Rainbow Six Extraction, review of the cooperative multiplayer shooter with hardcore difficulty



Born from an additional mode of Rainbow Six Siege, Ubisoft launches a new cooperative multiplayer shooter on the market: Rainbow Six Extraction review!

Back in 2018, the Rainbow Six Siege development team had a small but disruptive idea: to distribute a time-limited mode that could transform the hyper-competitive team-based multiplayer shooter into a cooperative title where a small group of players had to deal with a computer-controlled mutant virus. A sort of Left 4 Dead extremely more tactical and, if possible, even more hardcore and brutal, since the basic management of destructibility and damage remained highly dependent on what we saw in the original Ubisoft title.

Players appreciated, some novice even approached the game for the first time and the initiative was promoted a bit ‘everywhere, leaving open the hope that this was just the first step to something more structured. And in some ways so it was, since just a year later the French publisher announced Rainbow Six Quarantine: a spin-off stand-alone that just from that time mode, promised to offer a stand-alone game with a focus on PvE, or on a small group of players who had to deal with a threat managed by artificial intelligence.

Then there was the Covid pandemic, or maybe some development and design problems; no one will ever really tell us, but after a long radio silence, at least 3 substantial postponements and an inevitable title change, now we can finally judge Rainbow Six Extraction with our review that has kept us busy longer than expected to finally give a verdict on this complex, layered, sometimes prohibitive experience and, we hope, supported over time by Ubisoft exactly as it is happening, even today, with Siege. The starting point made by Ubisoft is in fact interesting, certainly engaging, but has too many flaws and limitations to be considered a point of arrival.

Now follow us and we’ll explain in detail what works and what has left us more baffled in Rainbow Six Extraction.

The story of an unclear invasion

Scenery destructibility is a crucial element of Rainbow Six Extraction's gameplay

On the narrative side, Rainbow Six Extraction offers very little in the way of surprises: an undefined alien race, the Archei, has chosen to assault the Earth by attacking a series of cities and structures. The reasons are not known, nor are the methods of conquest clear: what matters is that where the aliens arrive is formed a strange blackish mush, the Archeloma, capable of slowing down and, in the long run, intoxicate humans and also able to harden disproportionately to protect the natural habitat of the extraterrestrial. Clearly the assailant is also able to reproduce non-stop through the nests that develop in the areas guarded by the dark matter.

But humanity has not been caught unprepared: the Rainbow team, after years of training and field activities to stop any terrorist threat, is restructured under a new world banner: REACT, an association whose sole purpose is to gather every possible information about the invader, study the best countermeasures and then deploy the most experienced forces to counter the threat. And guess who will lead this organization of unlimited resources?

We could stop here in summarizing and telling what is the story behind Rainbow Six Extraction and this should allow you to understand, in a moment, that the new Ubisoft title does not focus on a crackling plot, an intense and layered narrative arc or on who knows what twists and turns: there is not even a real campaign, but everything is based on the ad libitum repetition of a specific loop of gameplay essential for the progression of your account and then to unlock more content that enrich this structure.

Those who want to deepen the narrative events can do so through a long series of secondary objectives to be carried out during the games that lead to the progressive unlocking of a codex full of information about enemies, operators, weapons, equipment and the evolution of the alien assault.

Repetitive but addictive gameplay

One of the most advanced Archei is capable of mimicking Sledge operator behavior

Just to be even more clear, Rainbow Six Extraction is a first-person shooter that is based on dynamics and mechanics typical of multiplayer action but with a strong propensity for tactics and team strategy. The title, while constantly requiring a connection, can also be played solo, but it is designed and structured to offer maximum fun to a team of 3 players who will have to deal with a series of missions of increasing difficulty, within an expedition in a territory besieged by the alien Archei, and then proceed to the extraction once the objectives are completed.

The gameplay loop is extremely interesting: upon starting a new game, players are offered 3 missions randomly drawn from a pool of a dozen different objectives. These are to be tackled in sequence, one at a time and one after the other, within 3 different areas of the selected map. The team will arrive in the first section, will try to complete the task and, at that point, will have to choose whether to proceed to the next area passing through an airlock that offers a few seconds of shelter and, in fact, blocks the possibility of retracing its steps, or to proceed to the extraction to save the experience accumulated up to that point.

