Rainbow Six Extraction | Critical Consensus
A fun, co-operative shooter at its core, but ultimately could have just been a Siege expansion
Today sees the release of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Extraction, an online multiplayer FPS and a spin-off of Ubisoft's long-running tactical shooter Rainbow Six Siege.
Originally released as a limited-time event for Siege, Extraction takes multiple elements from the team-based title to create a survival game, in which teams of three have to contain an alien life form. The team has to move to three different areas to complete the mission, and complete one objective in each, ranging from rescue missions to destroying monster nests.
While not an immediate comparison, Rainbow Six Siege, released in 2015, has a score of 79 on Metacritic. As of writing, Extraction sits a few points behind with a score of 75.
"Extraction is very much a traditional co-op shooter augmented by the sublime mechanics Ubisoft mastered in the ever-popular Siege," said Luke Winkie in their 7/10 IGN review.
Winkie called this approach a "no brainer" and said "Extraction is a chance to enjoy Siege's one-of-a-kind gunplay in a slower-paced environment."
"I really liked mastering each of the dozen objective types and maps, but missions start to get samey really fast"Morgan Park, PC Gamer
Jake Tucker echoes this in his 4/5 NME review, paying particular attention to the game's destruction engine, which lets players destroy the environment as they play.
The things Rainbow Six Siege did well are also strengths for Extraction," he said. "This nonsense basically gives you the opportunity to pop a few walls, making you feel like a badass, which is always the hallmark of a good co-op game.
But while the similarities between the Siege and Extraction work in favour of the latter, it has led critics to question whether it needs to exist as a standalone game. Extraction was initially set to be a premium game, but Ubisoft soon rolled back on the price tag and opted for a Game Pass release.
"Extraction is also a smaller game than I anticipated - - Ubisoft's decision to lower its price to $40 and introduce it to PC Game Pass at launch makes sense now," said Morgan Park in his 7/10 PC Gamer review. "I really liked mastering each of the dozen objective types and maps, but missions start to get samey really fast."
The similarities were also highlighted by Henry Stockdale in his 3.5/5 review for Gfinity, noting that every character on the roster is from Siege. "Some characters have altered movesets, but it doesn't help Extraction's case as a standalone experience," he wrote.
One mechanic that reviewers took note of is its player rescue system. If a player dies during one of the rounds, the operator that the player is using will be locked from the roster next time. To get the character back, they must be rescued in the next round.
As Tucker noted, each Extraction operator comes with their own unique skills, loadout and abilities. They also have their own XP pool, which means they'll level up individually the more you use them.
"With each operator playing in a certain way. you'll often develop a favourite," he wrote. "This makes it more gutting when you lose them temporarily, and it ups the stakes massively when you're trying to get their inert form to safety so you can, you know, actually play as the character you've put all that time into."
Meanwhile, Stockdale noted that operator abilities improve as they level up, and as such, "gives you a reason not to swap operators too often."
While the main gameplay is reasonably engaging and tense at times, Extraction's replayability seems to be in doubt.
"I'm unconvinced that Extraction is capable of sustaining its many good ideas in the long-term," IGN's Winkie said. "Like just about every other Ubisoft multiplayer game, this version of Rainbow Six is dripping with copious XP grinds that do not, in of themselves, provide much motivation."
"Extraction resembles a generous, well-executed expansion pack rather than a brand new game""Luke Winkie, IGN
"I played for about 10 hours, to the point where I'd unlocked all of the combat hubs, and already Extraction was running out of intrigue."
PC Gamer's Park also expressed similar thoughts on the game's progression system, and what it offered to keep players coming back.
"As I slowly discovered with Extraction's mission variety, there's surprisingly little to work towards once you unlock operators," he said. "For hours I kept pecking away at locations I've been to, completing the same random objectives in the same places, wondering what I still stood to gain.
"Turns out the answer is a bunch of cosmetics I don't care about and an endgame mode called Maelstrom Protocol that triples the normal number of objectives to nine. After realising that mode doesn't sound remotely interesting, I had run out of reasons to play Rainbow Six Extraction."
Ultimately, Rainbow Six Extraction appears to be a reasonably fun shooter at its core, but repetitive rounds and lacklustre story make for an uninspiring game that could have easily survived as a Siege expansion.
"Extraction won't set the genre alight like Siege did, though if you're after a new PvE experience, I'd still give it my recommendation," Stockdale concluded.
IGN's Winkie also rounded it off with a similar conclusion about how Extraction could have just been DLC.
"Extraction's premise wore on me quickly, and its set of recurring objectives, while well designed, didn't offer quite enough intrigue to keep me excited about coming back for as long as some other similar games," they wrote.
"As a result, Extraction resembles a generous, well-executed expansion pack rather than a brand new game."