After the unwavering success of Rainbow Six Siege’s multiplayer-orientated action, I was intrigued to see what Ubisoft would do with the franchise next. Would we get more competitive multiplayer action? Would it return to single player? Or would they just keep adding more and more content to a game that seems to keep growing in popularity? What I didn’t expect was it to completely shift focus and have players battle an alien race that threatens the existence of mankind, but that’s exactly what you’ll be doing in Rainbow Six Extraction.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
Whilst Rainbow Six Siege offered competitive five-versus-five action, Rainbow Six Extraction offers a more co-op focused experience where players will group up with two other players to take on a deadly alien threat. There’s no real competitive play here, but rather a player-versus-environment (PVE) romp where teamwork will be imperative to your survival. You’ll learn more about the origins of the alien species along the way too, so there is a narrative-driven element to the experience; it just takes a bit of a backseat to everything else.
Whilst Rainbow Six Extraction changes things up from a gameplay perspective, a lot more carries over from Rainbow Six Siege than you might think. The operators and weapons will be familiar to returning players, with the likes of Nomad, Sledge, Hibana, Fuze, Alibi, and Doc making a return, all with their same abilities. Miss the idea of smashing through a wall as Sledge, or penetrating a wall with a cluster of explosives as Fuze? Don’t worry, they can do that here too. There are eighteen Operators making the return in the base experience, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see that number increase substantially over the next few months.
As mentioned, you’re battling an alien race known as the Archaeans in Rainbow Six Extraction, which are a different kind of threat to your typical human enemies. Heading across four primary locations (San Francisco, New York, Alaska, and Truth and Consequences), players will explore a series of sub-areas within each locale as they defeat the creatures, complete objectives, and save their fellow Operators along the way. The variety of levels on offer is good and you’ll come across some neat sights as you flick between them, though the fact that are a lot of them are smothered in the Archaean’s black sludge does mean that they might not stand out quite as much as Rainbow Six Siege’s map selection. But still, they look fantastic, especially on the Xbox Series X where the game’s graphical detail was really shown off with the slick 4K resolution and 60fps gameplay.
“Miss the idea of smashing through a wall as Sledge, or penetrating a wall with a cluster of explosives as Fuze? Don’t worry, they can do that here too.”
The game’s objectives are pretty straight forward and involve things such as killing a set amount of a specific enemy type, extracting DNA from enemies (it’s not as gross as it sounds), luring an enemy to the escape point so you can capture it, or simply planting bombs in areas across the map, though completing each one is never easy since… you know… there’s a bunch of deadly aliens hunting you down. I really liked the selection of objectives on offer, with the mixture of each within matches ensuring that there’s a sense of variation as you progress through them. Whilst some objectives were certainly more exciting than others, they each felt rewarding and demanded different approaches from the player – whether that’s being stealthy when trying to grab intel or going all-guns blazing when trying to take them out.
There’s a decent selection of different enemy types to face off against too, so you can never get too comfortable when playing. Whilst you’ve got your standard grunts who’ll try and take you down with deadly melee attacks, there’s also the likes of the Spiker who will shoot spikes (duh) at the player, the Breacher that’ll explode when in close proximity of the player, the Sower that will crawl around and place hazardous mines around the environment, or the armoured Smasher that brings with it a deadly charge attack as well as plenty of health, just to name a few. You’ll never quite know what creature you’re going to face off against next, so you’ve got to be prepared for all scenarios and co-ordinate carefully with your team if you hope to take them down whilst taking minimal damage yourself.
One of the most interesting enemy types are the Proteans, which are Archaeans which mimic one of three Rainbow Six Operators: Sledge, Smoke, or Alibi. Each has the abilities of the corresponding Operator too, meaning they’ve got a few more tricks up their sleeves when compared to some of the more typical Archaean enemy types. It’s just cool to be able to face off against some familiar faces, especially in a new parasitical form, whilst their hefty health count ensures they’re tough showdowns that only the best of players will survive.
“Whilst some objectives were certainly more exciting than others, they each felt rewarding and demanded different approaches from the player – whether that’s being stealthy when trying to grab intel or going all-guns blazing when trying to take them out.”
