Rainbow Six: Siege operators take on goop zombies and venomified versions of themselves in Ubisoft's latest Rainbow Six: Extraction.
Going into Rainbow Six: Extraction, we were expecting something similar to Rainbow Six: Siege, and while there are certainly similar elements, the experience is quite different. Those of you who have played Rainbow Six: Siege can attest to it being a great tactical team-based FPS. With Extraction, we certainly get the same tactical gameplay, however they've completely dropped the PvP element and gone for co-op, PvE only gameplay. Read on to find out whether or not that actually worked out in Extraction's favour.
Rainbow Six: Extraction is built on the same gameplay elements and mechanics that Siege is built on. So gunplay and other gameplay mechanics, and even the operators, are essentially the same. What has changed is the core gameplay loop.
Like we just mentioned, they've dropped PvP completely, and instead, you've now got to deal with Archaeans, which are basically the equivalent of goop zombies. Set in an alternate universe to Siege, in Extraction, the Archaeans have taken over the planet, and it's up to the Rainbow Exogenous Analysis & Containment Team, or REACT, to eradicate them. In order to do this though, you need to gather intel. This gathering of intel is basically Rainbow Six: Extraction's core gameplay loop. Each time you drop into a new zone, you've got three randomised objectives that you need to complete. The difficulty for each objective scales from first to third; basically, the longer you stay, the harder it gets. These random objectives vary, from hunting down an elite Archaean, to planting and defending a bomb, extracting an asset, scanning Archaen nest thingies, etc. You're free to extract at any point once you've dropped into a zone, and of course, extracting after having completed more objectives will net you more research and XP.
Operators gain XP as you use them, and levels are unique to each operator, so you'll want to use the operator you want to level up more frequently. Levelling up will unlock new guns and perks for your operators, allowing you to alter their abilities or get small boosts that will help with extractions. These include damage reduction, increased ammunition etc. Ability modifications help deal with Archaeans more effectively, like being able to stun goop zombies, or track them more easily among other things. Some elements, like weapon customisation, have been stripped down in Extraction as compared to Siege, and your options basically come down to whether you want to go in loud, or quiet. Other than that, it’s just cosmetics. While your operators gain XP, you will also increase your progression level, which will unlock new locations, assignments, gadgets and operators for you to use.
During our playthrough, we realised that this game is definitely better played in squads, and is a lot less fun when played alone. Just the fact that there are ability and role-based operators should give you enough of a clue that you'll have a better time with friends. Sure the game scales the difficulty down for you, but it’s simply not as fun. Also, there are a number of objectives which are seemingly impossible to do when solo. Planting and defending three bombs in three different locations is difficult to do alone for instance. With Extraction, squads are capped at three players (sorry, fourth guy). Having a squad equipped to deal with every situation certainly makes things a lot easier, considering the fact that just like in Siege, you can be killed fairly easily. You want to stay as far away from Archaeans as you can, because if they get the flank on you, you most probably won't make it. Unless you've got that squad we were talking about to back you up. However, if you do end up getting killed, well, you're not exactly dead. Your operator instead ends up MIA, sealed inside a protective foam, and you lose all the XP you would have gained for that run. Your next mission in the same zone will have a new objective, rescue your operator. We thought this was a pretty cool mechanic. Another element that persists after you leave a zone is operators keeping the same HP until they get a rest (don't use them for a while). This forces you to try and get used to other operators, and step out of your comfort zone every now and then, which is not necessarily a bad thing in a role-based tactical team shooter.
The early levels of Extraction are fairly easy, you could potentially even run and gun at this point without too much issue. However, as you progress a bit further, you'll find that things can get quite difficult. You'll find yourself relying more on your REACT! gadgets, like the recon drone, and your own operators abilities more often in order to get the job done. Information and stealth become invaluable. Alerting an Archaean and not immediately dispatching it will result in it calling for reinforcements, and activating all nearby nests which start spitting out more Archaeans. You really don't want a horde of goop zombies descending down on you.
Speaking of the goop zombie parasites that have taken over the planet, they are varied and diverse, and you're quickly introduced to a lot of them as you peruse through the starting zones. The Archaean aesthetic screams Venom, with the black, organic, living jelly looking material that sticks to both the Archaeans and the environment. On the ground, this goop will hinder your movement speed, while increasing Archaean speed.
Archaean nests spread this goop out of them, in addition to actually spitting out live Archaeans when alerted. It's clear here that Extraction has attempted to go for something similar to what we have in the Left 4 Dead or Back 4 Blood games with the different classes of Archaeans, and while we appreciate the variety, there simply isn't enough difference between the various Archaeans to be able to tell them apart.
Finally, we come to the Proteans, which are the exciting boss battles of Rainbow Six: Extraction. Proteans are basically mutated goop versions of operators, and what we're assuming would happen to them if they didn't have the protective foam to protect them from the parasite. Proteans have plenty of tools in their belt to deal with us, including being able to teleport around the and goopified versions of operator abilities, which bring a level of challenge to the encounters.
They’ve gone for a survival horror vibe with Rainbow Six: Extraction, and the visuals definitely look the part. The first time you’re dealing with Archaeans and aren’t quite sure how to deal with them can be terrifying, as the goopy red-eyed hordes start charging towards you. The nest placements are also sneaky, allowing for them to sneak up behind you without you realising it. The spreading black gloop over the walls and the floors, and the infested maps all definitely do a good job of setting up the ambience for the game.
The sound design is also pretty good, when it comes to the environments and the Archaeans themselves. However, we found the weapons seemed to lack impact behind them, but that’s a niggle honestly.
Rainbow Six: Extraction comes across as a game trying to be a co-op gunner like Back 4 Blood while still trying to maintain its tactical Rainbow Six: Siege roots. As a result, it doesn't fit well under either blanket. Maybe it'll carve its own niche? Unfortunately, the game can quickly become repetitive after a point, even though the initial stages are fun when you still have new things and objectives to explore. The lack of a PvP angle also doesn't exactly bode well for the game's longevity. However, with the game heading to Xbox Game Pass, maybe it'll see more people giving the game a try. We'd definitely be interested to see where the game goes from here, because the potential is definitely there.
Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X and Series S, Google Stadia, Amazon Luna, Microsoft Windows
Developers: Ubisoft, Ubisoft Montreal
Played on: Microsoft Windows
Price: INR 1,999 (EGS)
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