Rainbow Six Siege's next operator takes a page out of Valorant's playbook

rainbow six siege sens
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

We're at the point with Rainbow Six Siege where just about everything has been done. There are a lot of operators, arguably too many, who can breach a wall, pilot a camera, or lay a trap. But with plans to add 4 new operators every year, Ubisoft is looking outward to create interesting new characters. Sens, Siege's newest attacker, feels like the product of one popular shooter in particular: Valorant.

Sens is a rarity for Siege: a 1-speed, 3-armor attacker who doesn't carry a shield. The only other ops in that class are Gridlock and Fuze, two supporting ops who are fun but nonessential. Sens, on the other hand, packs a gadget that may become an instant favorite for Siege's most serious Ranked players. It's called the ROU, and it's basically a rolling donut that creates a vision-blocking wall of light in its wake.

Think of the ROU as a smoke grenade that's been flattened into one long Fruit By The Foot. It's as silly and sci-fi as it sounds, and I'm pretty into it. Take a look:

Sens loadout

  • Gadget: ROU light wheel (3)
  • Primary guns: POF-9 assault rifle (New), 417 DMR
  • Secondary guns: SDP 9mm, Gonne 6
  • Secondary gadgets: Hardbreach, claymores

The ROU is more than "like a smoke grenade," though. It's essentially the ultimate smoke grenade. Sense has three wheels, and each one is capable of slicing an entire room in half for about 12 seconds. Sens' light wheels strike me as a major upgrade to your bog-standard smoke cloud, especially when it comes to planting the defuser—when you can't see half the room, it's a lot harder to guess where the planter is and shoot through the smoke. Fans of Valorant will recognize Sens' wall is a clever adaptation of Phoenix's fire wall ability

In action, using the ROU is a lot like tossing Ying's Candela flash grenades. The light wheels roll on the ground, pathing around minor obstacles and ricocheting off walls like a cue ball. It also rolls pretty far, so if you're really good you can bank it off specific angles to "draw" the ideal light wall. Pretty neat if you ask me, though trying to get fancy with Ying has gotten me killed so many times in the past that I've adopted an informal "chuck it and forget it" policy with throwables.

One situation where a normal smoke grenade (or Capitão's smoke bolts) wins out is on sites where defenders can monitor the action from the floorboards above. From a bird's eye view, the ROU light wall is thin as paper.

Sens has several notable counters on the defender side, too. Like smoke grenades, the ROU will get zapped away by Jäger's ADS and interrupted by Wamai's discs. Mute's jammers can disable the light wall too, but only the sections of the wall in a jammer's radius. Cameras that can see through smoke, like Maestro's Evil Eyes and bulletproof cameras, can also see through Sens' walls.

Maybe Sens' greatest counter is Warden, one of Siege's least popular defenders. Warden has always been a bottom of the barrel pick because of his highly-situational glasses that can see through smoke and absolutely nothing else. Now that Sens is on the block, Warden might finally have a worthwhile job. 

I reckon Sens' particular set of skills will make them a common pick for a coordinated team in Ranked, but "better smoke grenades" isn't a particularly exciting ability either. If you're more into operators with gadgets that leave their mark on a map or let you do sneaky information plays with cameras, Sens is a sensible skip.

Down range

Also coming in Siege's next season is easily one of its most-requested features for the past seven years: a shooting range. Ubi has also followed Valorant's lead here. The two ranges are eerily familiar in both appearance and layout: complete with a target dummies, locational damage readouts, and distance controls operated by shooting them. After years of testing recoil patterns by shooting at blank walls and staring at the holes, this is a luxurious setup.

The two shooting ranges are so similar that it's distracting if you've played both games, but I reckon Riot should take it as a compliment. Valorant has a shooting range so good that Siege had to have it. CS:GO and Overwatch should take the hint.

I especially love the small touches that make this a distinctly Siege shooting range. Turn right from the standard bullseye-shaped target dummy and you'll find a robot that can toggle between standing, crouched, and prone. Shooting the dummy displays damage numbers and simulates an enemy health bar, letting you know with zero ambiguity how many shots it takes to kill X operator with Y gun from Z distance. It's just about everything a serious player could want from a range. The shooting range's modular layout gives me hope that it can be expanded on in the future. Top of my wishlist is a range with moving targets that can duck, dodge, and quick peek like a genuine Ash main.

It can be a little disorienting when hero shooters borrow heavily from each other, but I always get a kick out of developers adapting good ideas to work for their games. Over the years, Siege has been a hotbed of inspiration for other shooters. Bloodhound's footstep tracker in Apex Legends is a dead ringer for Jackal, Caustic's gas grenades are just like Smoke, and Cypher's camera brings a little piece of Siege to Valorant. It wasn't until the last few years that Ubi has started borrowing good ideas from other games—Siege's match replay tool, revamped ranking system, and battle passes are recent examples. The "good artists copy, great artists steal" cliche holds up.

I appreciate Ubi is taking inspiration where Siege can benefit, even if I'm not playing it as much these days. It's further evidence that, persistent bugs be damned, Siege is here to stay. Sens and the shooting range arrive with Operation Vector Glare on June 7.

Morgan Park
Staff Writer

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.