Rainbow Six: Extraction is, conversely, a game in a quiet, heavier environment in which cooperation and communication are the keys to success on a mission… at the risk of dying trying!
Rainbow Six: Extraction offers a simple story
Rainbow Six: Extraction is not a story-driven game. Certainly, you will learn that a strange invasion is happening and strange creatures, the Archaeans, are infesting the whole world. Your mission? Find information that would eradicate this invasion, rescue key people and destroy the sources of the infection.
Unity is strength
An entirely PvE(Player vs Enemy) game with absolutely no PvP(Player vs Player) essence, the game nevertheless made us understand two very important things: the relevance of stealth and tactical movements as well as the synergy between teammates. The slightest distraction or the simple direct confrontation can not only cause you to fail your mission but also make you lose your agent and that of your teammates.
The gameplay is relatively simple: up to three players must pass through three random scenarios integrated into a single level. Each of the scenarios focuses on an objective that varies randomly during the generation of the mission. Once the first objective is completed, you have two options: extract yourself to secure the experience gained or proceed to the next scenario against a different objective.
Of course, the difficulty increases as you progress in your mission. Each scenario is more difficult than its predecessor and features a greater volume of Archaeans. Is the mission worth executing in full or would it be best to extract yourself first? Only you are the judge of this decision and know that even at the easiest level of the game, a simple false movement or too abrupt gesture could prove fatal.
Extraction features 18 Rainbow Agents well-known to Rainbow Six: Siege fans, including Sledge, Alibi, Smoke, and even Pulse. These will have armaments and abilities that we could find in Siege as well but adapted to the confrontation against the Archaeans, Initially, you will have access to a few agents and as you level up you will unlock new agents which in turn can level up and unlock new weapons or skill upgrades which expand the potential of your gadgets.
Since the game’s levels are not randomly generated, I wouldn’t consider this game to be a roguelite, however, there are components that invite replayability and adaptation to various randomly-generated conditions. A full mission can take you around fifteen minutes to complete, maybe even less. In each scenario, you will have a time limit to complete it and, if you fail once, do not expect to be able to start it again: move on to the next scenario or find the extraction station.
Stealth is key
Archaeans consider several signals to detect your location. They are even able to identify the sound of silent gunfire. Often they won’t be able to locate you directly but they will enter a constant state of alarm in which they will patrol their area and activate nests, strange masses that manufacture these creatures endlessly. A smashed window or a shot through a weak wall can be a small trigger for these creatures. Fortunately, you will have a slight reactive window to try to neutralize your enemy before he launches his alarm signal to his teammates and nearby nests.
Eliminate the nests to avoid the generation of new Archaeans, kill your opponents and try to progress as calmly as possible in the sectors of the 12 unpredictable quarantine zones and aggressively dominated by this strange parasite which, by its nature, creates an evolving ecosystem and unstable.
Tactical cooperation within effective gameplay
At launch, Ubisoft says there is access to four locations that will unlock gradually: New York, San Francisco, Alaska and Truth or Consequences. Each location has three levels which, in turn, are divided into three random scenarios. Once in the scenario, the generation of the extraction point, the door to the next level as well as the enemies and the nests will be entirely randomized. Forget the possibility of knowing what you will find on your way and where to find which elite or VIP to save.
As I mentioned earlier, the tactical component of Siege is transferred in the same way to the cooperative environment of Extraction. It’s a shooter that continues to shine when the whole team is involved and definitely more fun to play with other players than solo, even though the game offers the option to play solo. When the team is efficient in navigating through the infections, everything will go relatively well. It’s not enough to pull the trigger and kill everything that moves — we must also take into account other elements that assume the role of main mechanics.
Destruction of walls, doors and… mutation?
I am mainly referring here to the blackish mucilage, this dark streak that spreads on the surface of everything around you. When we cross it, we lose movement speed. Trapped, we become the prey. At first, it looks like a harmless element, but an enemy can easily overtake you if you can’t run to dodge the blows. And again, wait until you play the threat levels that introduce the mutations!
Mutations are the altered states of all life. They provide another extra difficulty point which is then rewarded with the amount of experience. One of the alterations, for example, consists in impregnating all the mucilage with acid. You can then imagine the situation in front of you: look for the slightest flaw so as not to be able to walk on it or try to eliminate it at the expense of your ammunition which will disperse them.
The number of enemies and the requirements to complete the objectives are limited depending on the players on the team. If you decide to board alone, you can. The missions will be the same but will be adjusted according to the number of players in your tactical team.
