Ubisoft’s franchises that have spun off from the Tom Clancy materials have tended to stick close to scenarios and settings that fell into the realm of possibility. With Rainbow Six Extraction they’re taking a slight sci-fi detour that gives players a fun distraction that delivers a fun co-op experience built on a game whose mechanics have been developed over years in its predecessor.
Rainbow Six Extraction takes place in an alternate future where alien infestations around the world are putting the world in danger. Team Rainbow is now part of a new organisation (REACT) whose job is to dive into the alien hives, complete missions and get a better understanding of the situation. What players will find is a game that takes the squad battles of Rainbow Six Siege with the PvE elements of Back 4 Blood. A normal session involves players choosing the location of their incursion, the difficulty, and finally their operator. Once that’s done the game assigns three random objectives of increasing difficulty and reward and you’re off with a fifteen minute countdown to add further pressure. These objectives are all procedurally generated so what you have to do and their placement within locations changes every time you play.
The game structures these incursions in small, bite sized chunks really helps make it easy to pick up. Up to 3 players can take on only the first mission and exit without going further for a quick win or if you’re willing to risk it, you can take on more. The risk of course is that if your player is downed and your team mates can’t revive you or carry you back to an exfil zone, the operator is marked as captured and you need to rescue them or else get stung with an XP penalty towards your progress. Early on in play you’ll find that happens a lot and progress can be slow but it can all be mitigated by reviewing your missions or situation mid game and deciding when to go further or when to leave. Keeping operators alive and resting is key to advancing levels and unlocking areas and gear and worth the occasional failed mission if you can get them home.
The enemy Archaeans vary enough that you have to deal with both close and ranged types while also having to keep an eye out for nests which will continue to spew out more unless they are destroyed. Probably your biggest enemy though is “the sprawl” – a dark goo that’s slowly taking over the locations. Walking through it severely hampers your movement which in a fight could be fatal so you’re often wondering about using ammunition to clear a path as much as you are using it to shoot down nests. The enemies themselves aren’t too distinctive but their impact on your success does make you wary of any you see.
All in all it’s a clever shift from the longer, more story driven PvE games which I think works really well and gets you quickly into the action. I could also see that some people may look at the game as just being Rainbow Six Siege with versus removed and a fresh coat of paint over the Terrorist Hunt mode and that’s a valid assessment too as the building blocks of its predecessor are clearly visible as are it’s influences. But major kudos to the developers for making it work as well as it does. There’s still a couple of areas I’m not completely happy with – like how easy it can be for the difficulty to spike and take out your team, or that some operators start with a non-suppressed weapon in a game that makes it a requirement for early success, or that it sometimes feels like you’re one player short – but a lot of it can be overcome if you’re able to get the through the tough opening stages to level up operators. Still it’s a fun game to play and seeing a game reward you “in a sense” for failing a mission but saving your downed comrades is pretty cool. 🙂
Rainbow Six Extraction is out now for PC, Xbox and PlayStation. Played on an Xbox Series X via Game Pass.