Review

Rainbow Six Extraction Review – Stealthy Siege

Siege, this is not.
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Rainbow Six Extraction Review

The OMG Review
Our review format is not your usual fare and we’ve broken it down into 3 very simple ratings!

“Buy it!” means that the game deserves a place in your collection. Be it day 1 or a slightly delayed purchase, it’s hard to go wrong with this title. In numbers, this is around an 8/10 and above.

“Wait for it…” means that while the game is good, it probably isn’t worth it at its day 1 price point. We suggest you wait for a sale before jumping in. In numbers, this is around a 5 – 7/10.

“Ignore it!” means that the game is not something we’d recommend playing, whether it be now or in the near future. Maybe ever. Let’s not even go to the numbers for this one.

Sneak Peek
  • Release Date: January 20, 2021
  • Platforms: PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series, PC
  • Genre: Tactical FPS
  • Similar Games: Back4Blood, The Division
  • Price: $39.99

Rainbow Six Extraction is Ubisoft’s latest installment in the long-running series, this time taking Siege’s tactical DNA and pivoting into a more sci-fi horror direction instead of a more grounded military-themed shooter.

It was quite the curious approach, and I found myself itching to play it to see how much of Siege was retained, but also see how well it would play out considering that the game is a completely co-op affair, ditching Siege’s PVP.

Rainbow Six Extraction combines the tech and squad strategy of the franchise with horror mechanics seen in other team shooters like Back4Blood, but with the focus on intelligence extraction instead of survival, which gives this release a pretty fresh feel.

Epidemic Personified

From a horror and narrative perspective, Rainbow Six Extraction does an excellent job pulling you into the world, implementing the military thriller that the Tom Clancy series is known for.

You control an elite set of operatives from the different agencies of each country (Spetsnaz, GIGN, and CIA to name a few) to form a Scientific Intelligence operation known as REACH to combat the Archaens and bring a stop to this rapidly spreading parasitic takeover. With each new intel you extract from each of these hot zones, your squad grows stronger and can combat these hostiles with more efficiency. However, the Archaens themselves are adapting to your counterattack, making it an arms race between these two opposing forces.

From the VR tutorial missions all the way to the first few sorties into New York, Rainbow Six Extraction makes for an interesting first impression. You’ll immediately notice the ravaged world and how much bigger each level is here compared to Siege. You can tell where its inspirations lie – from the breakable walls to its branching pathways, Rainbow Six Extraction makes you feel like you’ll need to look around every corner to stay alive.

rainbow six extraction screenshot 1

While it takes a lot from Siege, it also ditches a lot of what made its predecessor great, especially in terms of level design. There’s an obvious lack of verticality here, mostly limited to stairs and some scaffolding here and there, but levels are flat for the most part, limiting engagements to horizontal shootouts.

One thing that stuck out like a sore thumb was the Archaean designs, which look uninspired both in art and animation – serviceable, but don’t really stand out. From the humanoid-looking Grunts to the Bloaters and Lurkers, many of these Archaeans only have slight variations in design and utility, highlighting a big missed opportunity to really drive the sci-fi horror theme home.

Despite not looking the part, these monstrosities will swarm you at every moment they can, and while you are elite at what you do, you can easily fall prey to them if you don’t stick to a more tactics-based approach instead of rolling in guns blazing.

I Work Best Alone

Fans of the series will know what they’re getting into, which is a multiplayer affair that can easily eat up your hours, but you’ll be glad to know that Rainbow Six Extraction also caters to soloists should they choose to go in alone.

The tactics and approach will obviously change, but unlike other multiplayer games that rely on bots, Rainbow Six Extraction provides a more manageable experience that lets you progress enough until you figure out the core loop of the game. The learning curve is a bit gradual, and you’ll definitely lose and die a few times, but hitting your stride is easily accomplished within the first couple of hours.

The 18 playable operatives have their strengths and weaknesses, each one having their own specialization and load out. Recon units are more speedy and have skills that give them advanced knowledge of what to expect, while Armor types can handle more punishment and some of them have the capacity to heal. You’ll need to know your role well, as Rainbow Six Extraction demands a high level of coordination and communication to get right.

However, despite these operatives fulfilling a certain role in the team, many of them will functionally overlap, especially since their tech loadout isn’t limited to their class. Everybody can bring frag or smoke grenades to the fight, but despite each operator having a unique ability, playstyle doesn’t vary greatly and each one will feel uniform sooner or later.

Rainbow Six Extraction employs an “MIA” mechanic for when your operator loses health during a level. Once MIA, you’ll need to deploy another operator to extract the previous agent and send them home back to base for recovery.

