The new co-op shooter from Ubisoft is not like I was expecting, and that’s a good thing. Rainbow Six Quarantine was the original name for Rainbow Six Extraction in 2019 before covid-19 killed millions around the planet.
There was a little period of silence as the disease spread, and then the game was rebranded as Extraction, which made sense. Ubisoft’s latest and strangest chapter in the Rainbow Six franchise, Extraction, has finally been released, and I can’t decide what surprised me more: how much I adore murdering aliens, or the fact that Extraction is enjoyable despite the saturation of the genre.
Featuring characters and weapons from Siege, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Extraction is a (likely) non-canon chapter in the long-running tactical shooter franchise.
The original map from the limited-time mode that served as inspiration for Extraction can be found in the new mode. Instead of terrorists or other human soldiers, the diverse cast of operators from Siege must now contend with alien parasites known as…*looks around keyboard* the Archaeans.
I’ll just call them aliens or arkies like the game does. Humans are being infected by these horrible organisms and transformed into extraterrestrial monsters. Together, Team Rainbow and R.E.A.C.T. must disinfect each infested room and put an end to the alien invasion.
To vanquish the extraterrestrial threat, three-person Rainbow operator teams are deployed to places like New York City and Alaska. There are three maps in each area, and each map is divided into three sections. While each area has been carefully designed and will remain the same, the objectives therein will vary across games. Your objective may be to eliminate a specific enemy, rescue hostages, or detonate bombs.
In Extraction, you aren’t rushing to an exit while shooting hundreds of foes like you are in Left 4 Dead, Back 4 Blood, or The Anacrusis. In contrast, Extraction is methodical and deliberate. In Extraction, you have the option of using stealth to eliminate enemies or using destruction to carve your way across chambers full of infected foes.
You can use stealth and technology to accomplish one goal, or you can use physical force and loud explosions to accomplish another. You may also depart. Given the game’s treatment of harm and “death,” it’s likely you’ll want to.
When playing Rainbow Six Extraction, it’s important to be willing to take hits. Although your operator’s health will replenish while you’re on a mission, it will reset to zero when you leave, leaving them in a severely damaged state until you gain experience with different operators. If you have any injured personnel, they will be healed as you earn experience points, allowing them to return to the fight.
They can be sent out early when their health drops below 100 after reaching a particular threshold. It’s dangerous, but occasionally necessary if you have a strong preference for a particular operator’s skills.
A character named Pulse, for instance, has a fantastic sensor that allows him to see past walls and ping alien nests for his allies. Given his value, I take care of his well-being. After receiving some damage and not wanting to take any more, this caused me to abort a mission via an extraction point.
In addition, if an operator loses all of their health and is knocked out during a mission, you can’t use them again until you rescue them in a different mission. If you don’t, you’ll get them back eventually, but they’ll be hurt and lose experience points.
It all felt quite reminiscent of the character management in XCOM. While it is impossible to permanently lose an operator in Extraction, even the temporary loss of experience or the inability to play as them for a few missions adds a new layer of tension and excitement to the game.
Since Ubisoft is responsible for making this a Tom Clancy game, the standard Ubisoft propaganda is present. Many American flags are being toppled or slain, representing the decline of the United States and its principles. Instead of being the quick-to-murder and impossible-to-trust morons we see in the real world, police and SWAT teams are heroes who will save us all from the evil danger of inhuman parasites in this universe.
This coating of patriotism and propaganda covers so much of the world that it might be difficult not to laugh or roll your eyes every few minutes. I’m used to that and can just joke about it now after playing so many Tom Clancy games and enjoying them over the past 20 years. I was reminded that this is all very strange and dated in 2022 by a gamer who isn’t familiar with the Clancy series.
I think there is a lot to like about Extraction if you can handle some off-putting propaganda and aren’t put off by gross alien stuff like goo and pulsating flesh pods.
If co-op shooters have become homogenous due to their reliance on swarms of enemies and rapid-fire, Extraction seems to be the ideal antidote, providing a more tense, tactical, and distinctive “zombie shooter” that trades in hordes of the undead for more contained levels and nifty squad management systems.
The combination of fun and engaging gameplay experience with a system that rewards players with substantial advancements regularly is enough to keep my attention, and I can imagine that it will grab a lot more people.
Moreover, the game’s availability on Game Pass means that many of you can try it without spending a dime. Remember to giggle at some of Clancy’s more ridiculous moments.