Reviewed on the PS5 with 2 Squadmates

Rainbow Six Siege tumbling rise to prominence has led millions of players to become loyal fans to one of the longest supported game last generation. Year after year the developers at Ubisoft pumped out updates that fixed all of its initial issues, increased graphical fidelity, released new operatives and content – even upwards to a next-gen upgrade. Fast forward nearly 7 years and we have Rainbow Six Extraction; a cooperative squad experience where you and 2 other players plan tactical approaches against a rising threat called the Archeans – a parasitic alien threat that arrived via a meteor landing which decimated most of the world’s population. At first glance, Extraction would seem like an expansion to the already established Siege – after all, you’re still playing with the same operatives, and basically the same overall mechanics (sorta looks the same too). But I wouldn’t do it justice if I didn’t mention the level of unique ideas were made here that set this game apart.

The tactical approach to the tried-and-true survival genre has revitalized my interest due to one element: objectives. But Extraction isn’t resolved from issues, there’s enough to squint at the developers – issues I believe will be ironed out quickly after launch if Ubisoft’s track record is any indication.

Death Stranding’s Invasion

As mentioned before, Extraction is set on a scifi alternate universe to Siege where a parasitic alien is invading Earth via a meteor. After their initial emergence (which the introduction CGI is almost identical to Gears of War Emergence Day) a government scientific response team was formed called REACT to learn and counteract against the alien threat. Your main task is to gather as much information about the Archean as possible – as knowledge leads to creating more powerful technology to eradicate the threat. Since there’s no procedural story to follow along during your missions, the real story progressions occur from examining interest points within zones where scientist would explain what you’re seeing. After reaching a certain level in your progression you’ll unlock new zones to play in which is introduced with a short CGI cutscene about the area through some video recording. I’m not saying there’s no tangible lore in this game, in fact, Ubisoft does a rather fantastic job in detailing all of the world building through documents, environmental storytelling and more – it just feels like the player has to fish too hard while trying to maintain patience dealing with Archean’s all at once.

So, for those of you expecting a traditionally told in-game plot, not happening. Extraction was designed with co-op in mind where you’ll be jumping into zones with friends or randoms. It’s not a bad thing if you’re into that – thankfully the game is packed with some decent content that should keep you busy until Rainbow Six Extinction’s post-content release.

Plays like Siege, but Different

Rainbow Six Extraction’s DNA is Siege; it looks, plays and feels like it too, just this time you’re facing several alien threats in a PVE environment. The game runs a buttery smooth 4K 60fps with some improved lighting and shadows. However, if you want even better lighting and shadows, you can switch to High Frame Rate mode at 1080p 60fps. The color pallet used in this game is much more vibrant than in Siege yet, for some reason, the character models look more plastic than usual – I mean, their heads are too small, and their bodies are so large. It’s so comical to me, it’s almost immediate you can tell it’s a Ubisoft game just by the character models. I think that will be one of my biggest critics from the developers.

The operatives for the most part is similar, with some minor adjustments like Sledge’s swinging animation or Hibana’s grenade launcher having a wider radius. Each operative can rank up to 10 with the possibility of de-ranking if your operative is downed during an incursion and isn’t extracted correctly (more on that later). Every time you level, you gain passive abilities like 10% health or 35% movement speed. Each operative is equipped with specific weapon loadouts to complement their playstyle which is something we would expect from Rainbow Six these days.

Me personally, I would much rather Ubisoft have us create our own unique character roster and choose between a loadout, instead of pre-determined characters; give it that XCOM familiarity to an otherwise rougelite approach since characters can get injured or MIA. I am not a fan of operators as it disconnects me from a certain immersion factor, but that’s just my personal preference to the overall Operator approach FPS games is taking these days.

What makes Extraction so interesting is when you are in an incursion, you will get injured or caught which affects your roster. If for some reason your character goes MIA, you would have to mount a rescue operation – which really ups the tension because the operators are trapped in a bacterial tree surrounded by arms and tethers attached to them. You will need to try to and yank off the operator while the tree pushes back with pulses to strengthen its grip. Failing this would still rescue the operative, but at the cost of losing XP. It’s these kinds of elements that really sets Extraction apart.

