Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Extraction
A New Chapter For Rainbow Six
When Ubisoft first announced its spinoff to the Rainbow Six Siege franchise, Rainbow Six Quarantine was revealed in 2019 as a co-op game. While the climate of 2019 was certainly different than that of 2022, the events of what would transpire into 2020 would cause the name to change from Quarantine to Rainbow Six Extraction. The name was based around the mechanic of alien extraction, as the Siege operatives combine their efforts to fight a new otherworldly foe.
From a personal perspective, I've felt the premise weird for a Rainbow Six game, especially knowing the history of the series. In the late 90s to early 2000s, when the R6 games were based on the Tom Clancy novels, the plot for early Rainbow Six games felt simple. Far from the era of uncovering the story of Rainbow, the Rainbow Six series like most FPS titles began to shift towards multiplayer. While many consider Vegas 2 to be the final "traditional" Rainbow Six, Siege was the beginning of a new age.
Tom Clancy Goes Supernatural In A Polarizing Fashion
While Rainbow Six Siege was Ubisoft's answer towards making a team-based PVP shooter, Extraction is a different beast entirely. Rather than face off against each other, the operatives now must combine their efforts to fight a new threat. Known as the "Archaeans," these parasitic alien-like creatures have made their way across the United States and if left unattended will mean a threat to civilization as a whole.
As a reminder, every single Rainbow Six title, much less every Tom Clancy game for that matter, deals with real-world scenarios. Whether playing as a secret government agent in the Splinter Cell series or piloting a jet in the short-lived H.A.W.X series, most Tom Clancy games had these in common. This was what made Extraction not only jarring but out of place as neither of the games dealt with the supernatural beforehand. It was a goofy premise when I first heard about the game and watching the original cutscene did nothing to change my mind.
Ubisoft Extracts Rainbow Six's Multiplayer Under Siege
Having spent enough time complaining about Ubisoft's decision to turn the Rainbow Six franchise into an Alien ripoff, Extraction admittingly takes an interesting approach. Rather than focusing on the PVP multiplayer, Extraction is a purely PVE experience, pitting the player and three others against the archaeans. Surprisingly, most of Siege's gameplay returns, including reinforcing walls from enemy attacks, each operator having a specialist skill, and a "one life to live" mechanic.
The game makes it clear via VR training and actual gameplay that stealth and conservatism are key to survival. Players are at a severe disadvantage should they take an aggressive approach. Archaeans can alert others to swarm in on a location, nearby nests will spawn enemies ad infinitum until they are destroyed, and resources are highly limited. Injured players do not restore health in the traditional way, rather items and operator abilities grant "HP Boosts." These boosts expire and are affixed to the player's current health, meaning caution is advised. Fortunately, the aliens can be eliminated with stealth, but it takes proper usage of tools to ensure players are undetected.
Rainbow Six Extraction Players Will Be Assimilated
While Extraction tries its best to not fall under the guise of "yet another Left 4 Dead" clone, players are forced under a similar song and dance. Get from Point A to Point B, survive the archaean assault, and reap the benefits of the reward. To break the monotony, goals, and objectives are meant to be completed via each checkpoint, some of which are tied via a time limit. One objective will ask an operative to activate the "seismic stations" in the allotted time to halt the tremors.
Whether the player fails or completes their mission, they are tasked to make it to the checkpoint. There, another mission is obtained and this repeats until the extraction point is reached. With this in mind, it's best for players to think of Extraction, not as an "us vs them," but rather "Get these objectives done in the time limit while dealing with enemies on the hunt." Without memorizing the maps at first, locating objectives is a trial that's made even greater as the clock winds down.
Extraction Gets An "A" For Attempting To Break The Mold; A Failing Grade In Execution
There's also the punishment of failing the mission via dying and abandonment as operatives who succumb are considered "MIA." This means that players cannot play as their chosen operative unless they are saved by another team. Players who are running the game solo are screwed as they are locked out of their favorite characters, yet it forces the player to once again play conservatively.
While the gameplay will be a hit or miss for most, especially those who are used to Siege's gameplay, there's a lot of love that was put in the game. The way the operatives interact with each other in cutscenes, no matter how few and far in between they are, shows promise of a deeper game held back by its "innovation." There are chapters of lore explaining each operative's motives, the state of the world, and plenty of world-building.
Unfortunately for the average player, this will all matter for naught. While I can commend Ubisoft for trying to offer a new spin on a franchise, it begins to remove its identity by trying to copy the formula of other games like it. Rainbow Six Extraction is not a bad game, but it could have been much more.
Rainbow Six Extraction is available on the PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S