The cat has been out of the bag for a long time: Rainbow Six: Siege’s month-long outbreak event is a zombie mode. You could describe it even more precisely if you put the name of another game in your mouth. In fact, this is pretty much the concept of Left 4 Dead. In co-op it goes from A to B through large, devastated areas, while a handful of different, monstrous enemy archetypes – dead-space-like blade zombies, nimble exploding opponents, one who pegs you in place, as well as the obligatory tank (with red glowing weak point on the back) and a kind of commander monster that spawns new critters – running against you at variable intervals.

What happens here is primarily entertaining, rabid action film material with good production values. A bit of stealth is possible at times, as long as you have equipped silencers and each of the three co-op partners has a bit of discipline, and the selected operators also bring their gadgets to use. Kapkan has his booby traps with him, Doc is still healing his teammates, Ash with her grenade launcher is just as involved as the sniper Glaz, Fuze with his grenade pinatas and Tachanka, who is still a bit chasing after the very eventful action with his mounted machine gun.

If the target person is reached, you have to protect them for a while. Strengthen the walls and set your traps to give you an advantage in the onslaught of monsters.

After all: at the points where the game signals that you need to survive an onslaught – for example, if you protect explosive charges you have laid yourself or have to keep a VIP alive – his work tools can shine. Provided that one finds the corner where enemies do not rattle on the Russians from all sides. What is immediately noticeable: How surprisingly well and with attention to detail the large levels were designed. The hospital, the resort and the junkyard are designed to be really atmospheric, make an effort to tell new little stories room after room and show a good hand here and there.

Visually and technically, this is also strong here and the quality of the accompanying film sequences is also quite impressive. Outbreak is definitely not a cheap throwaway item. The only question is: did anyone order that? Alexandre Remy recently discussed this in a conversation with our man on site at the R6 Invitational tournament in Montreal and described Outbreak as a gift to the fans. It should be detached, comradely shooting, “over the top” and “rock and roll”, a change from the tense PvP everyday life.

Outbreak looks and creates a lot …

Indeed, in this case it is arguably difficult to please everyone. The original announcement of new game modes when the game went on sale was in the meantime something of a running gag in the community given the drought in this regard. So you can’t blame the developers for taking action in this direction, especially since Bomb as the central game mode has become something of the unchangeable standard in PvP. To offer an alternative for sale here would definitely have been wasted effort. In addition, at the end of last year, Ubisoft spoke about the fact that from now on it would be wiser for the competition to halve the clocking of new maps and rather to maintain the old ones and adapt them to the new meta. A step that in itself is very welcome.

My conclusion for now: It was definitely a nice change, and it’s nice that Ubisoft wants to give its characters a little more profile, even if nobody here should become an Overwatch-like sympathy bolt. After going through the three cards, which each take around 20 minutes, you can already see that the duration of the event was not limited to one month for no reason. In contrast to PvP, this is not the stuff that you practice hundreds, maybe even thousands of times. At the same time, the naming of the chapters suggests that this event will be continued at some point if the fans like it. After Fortnite is suddenly the game par excellence thanks to its Battle Royale mode, I am no longer surprised. I would definitely dare another dance with a possible continuation.

… which, by the way, also applies to the dialogue-driven cutscenes.

The game had to take criticism because of the new Outbreak Packs. The already known Alpha Packs can be bought or after every win you have a chance to get one by drawing. The time-limited Outbreak Packs with their 50 cosmetic items can only be purchased for real money. Remy is right when he says these don’t affect the game because they’re all cosmetics. And the fact that there are no double drops theoretically makes it easier to complete the collection. But after I have activated all the packs on the test server with virtual money, I have to say that I am surprised by the content.

