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Rainbow Six Extraction Review

Rainbow Six Extraction might not be the tactical sequel fans of the franchise were looking for, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun with friends.

On paper, Rainbow Six Extraction probably isn’t what fans of the long-running tactical franchise were looking for from the next release. A slower-paced romp through a series of disconnected areas, shooting and stealthing my way through aliens wasn’t high on the list of things I was excited for. And while I had fun during the ten hours or so I’ve sunk into Extraction up until this point, I’m worried about the staying power of the game.

There is some semblance of a story here. Structures have appeared in the world, and aliens called Archaens have started getting a foothold in cities. It’s up to a group of Rainbow Six Siege operators to hold back the tide of the Archaens and complete a series of objectives in each area to help understand and defeat the aliens.

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Breaking down the gameplay

There are four main areas in Rainbow Six Extraction; each of them is split up into three smaller areas. Going into one of these smaller zones gives players a series of objectives. Yet again, each of these smaller zones is split into three mini-areas with a unique objective in each. Each mission has some randomness to it though, as objectives will change with each run, or on higher difficulties enemy modifiers can be put in place. One run could have enemies leave a trail of sprawl behind (a sludge on the ground that slows player movement), while another can cover enemies with blinding spores (think like a living flashbang) that can attach to players if the enemy gets too close.

There are enough unique objectives in Rainbow Six Extraction that I didn’t ever find myself being bored by any of them. Some don’t have the type of impact I might have wanted though. Luring an enemy to a trap sounded great on paper. Instead, it just turned into a mindless “alert the enemy, run here, and hit a button when it gets close to me.”

Others – like Operator Rescue – were far more interesting. You see, health, experience, and operator status all carry over from one mission to the next. If an operator goes down during an objective, your teammates can still drag your body to safety. Alternatively, if all teammates are eliminated, you can redeploy to that same area, find your operator, and rescue them from the Archaens.

Those operators are not available until you go and rescue them from their defeat. If you escape an incursion hurt, you’ll need to pick a different operator until you’ve recovered enough health, forcing different operator experimentation. Additionally, if you lose an operator, you lose access to the experience they’ve earned. After failing an incursion, my overall level went down until I went back to rescue that operator, which then re-banked the experience I had earned. It’s actually a pretty unique system and one that encourages you to keep your roster of teammates as safe as possible.

Attention to detail

Players of Rainbow Six Siege should feel at home here, as the moment-to-moment gameplay is very similar to Siege. You’ll spend a lot of time crouch-walking around an area, trying to line up a perfect shot on an enemy weak point so that you do not alert nearby enemies. It is pretty easy to get quickly overrun, especially early into an incursion. There are plenty of different types of enemies lurking in corridors, so it is important to be stealthy when possible.

There are a lot of pieces of tech in Rainbow Six Extraction that makes this possible: stun and smoke grenades to interrupt enemy line of sight, grenades that scan an enemy for areas, and even the operator abilities straight from Siege all play a key role in completing objectives. I mentioned blinding spores earlier, and even the thought that went into these small nuisances is great. Blinding spores can be hidden on walls, ceilings, or immediately above doors. Getting a bunch of them attached to you does not even mean being blinded and hurt for a few seconds, as your teammates can shoot them off. It’s a small detail, but it’s that attention to tactical details in Rainbow Six Extraction that make it a successful game.

Each operator has ten levels to progress through that unlock new weapons and abilities. Before each incursion, players select which operator they want to take in, and customize their loadout to suit the incursion modifiers best. For the most part, stealth is king, but there are times when a powerful (and loud) shotgun works great. Areas are smartly designed, and using UV light to highlight enemies through walls for bullet penetration kills is extremely satisfying.

The really intense Extraction moments come from the Protean battles. Sometimes one of the objectives is to defeat the Protean, a powerful, bullet sponge alien enemy that seems like it takes the form of one of the Rainbow Six Operators. The first Protean I fought was a Sledge doppelganger, but I couldn’t quite place the other one I fought. If your team is low on health and the objective ahead seems too daunting for the state of your team, you can choose to extract. There are experience bonuses the more objectives you complete in one incursion, so there are advantages to trying to tough it out.

While there is not a ton in the way of narrative here, there are little info dumps that players can uncover in the form of lore. These are not found in the world but are instead earned from completing small, easy mini-tasks mid-incursion along the lines of “defeating Grunts with headshots” or “use takedowns to defeat an enemy nest.” These are easily obtainable tasks that do not force the player to go out of their way to do things.


Overall, Rainbow Six Extraction is a fun game to play. I certainly had much more fun with it than I was expecting going in. It’s a well-thought-out tactical cooperative shooter that can be played in quick bursts or longer sessions. I’m looking forward to the matchmaking servers going live to see how three random operators affect the overall gameplay.

I am also a little worried about the longevity of Extraction. It’s a $40 game, so I’m not sure how much Ubisoft plans to support it moving forward. But with the right support and new content or events, there’s plenty of fun to be had with friends.

Game Freaks 365 received a review copy.