Each successive mission tends to be more difficult than the previous one because the number of enemies increases and the area becomes more impassable; moreover, some objectives can be failed if the players don’t behave quickly and appropriately, but this doesn’t affect in any way the possibility of proceeding to the next segment. The most interesting part, however, is the tactical component and the level of challenge of Extraction that are borrowed from the experience that Ubisoft has gained with Siege. As the difficulty level rises, in fact, it becomes more and more crucial to proceed with great care, adopting where possible a stealth approach, since it takes only a few blows to die and especially a noise too much can awaken aliens and nests and give way to a massive assault of the enemy that, at best, leaves the 3 members of the team in poor health.

Tachanka's turret offers valuable shelter against the toughest Archaeans

In addition, the game has another dynamic that adds spice to the action: if you end up on the ground and you are not raised in time by a companion, or you suffer a second fatal wound, your operator is covered by a saving foam and enters into a sort of stasis, being excluded from the rest of the match. At that point it will be up to the still-living comrades to choose what to do: flee as quickly as possible to the extraction, or shoulder the sleeping comrade in an attempt to extract him as well, or perhaps leave the wounded soldier in the extraction zone and proceed to the next airlock to try to accomplish another objective.

Where for some reason your soldier remains on the battlefield wrapped in foam, he will become unusable until we choose to face the same area of the game again, at which point we will have access to a dedicated rescue mission. If this is successful, the soldier will be back at our disposal, otherwise he will suffer an important penalty in terms of experience.

This whole dynamic of progression and management of the degree of challenge is definitely the most engaging element of Rainbow Six Extraction, the one that stimulates replayability and generates pathos and attention when facing the most challenging missions with your favorite operator. But at the same time this peculiar design shows the side of some problems that plague the progression of the game.

The contents of Rainbow Six Extraction

Covers are fundamental in Rainbow Six Extraction

To better explain the downsides of the Ubisoft title, it is essential to take a small step back and delve into its progression structure and the amount of content present. The game offers 18 different operators, all taken from Rainbow Six Siege, complete with paraphernalia, gadgets, special abilities and, clearly, design. There are also 12 different maps, divided into 4 scenarios of increasing difficulty: New York, San Francisco, Alaska and Truth & Consequences, the city where the invasion originated.

To have access to all the game elements, the title offers a double progression system. On the one hand we have the account level that is enhanced simply by playing and allows you to have access to new maps and increased difficulty levels, extra modes related to the endgame, additional blocks of operators, since at the beginning we can only access a small group of the same, and also gadgets with which to equip soldiers that are of 2 types: utility as the armor or the famous drone of Siege, and launch with multiple types of grenades and explosives.

In addition, each individual operator has his own experience level that, clearly, grows by using that very military during the games and lets you unlock additional primary and secondary weapons and improve efficiency in battle by enhancing his special ability.

While the general level of the account only increases, that of the operators is subject to the risks encountered in battle that we mentioned above. If your soldier will be mortally wounded during the match and will not be recovered in the next match, he will suffer a very substantial penalty that will make him lose a couple of levels, making him unusable for a number of subsequent battles. In addition, it is not enough to be very good because the simple use and wounding of an operator, causes him a sort of battle fatigue that will make him start with an amount of life less than the standard if we do not decide to put him to rest for a few games, not selecting him. This mechanic applies until we reach the level cap, set at 10, with that operator, but we guarantee that the climb will not be easy and painless.

One of the most difficult missions involves opening a portal to an area manned by the Archei

In fact, Rainbow Six Extraction forces you to constantly change soldiers every couple of games, leading you to bang your head against various balancing problems. First of all, not all operators have the same degree of usefulness in battle. The choice to rely on a competitive team shooter such as Siege, with its unique design, is in fact limiting when you have to take you behind the same operators in a title PvE. Several skills have seemed very little useful, while others are practically essential and not infrequently happen to feel useless during a game simply because you are using an operator of “second” level.

As if that wasn’t enough, since the weapons you can use are dependent on the level of the operator himself, for a whole series of matches you’ll be forced to use a rifle you don’t like, which sometimes even annoys the other team members. To give you an example, Doc, one of the 2 curators available, can only use a shotgun until he reaches level 4. Clearly a shotgun cannot be silenced, and we guarantee that facing a mission, even at a low difficulty level, where every shot you fire risks waking up all the enemies in the area, is not the greatest of pleasures. And the other companions, especially if met through matchmaking, will do anything to make you notice.