Injured and rescued ops would need a lot of rest before returning to the field. The resting period is a bit frustrating though – when you complete an incursion, you gather experience and based on your experience, that would determine the amount of health your injured operative gets. This can really halt progression as it is almost painstaking.

There are 12 maps that will have you spawn in different points in every incursion – enemies will also spawn differently as well. It is not entirely procedural given that the location doesn’t shift, but the combination of aliens makes it feel fresh almost every time. Thankfully the maps are cleverly designed and details to explore. The decimation left behind is often quite beautiful to look at. You’ll be playing in area’s split into 3 zones, each progressively more challenging. At the start of a zone, you will be dropped off in an extraction area with some interesting functionalities; in it you will have the ability to set traps for live specimens, a hibernation chamber for downed allies or VIPs to extract and so on. As you progress through the zone, you will be met with several adversaries such as the Sprawl, an alien bacterial blanket that covers the surrounding area, rendering your movement slow and if in battle, making the Archean’s stronger.

I’m actually very happy with the level or variety Ubisoft has developed for us; there’s 9 variants of Archean’s, each with their own unique abilities and weakness. There’s Apex and Elite versions as well and to top it off, there’s sub-species like Sludge, the aforementioned Sprawl, Binding Spores, and Armored Nest that, if unattended, will continually spawn Archean’s against you. Objectives are also varied as well, you will be given 3 objectives within an area, and there’s about 13 objectives in total that’ll always be randomly chosen for you before an incursion. This is designed so the player can best prepare before heading out. There’s enough variety to really keep you busy at least until the post-launch content release – though that is dependent on the player as I fear the vast majority would run through before it becomes too stale. Thankfully there’s endgame content like Maelstrom Protocol and weekly Assignment that’s designed to up the difficulty with even more zones to cover. The chase is entirely cosmetic and more tailored for the elites of the game.

Speaking of cosmetics, there’s a ton you can unlock by completing side objectives – which nets you additional exp towards your Milestone Progression – an in-game battlepass-like thing that is tied to the overall story of the game. You will be unlocking additional equipment and gadgets based on your discovery for knowledge, which is the games focal point. It’s a straightforward progress that shouldn’t be too hard for any player. But, in typical gaming fashion in the last 15 years, there’s also paid cosmetics too, so have at it.

It’s Good, Most Times

The game is good. Heck, there’s moments where the game is great – AI for the most part is worth the patience in approach as they’re vigilant even in the Moderate difficulty. But it fails as sometimes Binding Spores would clip through walls causing them to stick to me, explode, and have my operator cough up a storm alerting nearby Archean’s. I even glitched into an infinite coughing state forcing me to restart the incursion. Stealth works for the most part – the ability to stealth kills all Archean’s, even Elites, is so welcoming. Animations are limited but there’s good contextual one’s base on your approach. I’d hope developers would know by now that if you add takedown, please spend a lot more time on adding more dynamic animations. It becomes a bit annoying though, when you’re approaching a specimen to do a take down to grab a sample, and you’re doing a perfect approach, yet it still sees you somehow. Happens more often than not, and it’s a shame because this game encourages patience and stealth.

Some gadgets you unlock also renders some operators mostly useless. Like, you unlock the RX Drone which has the upgrade of automatically tagging enemies, supplies and objectives for a while. That basically makes Pulse utterly worthless with his Heartbeat Sensor as it only tracks nest. I’m also not a fan of the amount of HP you get for injured operators when you successfully complete an incursion – it feels far too little for what the game is asking of you – like a soft gated element that basically forces you to wait to play. It’s not as drastic as I’m making it, but it feels that way.

But aside the grievances – Rainbow Six Extraction mostly has excellent cooperative moments. When all the stars align, and combining its extremely tight controls, you’ll get Archean’s busting through walls spreading debris everywhere while your squad mate is gathering a sample from a nest, and another is shooting an incoming hoard. Or, getting caught trying to rescue a VIP while getting chased by Tormentors and Bloaters – the level of tension is tangible and one I feel would hook players for a while.


Rainbow Six Extraction doesn’t remake the cooperative survival horror genre, but with their valiant effort of providing a large roster of operatives, aliens to combat, decent number of objectives to tackle and inspiring endgame content for cosmetics – it’s a package worth your time, especially fans.

For more on Rainbow Six Extraction, follow me on Twitter and other social media here.

You May Also Like