Rainbow Six Extraction sees Ubisoft take the Tom Clancy series in yet another bold new direction. Despite a rocky start and early disappointment at being online-only, Rainbow Six Siege would go on to define what post-launch support for a video game looks like, bolstered by endless updates and content drops that just keep on coming.
It may have struck out from the formula established by Rainbow Six Vegas and its sequel though, in truth, felt much closer to the series’ core. Tense, tactical skirmishes roping elite Operators in from around the globe. Like most online shooters, Siege has held live events for its community, the most memorable of which was Outbreak.
Available to play for only a few weeks, this surprise co-op mode had teams of three descend upon New Mexico to eliminate alien parasites known as the Chimera. It was an absolute curveball and one that served as the precursor to Rainbow Six Extraction which, several years later, turns Outbreak into its own standalone video game.
This isn’t Terrorist Hunt. Tom Clancy fans will likely baulk at seeing Rainbow Six Extraction for the first time as it swaps an all too real threat for something completely out of this world. Literally. Following a rapid invasion, “Archaeans” are bringing the world to its knees. Having never dealt with an extraterrestrial enemy, we send in the very best.
In response to the alien takeover, Rainbow Six forms a new division, REACT. One of the biggest draws for Siege players is watching a familiar lineup of characters squad up, each given a distinctive makeover with new lore entries and voice lines, fleshing them out even more than before.
Siege players should also know the drill when it comes to playing matches. Mostly, anyway. You’ll communicate with squadmates, survey each map, and gun down enemies as you work your way towards completing objectives. A standard game of Rainbow Six Extraction drops you into a dungeon-like level, split into three subsections that form a single gauntlet. You’ll need to resolve the objective in one section before advancing to the next, taking a quick breather in the airlock rooms sandwiched between.
Objectives come in many flavours that, when randomly grouped into chains of three, makes each run feel different even if you’re performing the same or similar tasks. These include destroying nests, hunting elite targets, defending hotzones, and rescuing MIA Operators, to name just a few.
Speaking of MIA Operators, there are consequences for failing to repel the Archaeans on a particular run. In the event of a squad wipe – or being downed and left behind by squadmates – a trigger will activate, coating your Operator in stasis foam. It’s a cocoon that preserves them for when you’re able to return and try to save them. However, in the meantime, you won’t be able to select them from the roster screen, cleverly forcing players to juggle multiple Operators and explore what each of them bring to the table. In addition to this, leaving a level with low health will see them unavailable for selection until they heal. It all forces you to keep picking different Operators and mixing things up.
As in Siege, Operators are defined by a mix of weapon loadouts and their own unique high-tech gadget. These have been slightly tweaked to better suit Extraction’s co-op focus, helping to define certain roles and play styles within a team. For example, Doc and Finka can heal allies, while Pulse and Lion can mark the locations of nearby enemies. There are plenty of subroles and gameplay scenarios that make each Operator worth trying – even Tachanka.
The core gunplay is a one-to-one match to Rainbow Six Siege, minus the rappelling system used to scale buildings. Weapons feel sharp and punchy though nothing is too overpowered, especially when squaring off against the more advanced strains of Archaean. From invisible Lurkers and hulking Smashers to the boss-like Protean, you’ll have to adapt your tactics on-the-fly. Rainbow Six Extraction is at its best when blitzing objectives with peerless coordination, running rings around even the deadliest Archaean formations.
What will keep you coming back match after match? Progression is split between levelling up Operators and completing achievement-like research studies, both of which improve your overall rank. Individual Operators gain more weapons, better stats, and improved gadgets as you unlock new maps, activities, and REACT technology for your loadouts. It’s mostly satisfying, though the research studies tend to grow more challenging and specific as you go on. For one challenge I had to one-shot a particular enemy on a particular map yet, after more than a dozen runs, this enemy hadn’t appeared once, annoyingly hindering my research.
Graphically, the game is roughly on par with Rainbow Six Siege. Look around and you’ll see that maps are obsessively detailed in some areas, though the overall grimy aesthetic, striped with toxic yellow hues, isn’t massively original or appealing. The Archaeans come in various shapes and sizes though all look very similar – not that it matters when gunning them down by the dozen. Still, it would have been nice to see Ubisoft look to Siege’s Outbreak for inspiration here, perhaps showing how the parasite infects humans. It’s clear the developers didn’t want to go full-on sci-fi horror here.
- first time
- New Mexico
- the world