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Despite Its Neat Player Rescue System, Rainbow Six Extraction Squanders Siege’s Foundation

Ubisoft’s latest outing suffers from “another co-op shooter” syndrome

I will admit, my brother’s the better shot. And in a co-op shooter, casualties are the norm. While games like Left 4 Dead and Back 4 Blood feature a revive or rescue at best, Ubisoft’s new Rainbow Six title offers a more satisfying punishment. Once Extraction’s Archaean creatures took me down, a yellow goo covered me.

My lone partner had to carry me home. Or leave me behind.

Rainbow Six Extraction review co-op shooter
Ubisoft’s 3-player squads strike a good balance. Source: Ubisoft.

I can picture random lobbies picking the latter but my brother got through every single time, hobbling with my limp body towards the extraction point. Waiting for an ally to respawn was second nature to me. But being the damsel in distress in a rescue mission was a refreshing change in pace.

And when your party fails to extract a player, the stakes get worse.

In Rainbow Six Extraction, operators are at the risk of going missing in action (MIA) if a run fails. Getting them back becomes an objective, a mission that won’t let you pick the same operator. And when your high-level operator is reduced to a yellow cocoon, experimenting with new ones is the only way out.

It’s a great idea that more co-op shooters should consider.

But once the player rescue system wears thin, so does the rest of the game.

Rainbow Six Extraction review Achaeans
Rainbow Six Extraction’s Archaeans aren’t the game’s biggest threat. Source: Ubisoft.

Rainbow Six Extraction has an incredible foundation to build on

While I haven’t spent more than a couple of rounds on Rainbow Six Siege’s arenas, my brother could attest to the predecessor’s refined focus on tactical gunplay and environmental destruction. Everything from great-feeling guns to destructible walls is in place here, with maps thrice as big as the ones from Siege.

What’s missing is a soul.

While the foundation is in good shape, Extraction does little to raise the bar.

Take the operators, for instance. Extraction sounded like the perfect place to flesh out their backstories, even with something as minor as in-game dialogue. But the game didn’t give us any unique lines, let alone the honor of set pieces.

Even Siege’s sense of verticality was sorely missing in a game where alien nests can stick to ceilings. Extraction’s operators can’t pave their way through the environment the way Siege let them.

All we got were the same mix of alien encounters, rinse, and repeat.

Recurring objectives meant that there was little incentive for me to come back for more. Perhaps I treated Back 4 Blood’s linear levels too harshly. At least that game tried switching things up with a card-based perk system every run.

And while leveling up Extraction’s operators does net you solid upgrades, they weren’t enough for me to keep replaying the same set of scenarios.

Rainbow Six Extraction review operators
Extraction’s operators could have benefitted from elaborate backstories. Source: Ubisoft.

With the right updates, Extraction might become more tempting

Rainbow Six Extraction isn’t a game I’d recommend for $40 at the time of writing. Even on a Game Pass subscription, I wasn’t pleased with Extraction. While its focus on stealth and destruction is appreciated, the game does little to build on its predecessor.

While aliens that could shoot spikes were nice, the rest of the Archaeans were straight out of the Left 4 Dead era, complete with weak spots and gnarly looks.

At launch, players can’t set off breaching charges or grapple about in Extraction’s maps. A new player wouldn’t notice (read: me) but my brother kept drawing comparisons to how Siege did it better.

Extraction might as well have been an expansion (it was once a Siege event).

If you really want to see where Ubisoft is taking Rainbow Six, I’d suggest trying the game on Game Pass. Every copy of Extraction comes with two buddy passes, a free 14-day trial of the game.

Watch out: the Archaeans aren’t the biggest threat. Repetition is.

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Antony Terence

Antony Terence

0.2M+ views. 5x Top Writer. Warping between games, tech, and fiction. Yes, that includes to-do lists. Words in IGN, Kotaku AU, SUPERJUMP, The Startup, and more.