Between the decent selection of maps, the fun objectives, and the varied enemies, Rainbow Six Extraction offers more than enough to keep players enthralled in its action for some time. However, for all of its strengths, there’s a real inconsistency to the experience that would see me having a super exciting match one time, but then a boring and frustrating one the next. Some maps are better suited for certain objectives, for example, whilst it was easy to get overwhelmed by enemies at times too; this was more apparent when playing with a team of strangers who weren’t communicating properly, but it was something I suffered from when playing with friends too. Oh, and trying to play a level stealthy with a group of players who don’t really care about what they’re doing can be a nightmare too, making the higher difficulties close to impossible if you don’t have a co-ordinated team.
It’s a shame too, because if you DO get a good team together, playing at the higher difficulties is when Rainbow Six Extraction offers its best thrills. It’s almost eerie stalking your way through the chaotic, alien-fuelled corridors of levels, not knowing what’s around the corner or when you’ll find a fight, whilst completing objectives without taking too much damage and seeing all team members survive could be exhilarating. Even finding yourself in an against-the-odds showdown against a huge onslaught of enemies could be gripping, especially when you manage to survive by the skin of your teeth. Some of the matches I played were some of the most exciting I’ve had in a multiplayer title for some time… it’s just a shame that they didn’t all hit that same quality, with others feeling dull and frustrating.
One thing that Ubisoft really pushed pre-release was the idea that each Operator’s health would be persistent between matches, with it even possible to lose Operators if you fail, meaning you have to rescue them again. It’s an idea that really complements the gameplay and concept, and believe me, there’s nothing more rewarding than rescuing one of your guys after losing them in a brutal battle. It encourages experimentation too, with players having to use Operators they might not have normally used in order to rescue them. Who knows, you might even find a new character that you love…
The only problem? You level up your Operators individually, so you might have one character at a high level and the rest pretty low. This means you can be without your best character until you rescue them, making the higher difficulty levels a LOT more painful than they normally are. It’s something I found out the hard way, and whilst it does add another sense of excitement to the overall experience, it could be an annoying hindrance too.
“However, for all of its strengths, there’s a real inconsistency to the experience that would see me having a super exciting match one time, but then a boring and frustrating one the next.”
Progress in the game comes from earning XP, levelling up Operators, unlocking new Operators, and grabbing new gear to equip them all with. There’s PLENTY of different weapons to play around with so you’re sure to find something you love, whilst returning Rainbow Six Siege players might already know what they want to use from the get-go considering the arsenal remains the same. It’s hard to complain too much about the progress system really, with it feeling fair in the way it hands out rewards to the player. There are plenty of different ways to earn XP in matches too, with more savvy players also focusing on the in-game challenges (known as Studies) to give themselves a boost. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing overly exciting in the system, but at least it’s inoffensive as far as multiplayer titles are concerned.
The only issue I had was there was nothing there to hook me in. Rainbow Six Siege brought with it the excitement of competitive play and the satisfaction of knowing you’re out-gunning and out-smarting a rival team. Rainbow Six Extraction lacked that thrill, ensuring that it was a game I was happy to simply play for short stints as opposed to being one where I’d say ‘just one more game’ to myself for hours on end as the addiction kicked in. If you’re into this sort of PVE gameplay it might not be an issue, but if you’re a returning Rainbow Six Siege player, you might need a bit more excitement to spark a full investment into the experience.
Rainbow Six Extraction Review
At its best, Rainbow Six Extraction is an intense and fun experience that relies heavily on co-ordinated teamwork for players to succeed. At its worst, it can be a bit boring and frustrating. It’s been a long time since I’ve played a multiplayer game where I didn’t quite know what exactly I was going to get from each match I played, but Rainbow Six Extraction was always a little unpredictable.
I did have a good time playing it though, especially when I was in a team that would work together, so it’s definitely a success for Ubisoft – it has some really thrilling moments too, especially when you’re in the middle of a satisfyingly brutal showdown with the Archaean. It’s just one of those games that’s WAY better to play with friends, so if you’re planning on playing solo or with strangers, you might not find that you’ll stick with it for the long-term.
Platform(s): Xbox Series X (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, PC