the long-running shooter.

Let’s get into it, shall we?

A reworked Outback map

Chief among the changes this season is the long-awaited rework of Outback, a thorn in the ranked playlist for some time. We’ve had several map reworks in the past few seasons, ranging from touch ups of slightly off-kilter maps like Chalet to refreshes of meme maps like House and Favela.

Outback is a special case; set at a petrol station cross truck stop type locale in the middle of the Australian outback, the map has long been the bane of my existence. In its current live iteration, the map is basically impossible to attack, with choke points, limited entries and extreme visual clutter combining to make an absolute team breaker of a map. More than any other map, a serious skill gap was needed to achieve anything resembling a decisive victory.

That’s all set to change though, with Ubisoft bringing extensive changes to the map while still maintaining its very unique feel. The first time you dive into the reworked map you’ll find everything familiar and yet extremely different. Every site has been lovingly tweaked to even it out and give both attackers and defenders an even footing.

At first I was going to list all of the rooms that have been updated but that list quickly grew too long. I then resolved to tell you which ones hadn’t and, well… there are none. Every inch of this map feels the same, and yet is at least in some small way different. Balconies now wrap the building more and provide better cover from peeking Defenders. Garage isn’t a death pit anymore, and there are even soft walls on the outside of the building.

Without jumping in for yourself it’s hard to fathom how much of a difference this rework makes to the way Outback plays. From everything I’ve seen so far, Outback has been propelled from the dregs of Ranked up to the likes of Clubhouse in terms of sheer quality. Great job on this on Ubi.

Of course, that’s not all of the changes coming to Siege in High Calibre, and no good operation is complete without at least a few balance tweaks. The biggest this time around is a huge change to the way that defender cameras work – no longer can Valk yeet a camera outside of the map or Maestro pop down a cheeky start of round Evil Eye to give late round information. Now, they’ll break after just 10 seconds of exposure to the scary place outside, drastically changing how defenders get to apply aggression back to the attackers.

Big changes are coming to the HUD too with an enhanced focus on the clarity of operation of the vast quantity of gadgets and devices at the hands of the Rainbow operators. There’s also a new compass design, with three stripes to indicate if something is above, below or on your level.

While these sounds like nice changes in theory, in practice they’re just… lacklustre. The compass change feels like a clumsy implementation of a much request feature, and not very useful in practice. Worse are the new gadget indicators which obstruct a surprisingly large portion of your vision. These changes obviously aren’t intended for myself or other players like me, but I don’t see newer players getting a lot of value out of them either.

Meet Thorn

Operation High Calibre introduces Brianna ‘Thorn’ Skehan, her Razor Bloom gadget and even throws a brand new gun into the mix. Siege’s newest Defender, she’s a 2 speed, 2 armor Operator hailing from Ireland who brings with her the Razor Bloom – a highly lethal shrapnel mine capable of killing any unfortunate Attacker who strays too close.

The Razor Bloom can be thrown above doorways or tucked away under tables, where it’ll lay waiting for an Attacker to pass. Once triggered, the fuze on it will arm and explode after a short delay, giving the Attacker the opportunity to either run, shoot it or die. While this sounds cool in theory, realistically Thorn is just another trap operator, though this time a particularly lethal one.

A new operator is great and all, but High Calibre also marks the first time in a long time that we’ve seen a new gun grace the Siege lineup. The UZK50G1 has a name that hardly rolls off the tongue, but oh my does this bad boy slap.

The UZ may be a small and tame looking SMG, but it fires .50 calibre pistol cartridges most commonly seen in guns like the Desert Eagle. I like to refer to these as “big boy rounds”. They excel at two things: putting holes in attackers, and putting huge holes in walls. While you can’t easily open up a crawl hole with one of these like some of Siege’s other interior decorating tools, you can quickly blow open large sight lines to open up a site. It feels nice to use too, looking a bit like the Roni but with a firing pace closer to that of Frost’s SMG

Overall, the gun is a nice addition, but is really the only thing that sets the solid-if-uninspiring Thorn apart from other operators. You’ll be able to check it out yourself along with Thorn and her Razor Bloom when they hit the test server later this week.

Rainbow Six Siege is currently available on Windows PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X, PS4 and PS5.



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About the author

Hamish Lindsay

Avid reader and general geek, justifying the time I spend playing games by writing about them. I try not to discriminate by genre, but I remember story more than gameplay. I’ve been playing League for longer than Akali and I’m still Silver. Fallout 3 and MGS3 may be the pinnacle of gaming.

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