One of these missions, called Specimen, requires us to capture a special Archaean. The method is simple: attract it with blows while taking care of the other creatures that prowl around until you reach the extraction point and where you can activate a trap that renders them unconscious.
Another of the funniest and most intense objectives is to destroy the corrupted nests. Given the random nature of the games, you can sometimes face the mission in an area plagued by globular Archaeans who have a poison gas bag or an explosive bag that explodes at the slightest contact with your balls. Imagine what could happen if two of them were to stick you while you try to eliminate these famous nests!
Also worth mentioning is the Biopsy quest, where you have to take down specific enemies in melee to collect samples. If you are detected by the enemy, which will happen more often than not, you will have to coordinate with your companions to attract them, stun them and be able to catch up to them from behind.
A challenge from the start
As mentioned earlier, I was very surprised at how very demanding the difficulty level of this game is right from the start. It is not at all a simple game in which you “shoot in the crowd”. Luckily, the progression curve is set up so that even when you fail, you still receive an experience boost to carry over to subsequent playthroughs. Nevertheless, Extraction’s difficulty component is transferred to the management of your agents and their performance on the battlefield.
All Agents start at 100 base health upon startup, indicated by a white bar in the UI. During the mission, you can obtain medical kits with which to temporarily exceed this limit. In other words, if your agent’s remaining base health has decreased during a game, it will be affected during the next deployment. Additionally, if your agent is critically hit, they will be transferred to the hospital and cannot be selected until they have regenerated. The success of your mission not only gives you experience but also health to heal your agents in treatment. It is balanced in such a way that it takes multiple plays to fully restore its health.
The same thing for fallen agents, unlike them, you will have to try to recover them if you did not extract them. And if you fail to extract these agents and lose them, it is a severe punishment that will await you when you leave the game.
This is perhaps one of the tensest moments of the entire game. The rescue of a fallen Operator will begin when you return to the step where they died. Among the missions generated will be his release. If everyone on the team has someone to release, everyone will see their agent shot. Otherwise, you will see a wildcard operator.
During missions, we will find a kind of pillar where the agent is trapped between the claws. The mechanics are curious but pleasant. A player must hold down the action button to press against the claws. The companions, on the other hand, must destroy the impulses that the pillar sends towards the trapped agent. If they manage to hit the agent with the pulses, you will lose strength to the point that they may even die.
The situation is not at all simple. Besides being careful with the pillar itself and its impulses, you have to keep in mind the rest of the Archaeans who will come to its aid. This is one of the moments of greatest tension because you risk losing the opportunity to return this acquired experience. If you fail, the agent will return to your squad, i.e. you won’t lose it. In fact, if many agents die, some will return so you can keep playing.
But when we talk about the challenges of Rainbow Six: Extraction, we must highlight the playable offer beyond the four places. At a certain point, we unlock missions, a modality that rotates weekly and includes game modes such as Invasion, in which we must activate the doors of the level through an unlock sequence. The Archaeans will send more troops than normal to deal with you, and they will grow fiercer the longer you stay in the level.
The last playable Fortress can be found when you reach Rank 16, in which case you unlock the Maelstrom Protocol. In seven-day slots, you’ll find a chain of missions to complete with a designated group of Agents. Your score will be transferred to a leaderboard that will bring you unique experiences and rewards. There are just a few good reasons to come back to Extraction every week.
Unparalleled visual stability
Rainbox Six: Extraction has two display modes, either a performance mode that pushes the resolution up to 4K at 60 frames per second and another that prioritizes graphics quality at 1080p but with higher quality lighting and shading effects. As for the audio, the sound effects and the various sounds of the game will definitely put you in the mood for the game, so much so that even my son started screaming, at one point, when an explosive Archaean is came up to him from behind and groaned just before exploding.
Rainbow Six: Extraction manages to materialize and offer something cooperative that confronts us with a totally different universe and animated by elements that honour the style of Rainbow Six: Siege. Communication, cooperation and efficiency in the game are the keys to a shooter that also seeks to be tactical and avoid the competitive side of its PvP-based predecessor.
At launch, we have enough variety of locations that the passage of time does not weigh. From the start, it’s a challenge and the progression curve gradually progresses, taking you to improve the agents, the only way to be able to survive the next threat levels that you will unlock along the way. Reaching the Maelstrom protocol, level 16 out of 30, will take at least twenty hours.
By the way, buying the game entitles you to invite friends, even if they don’t own the game, to come and make inroads with you into the world of Extraction thanks to the “Friend pass” for a period of 14 days!
[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]