Rainbow Six Extraction
Genre(s): Tactical, Squad-Based, First Person Shooter, Sci-Fi
Platform: Xbox Series X|S (Also available on PlayStation 5 and PC)
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 20/1/22
A code was provided for review purposes
The genesis of Rainbow Six Extraction started back in 2018. Ubisoft had introduced a limited-time event to their squad-based shooter, Rainbow Six Seige. This game mode, titled ‘Outbreak‘, tasked a cooperative team to take out a wave of aliens, rather than terrorists. With the event being well-received, Ubisoft has developed the formula into a standalone title.
On the surface Rainbow Six Extraction couldn’t be any more different to Rainbow Six Seige. Yet underneath they share strands of the same DNA. But does the team-based alien invasion gimmick work for a series that’s known for its realism?
Enter The Archæans
Rainbow Six is a game (and novel) that’s heavily steeped within its realism. When reading Tom Clancy’s phenomenal novel there’s plenty of military jargon and a story that’s very grounded in our reality. However, Rainbow Six Extraction moves away from this realism as it introduces us to the parasite alien known as the Archæan (Ark-ae-an), rather than a generic terrorist force.
The narrative to Rainbow Six Extraction is drip-fed to you throughout the campaign, rather than a mass of info all at once. The main story revolves around a mysterious alien race that’s attempting to colonise Earth. To stem the pandemic and understand just what the Archæans are, REACT (Rainbow Exogenous Analysis and Containment Team) are given the green light. As a member of this elite multinational team, you’ll be sent on missions across the globe to understand and ultimately end the Archæan threat.
Welcome to REACT
At the start of the game, most of your available operations will take place in New York. Thankfully New York isn’t the only location and you’ll soon be whisked off to San Francisco, Alaska, and a few more *redacted* locations. To tackle these operations you’ll be able to choose between going solo or teaming up as a trio via quick play. While a skilled solo operator can certainly complete the operations, going in as a team is far easier – and enjoyable.
Once you’ve chosen how you want to proceed, it’s then over to pick your REACT member for the mission. The playable roster is quite large and features a variety of operators to suit plenty of play styles. Players of Rainbow Six Siege will recognise plenty of familiar faces, and their unique skills carry over from Seige too.
Each operator comes with their own set of weapons and unique skill set. While having a vast variety of different characters to use looks daunting, a lot of these play the same way. You’ll also be able to unlock various REACT gadgets which can be equipped by everyone. I would have liked a more strategic element to these operatives. But considering you’ll have to use them all, a little leeway is probably for the best.
What makes Rainbow Six Extraction unique is that you can’t rely constantly on using the same operator. After each mission, the game updates your team’s overall health. If the operator you were using is injured, they can become classed as inactive. This means that for a set period they will be unable to be chosen for other missions. What’s worse is if your operator is knocked down and left behind by the team they are classed as being MIA. This then means you’ll have to reenter the mission they were lost on to mount a rescue. Successful here will net you the operator’s current XP, whilst an unsuccessful attempt results in a substantial loss of XP – although you’ll still rescue the team member.
As you level up your operatives, you’ll unlock various perks, equipment, and new weapons to use. This progression will naturally allow you to take on more difficult incursions, which ultimately grants you greater rewards.
Stand By, Stand By
Each incursion zone is divided into three sections. Each section features a rotating selection of objectives that need to be completed before moving on. These objectives range from planting trackers to rescuing missing operators, destroying Archæan nests, specimen capture, and many more. Some are easier than others, but I wouldn’t say anywhere is a walk in the park to complete. As you progress further into the assigned area, the Archæan threat becomes more severe. This means that you’ll face tougher enemies and more of them. While other co-op shooters encourage a guns-blazing approach, in Rainbow Six Extraction sustained fire is a guaranteed death wish.
Much like other Rainbow Six titles, stealth is the main aim of the game. While some of the Archæan can be taken out with one shot, your operator isn’t exactly a bullet sponge either. As such you’ll need to move slow and steady whilst eliminating enemies from the shadows. Once an Archæan is alerted to your presence, you’ll have about 3-seconds to kill them before they bring the whole hive crashing down around you. The more savvy player can get around this as nests can be destroyed before they’re active. And as that old saying goes “your enemy can’t attack you when they can’t spawn”.
At no point throughout the game do you feel entirely safe. No matter how prepared your team are, all it takes is one wrong move for things to go bad. If things do go disastrously wrong you can extract them at any point. While this is an option it does require a majority vote to activate. So if the rest of the team want to carry on then you’ll be dragged along with them. This can feel a little harsh, however, the game is incredibly balanced. While open combat is tailored more towards the Archæans, your operatives have a wealth of gadgets at their disposal to at least allow you to control the swarm. Regardless, it all makes for a lot of very tense situations – especially if that one teammate goes gun-ho!
Rainbow Six Endgame
Progress through the narrative is monitored via the amount of XP that you earn. Successful incursions and competing for your secondary “studies” should be a priority as these net you a tonne of experience points. Once a certain milestone has been reached you’ll unlock the next location as well a new REACT tech to utilise. These new locations can be accessed before you complete your current area, but they’re curated for the more experienced operatives.
Each new area brings with it new challenges. One such challenge is dubbed the “Gateway Directive” which is where your team is transported onto the Archæans native soil to battle a fearsome foe. This is arguably the one mission I didn’t like to see crop up – and is one I’m still yet to accomplish…
Once you’ve battled your way through all of Rainbow Six Extraction‘s narrative levels you’ll unlock the ‘Maelstrom Protocol’. This is where the endgame content comes into play. Tailored for players who are looking for an extra challenge this weekly playlist follows the game’s main principles whilst adding various factors.
If this still isn’t enough, Ubisoft is planning to support the game further by adding various ‘CRISIS EVENTS’. The first of these titled ‘Spillover’ is available to play now and tasks your team in arming and then defending a chemical bomb. While you don’t have to take part in the event, it does offer new loot and a new operator too!
Come the end of the mission and Rainbow Six Extraction is a pretty competent co-op shooter. Its tactical gameplay offers something different from others within the genre and fans of Rainbow Six Siege will certainly appreciate what Ubisoft have brought over. While it’s not the easiest of games, each mission plays out as a very tense game of cat & mouse. Good teamwork and you’ll be the cat, but one false move – then the mouse you’ll be!
Rapid Reviews Rating
4.5 out of 5
Rainbow Six Extraction is available now and can be purchased via the Microsoft Store by clicking here
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.