Combine these 2 elements – the progressive unlocking of the armory and the need to continuously rotate the operators – and here in Rainbow Six Extraction you’ll feel like a true master of the match only when all the variables fit together perfectly: that is, when your favorite operators are available, you’ve made them grow enough and the rest of the team is made up of people capable of understanding.

You'll have to be good at figuring out the types of enemies you're facing, as soon as possible

Clear, we said it: in Extraction you can also play alone, or maybe in 2 with your best friend, but even here it jumps out some balancing problem. The Ubisoft title, probably for a design that favors the endgame and the challenge of the highest level, presents the imposing steps of difficulty: as long as you stay within the first 2 areas, New York and San Francisco, if you are experienced enough and with the trigger ready, you might be able to get away with it. But from Alaska onwards, when there begin to be safe mutations (of the random bonuses that the game gives to the Archei at the beginning of each game and for all 3 missions of the match) and perhaps combine the most difficult quests, you will have no chance. Playing with 2 other companions becomes mandatory and, if for some reason, they are not your friends or do not deign to enable voice chat or to use the ping system to perfection, get ready to stay dry. And maybe just to lose for a few games that your favorite operator finding yourself stuck in the vortex frustrating told above.

On the other hand, even on this front you feel the legacy of Siege: Extraction is not a game that forgives and from a certain point onwards becomes a hardcore challenge not suitable for the faint of heart. If you have the patience and especially the right teammates, its gameplay loop will suck you in and give you enormous satisfaction never getting tired despite, basically, the mechanics are particularly repetitive.

Simple but effective graphics

Rainbow Six Extraction has some cutscenes that deepen the evolution of the Archei assault

Rainbow Six Extraction is a light game, simple, straight to the point and this absence of frills is also reflected on the technical front. Do not expect graphical wonders: even on this front you understand perfectly how the starting point is Siege. The game runs smoothly on the test configuration, was always stable and clean and, while offering many settings, does not have the latest graphics features such as ray tracing, DLSS or Super Resolution, while implementing native support for NVIDIA Reflex. Which in a title like this can be worth a lot.

To have not convinced us completely is more than anything else the design of the Archaea: very anonymous, very derivative of other titles in the genre and uninspired to the point of being, especially in the early hours of the game, also not very readable because you will not always be able to realize the type of enemy that you are about to face at a glance.

A bit of ups and downs also in the level design that despite presenting the same destructibility that made Siege famous and that can be used in many occasions in its favor, it flattens out a lot in the interiors, presenting few stylistic differences between the various areas available. It is clear that the focus of the developer has focused more on the geometry of the various structures, so as to offer balanced challenges as a function of excellent navigability of the scenarios, but sometimes even the eye would like its part.

Always beautiful and characteristic operators, gadgets and all the weapons available. On this front, the experience gained by the team is simply unquestionable. Rainbow Six Extraction is also fully dubbed in Italian and is included at launch on Game Pass both PC and Xbox, as well as being perfectly cross-platform between all versions. This should help not a little a good matchmaking.

PC System Requirements

Test Configuration

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5800X
  • Video card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
  • RAM: 32 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 11 64-bit

Minimum Requirements

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 3 1200 @ 3.1 GHz or Intel Core i5-4460 @ 3.2 GHz
  • Video card: AMD R9 290X (4 GB) or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 (4 GB)
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Disk space: 85 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 10 64-bit

Recommended Requirements

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 2600X @ 3.6 GHz or Intel Core i5-8400 @ 2.8 GHz
  • Video card: AMD RX 5600XT (6 GB) or NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (6 GB)
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Disk space: 9 GB extra for the ultra-high resolution texture pack

Comment

Rainbow Six Extraction is undoubtedly a compelling title, layered, complex and extremely satisfying. Provided you have the right company to deal with it and above all the patience needed to scale its progression system that has not completely convinced us also because of a clumsy management of the balance. Its gameplay can be ruthless and very funny and the repetitiveness of the basic mechanics is never heavy or alienating despite the amount of content is not endless. Clearly it is not for everyone: it is a hardcore experience that requires a lot of dedication and will need a great support from Ubisoft to be long-lived.

PRO

  • Intense, complex, difficult and therefore satisfying
  • The level design perfectly handles the repetitiveness of the gameplay
  • With the right team it’s really fun
  • Difficulty management makes it unsuitable for solo play
  • The progression system has not convinced us
  • Not all operators and weapons are at the same level
  • Have you noticed any errors?
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