As you may have figured out, this mechanic forces you to basically get familiar with almost everyone in your roster and level each one up through their individual progression trees. At some point, you’ll get stuck with underdeveloped operatives if you don’t share the wealth occasionally, which forces you now to grind low-level encounters until your main agents are back in tip-top shape. Depending on how you look at it, this mechanic could be a source of frustration or an opportunity to widen your range.

rainbow six extraction screenshot 2

Rainbow Six Extraction features a linear progression system paired with a rather shallow amount of options to play around with. You’ll only get to choose between a few weapons and attachments, but on the other hand have a breadth of cosmetic options and tech to play around with, highlighting the importance of loadouts everytime you and your squad gear up for a skirmish.

Speaking of weapons, gunplay in Rainbow Six Extraction feels a little bland. Even with the adaptive triggers, there is not a lot of heft felt with each gun, making them feel mostly the same. Most of them even sound the same, so there’s not much to go by here.

Performance-wise, there should be nothing to worry about as Rainbow Six Extraction handles admirably, hitting solid frame rates even when things get busy. Loading times are network-dependent being an online game, but anything that doesn’t depend on your connection is blazing fast.

Three’s A Crowd

Rainbow Six Extraction is built for co-op and that has been clear from the start. You’ll see objectives and enemy presence scale as you add a buddy or two to your squad, and despite the jump in difficulty, the game really shines when each member is communicating and coordinating well with each other.

In fact, Rainbow Six Extraction makes it feel like communication is almost a must, unless you want your campaign to end just seconds after it begins. Add your various loadouts and operator abilities, and you’ve got yourself a game that demands increased levels of stealth and tactics to overcome. There is a lot of potential for multiplayer fun with the right party, but playing with inexperienced randos especially at a higher difficulty and more complicated objectives can prove to be hazardous to your health.

You’ll need a buddy around to carry your behind across an abandoned complex.

One of the biggest flaws of Rainbow Six Extraction is that there is a lot of grind before you could actually get to a level where you could really take on the more interesting and challenging locations. A lot of weapons and tech will be gated behind leveling up, and in fact, it also feels like the game somewhat forces you to play solo to avoid going into multiplayer encounters with MIA or injured operators. There’s a lot of prepwork behind the scenes, which could feel tedious at some point.

Rainbow Six Extraction will reward players with hefty endgame content, but even that is also just a combination of objectives and challenges instead of something totally different, nothing you haven’t tried out before, just harder.

What We Liked:

  • Diverse selection of operatives each with a unique combination of skill sets to create a well rounded 3 person team.
  • The science side missions add another dynamic set of tasks to add more variety to the clear cut three-part mission.
  • More options for a solo player.
  • The buddy pass can bring in 2 of your friends to try out the game without purchasing it for a limited time.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • More serious missions require a bit of grind to prepare for.
  • Repetitive main tasks that have to be repeated in order to grind out the milestone and operative levels.
  • Creature design, level design, and shooting mechanics feel bland.
  • The MIA mechanic can be a huge source of frustration for many.

Verdict: Wait for it.

One-More-Game-Wait

Rainbow Six Extraction is an interesting pivot for the Rainbow Six franchise and could’ve easily been a great sci-fi horror co-op shooter if it wasn’t for much of the preparation involved to get the best out of the game. It’s quite a shame because I really liked what the story promised and hyped up at the start.

However, there is a missed opportunity in this game to really capitalize on the horror sci-fi element while mixing in the brand recognition of the Rainbow Six franchise and overall, it gives you a taste of each without fully committing to any of the interesting concepts that are being promised.

There’s a lot of lore here to enjoy and has probably some of the more interesting Codex pieces to collect through Science objectives as well as seeing the progression of your operatives in tandem with the advanced tech but sadly, a lot of that is lost in the grind. To achieve optimal unit balance, you’ll be doing a lot of heavy-duty grinding in order to prepare for the more intricate missions that have the potential to be really fun with friends.

Thankfully, Rainbow Six Extraction has a buddy pass system that allows the owner of the game to invite 2 buddies for 14 days to test the game out. Co-op tactics in this game really look good in concept, but the bland shooting, level design, and creature design don’t really add too much to put in the hours to finally get some enjoyment in its endgame.

*Rainbow Six Extraction was reviewed on a PS5 with a review code provided by the publishers

Author

Vincent Ternida moved Vancouver, Canada in 2006 and called it home ever since. He spends the lockdown catching up with his Japanese RPGs, writing his new manuscripts, and figuring out why he suddenly became the main character of the latest Haruki Murakami novel.

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