Rainbow Six Extraction – Is the alien shooter spin-off worth playing?

rainbow six extraction pre review header

Rainbow Six Extraction takes the fraught SWAT vs. terrorists action found throughout the rest of the popular shooter series and replaces that particular threat to modern life with something completely out of this world. Aliens. There’s aliens in a Tom Clancy game.

The “Archaean” menace has emerged in a handful of locations around the world, first in New York City, then in San Francisco and beyond, with Rainbow Six Operators coordinating under the REACT backronym to contain, study and eventually eradicate this threat. Thankfully, these aren’t aliens rocking up with a great big space ship and blowing up the White House and Pyramids, but rather the kind of aliens that will happily nest and mill around until a danger presents itself.

As Rainbow’s elite operators, you’re having to head into an alien-infested hot zones – or “la zona caliente”, as one character calls them, Ubisoft ticking the big box for diversity with a crayon. If you want an idea as to how much playable content there is, Rainbow Six Extraction features four regions that each house three hot zones where you’ll be deployed. Each of these incursions gives your team of three a trio of tasks to complete as you move from one part of the map to the next, from taking down elite enemies, to destroying special spawning pods, rescuing humans, and the like.

rainbow six extraction pre review screenshot

The immediate inclination of most gamers would be to run into the fray head first, but that’s really not the best way to go about things. Instead, you still need to play it a bit like Rainbow Six Siege shooter, and can rely on many of the same tools. In particular, the default gear gives players a recon drone that lets you scout ahead and mark aliens for team, and you can reinforce walls and doorways for when objectives need you to defend certain points.

You can pick up the pace somewhat, though. The Archaeans are a pretty dopey bunch as you saunter into the levels, milling around like zombies until they spot you or are alerted by explosions and gunfire. Even then, they’re predominantly melee and explosive enemies that need to get close up, while spawn pods sprout on floors, walls and ceilings to add enemies to an area once they’re alerted. By and large, this means that, even when things do get spicy in the opening locations, you can deal with the danger. It’s only certain enemies that will fire from range, and while you don’t have automatically recharging health, you can take a decent bit of damage. Old school Rainbow Six this is not!

rainbow six extraction pre review screenshot

Perhaps the most interesting system within Rainbow Six Extraction is that there’s persistence between rounds. Your characters will need to heal up if you come out having taken a fair bit of damage, and if you’re KO’d and your team wipes or isn’t able to extract your body, then that character will be MIA and need rescuing in a later incursion. It’s a smart system that forces you to mix things up with character selection, and provides some light stakes to mission failure. If all of your characters are left MIA, then the first one you lost will be unlocked so you can still play.

There’s some good ideas at play here, and it’s competently put together, but so far Rainbow Six Extraction feels fairly flat. The Archaeans simply aren’t all that interesting to fight against, their designs rather bland, and their introduction sitting at odds with what the Rainbow Six and Tom Clancy franchises have been about since the late 90s. It’s an inoffensive tactical co-op that’s good for a few short and sharp missions, but is that enough? We’ll report back soon with our full review.

Rainbow Six Extraction is available from 20th January on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC, as well Google Stadia and Amazon Luna. You can also grab it via Xbox Game Pass.

Written by
I'm probably wearing toe shoes, and there's nothing you can do to stop me!

1 Comment

  1. Seems this one is a bit of a miss, but I’ll give it a go via game pass.

Comments are now closed for this post.