Ubisoft hopes the idea of adding an alien threat in Rainbow Six Extraction with some tweaks will breathe new energy into its famed Rainbow Six video game franchise, and for the most part, it does. Step into our review.
Rainbow Six Extraction, formally known as Rainbow Six Quarantine when it was announced at E3 2019, didn’t immediately blow gamers away. Hell, many of us thought this was just some DLC coming to Rainbow Six Siege until we all learned Ubisoft revealed it would be a standalone title. Initially, the game saw the human race dealing with a virus, but due to VERY OBVIOUS reasons, the game’s developers changed the name and the game’s theme.
In Rainbow Six, Extraction players join a small group of 18 operators (the same ones from Rainbow Six Siege) brought together to form REACT. Led by Mira, Elena, and Thermite, REACT aims to learn about and subsequently stop an invading alien parasite called Archaeans from annihilating the human race. Now that the story is out of the way, let’s break down this game.
No Fun Alone
Right off the bat, upon receiving our review codes, Ubisoft granted us three of them to give to two other players, and for a good reason, this game is not easy to play by yourself. Unless you’re a Rainbow Six Siege expert, and admittedly we are not, trying to complete the game’s many missions alone is no easy feat to accomplish.
In each mission, you are given three tasks to accomplish, and that can range from capturing one of the Archaens, sabotaging or blowing up alien structures, acquiring Archaen samples, or rescuing a captured teammate (we will touch on this in a bit.) Players will also have the option to either exfiltrate after completing one of the objectives collecting the XP you already acquired, or continue on and bank the XP for a much bigger reward. As you go deeper into the Archaean’s hive, you will quickly learn that things won’t get any easier for you, especially for those going lone wolf during these missions. You can quickly find yourself surrounded by the many types of Archaean creatures that are roaming the hive.
Based on that experience alone, we learned firsthand how enemies could spring on you during our first play-through while completing a certain objective, and honestly, it made the game less enjoyable. When we linked up with squadmates, we saw the potential of how fun Rainbow Six Extraction could be. Quietly exploring the map, using your many tech tools like your drone to identify foes, creating an escape route, or making your own by taking down a wall, made infiltrating the Archaean hives on the many levels so much fun.
No Man Gets Left Behind
Rainbow Six Extraction’s best feature is its use of its operators. As mentioned earlier in the review, the same operators from Rainbow Six Siege find themselves in this game. It might sound lazy, but we’re gonna chalk this up to developers wanting to give gamers some familiarity.
Nine operators are available at the start, with the additional nine being unlocked as you grind, literally, through the game (more on that later). Rainbow Six Extraction introduces a new feature that will see your operator go into a stasis mode upon death. If you’re playing alone, that means the mission will come to an end. If you’re playing with teammates, they can take your operator back to the extraction point, where your downed operator will be sent back to headquarters. Or, you can pick a different operator and squad up and try to rescue that captured operator who is now cocooned in an Archaean tree and has to be freed before he or she is lost.
Now, you won’t be able to use the recovered operator. They need time to heal, so players will not be able to use them until they have fully recuperated. We appreciate that becuase it kind of pushes you to play with other operators and not just stick with the same one, over and over.
The Grind Is Not Fun
We have a few complaints with this game, like squads being limited to only three players plus the limited number of medkits throughout levels. Still, we think Ubisoft wanted to make this game as challenging as possible. But our biggest issue has to be with the grind to level your operators up.
For everything you have to go through on the levels, you just don’t level up fast enough, and beating all three objectives and successfully extracting them out isn’t as rewarding as it should be. You can easily miss out on completing subtasks that will grant you extra XP. That does not take away from the game’s fun, but it is a drag, and hopefully, developers will address later updates.
For $39.99, $49.99 if you get the deluxe edition, Rainbow Six Extraction, it is what is. It doesn’t really do much to usher the franchise into the next generation of consoles, but it gives Rainbow Six Siege fans something to enjoy until Ubisoft’s next complete offering in the franchise drops. Extraction launching on Xbox Game Pass day one can also help lure new players to the franchise who didn’t find the draw with Siege but are more intrigued by Extraction’s alien invasion-driven plot.
Rainbow Six Extraction also reminds players how much fun co-op gameplay can be, plus its focus on strategy inserts a tactical element to the gameplay. Of course, if you choose to go into hives popping Archaens tops off loudly rather than silently sneaking around, that’s always an option for you and a squad of operators. The fact you have a choice in your gameplay style is a win.
Rainbow Six Extraction isn’t a phenomenal game, but it’s good enough thanks to the tweaks it introduces on top of the stellar shooting mechanics and other features fans of the franchise have come to love. Ubisoft is clearly invested in the game long-term and plans to supply players with content updates that thankfully will be FREE when it does arrive. Do we think it should be a standalone game? Not necessarily. We believe it would be fine as a DLC update to Rainbow Six Siege, giving owners of that game some sort of discount so they wouldn’t have to pay $40 for it.
Rainbow Six Extraction pleasantly surprised us, it has its exciting moments, and we think other gamers will find some enjoyment in the game when it launches on January 20.
* Review codes for Rainbow Six Extraction were provided for Ubisoft and the game was reviewed on the Xbox Series X and Series S console.*
Photo: Ubisoft / Rainbow Six Extraction