There are isolation masks and decontamination costumes for various operators as individual drops instead of as universal items. Various weapon skins are also packaged as separate drops, which looks suspiciously as if you wanted to add more packs to the game for hell. In a not amusing way, the rarity levels of individual items are also different. Glaz ‘Isolation Headgear is “Epic” while Lions is just “Rare”. There is nothing wrong with the individual skins, they are well made as always, but in fact we don’t have 50 of them here, but … well, significantly less. Which brings us back to the fact that the packs, like their alpha counterparts, could still be drawn as a reward for playing the mode. Let’s hope that the real money-only campaign will remain an experiment. And if not, ignoring is not difficult in this case.

Glaz in complete outbreak gear – and confusing degrees of rarity.

If you don’t feel like co-op and / or zombies at all, you shouldn’t book a vacation from Rainbow Six: Siege this season, because a lot happens apart from that. Since the defenders still tend to win significantly more matches, the attacking side experiences a lot of love in year 3, season 1, with two operators who help the entire team with their skills. The attacking faction is likely to go to work with significantly more speed, while on the other side the meta is likely to shift further in the direction of falling and denial of access.

Both the Russian Finka and the French Lion are such strong additions to the roster that two attackers who are otherwise considered a must can be prepared to take a seat here and there on the bench. On the test servers, where I played Operation Chimera for about six hours, that’s certainly a bit exaggerated because everyone wants to play “the new ones”. But I’ve seen almost half of my matches on the attacking side without Thermite or Hibana. My prediction at this point would be that defenders will be able to shut themselves up much more effectively on the bomb sites, but will have major disadvantages in direct exchanges of fire.

Ubisoft has been trying for a long time to give Siege operators more personality. They do a good job here, too, even if it’s fair to assume that this zombie nightmare won’t exactly be part of the Siege canon.

This is because Finka not only heals all of her teammates directly or boosts their health for 20 seconds at the push of a button twice in the game. You can even revive when someone is down. (Don’t ask. Nanomachines!). At the same time, it minimizes the recoil of all weapons for the duration of the effect and grants resistance to certain effects, such as Ela’s Concussion Mines. In return, Smoke’s poison gas is many times more deadly, while Lesion’s GU mines neutralize the effect of the buff immediately. In any case, Finka’s gadget will significantly change how teams coordinate their attacks and, above all, their last onslaught.

Lion is an excellent addition. His indestructible drone sends an impulse of several seconds at the push of a button up to three times per round, during which the defenders should stop if possible, otherwise they will be visible to all players for a short period of time, even through walls. Aiming, turning and using gadgets is allowed and if you are discovered, it actually only takes a few seconds, but it is already noticeable that this is not only used for the last breaches on a target, but also on the ground, for example to reach lying teammates for a resuscitation. No attacker will pursue the kill as long as Lions drone is doing its job. Finka and Lion in combination require much more efficient fishing on the spot or good skills as a roamer.

Did you recognize her? In Season 3, the Hereford Base Map is drastically revised – and set back 30 years in the past.

Blitz also got a nice buff. The GSG-9 shield carrier now has medium speed and armor, so it is much more stable on its feet than all other shield operators. A glitch on the test server is currently ensuring that it is moving far too fast, which should be fixed in the next few days. But even then it will still spread fear and terror among the defenders. A nice move to make the shield gameplay even more attractive.

On the attacking side, the signs are now more towards storm, which, as I said, represents an indirect buff for all trappers from Frost to Kapkan (no more barbed wire so that he has more time to place his EDDs). If you are dealing with a fast-playing team, it is very possible that you will see less operators who are able to break through reinforced and secured walls, because with the strong gadgets from Finka and Lion maybe not necessarily Hibana, in any case, Thatcher is increasingly unlikely to be encountered. This, in turn, could result in easier maneuvering routes for the defenders. Time will tell.

Minus the Outbreak Packs, Operation Chimera makes a good impression. The three outbreak co-op levels should pleasantly loosen up how you experience these characters for a few rounds. The new operators shift the meta again drastically enough that one sinks into this game evening after evening in search of new tactics. And then you wonder that three months have passed and the next card and the next batch of Rainbow agents is just around the corner. It can go on like this.

Rainbow Six: Order Siege from Amazon