HAVE A VIDEO YOU WANT TO FEATURE ON OUR PAGE?

Submit Video

To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Not now
OK
Advert

'Rainbow Six Extraction' Turns 'Left 4 Dead' Into A Tactical Shooter

Published 
| Last updated 

'Rainbow Six Extraction' Turns 'Left 4 Dead' Into A Tactical Shooter

Rainbow Six Extraction takes the skeleton of Siege and wraps it in the flesh of a co-op shooter. Rather than face real humans, you instead fight in teams of three against waves of AI-controlled aliens. It’s a changeup that, despite some let downs, makes for an excellently fun time.

Advert

Built as a spinoff of the limited-time Outbreak mode released for Siege back in 2018, Extraction sees Rainbow’s operators travelling to different hot spots around the globe to push back against an alien invasion.

Loading…

Similar to co-op shooters like Left 4 Dead and World War Z, Extraction is built to be replayable. Rather than have a linear campaign it has different locations you’ll return to over and over, such as San Francisco’s Tenderloin industrial district, a research station in Alaska, and a New York penthouse.

Advert

Ubisoft’s added variety by having each level broken down into three stages, each of which with a randomly assigned mission objective. You might find yourself fighting through the different levels of a New York police department, first planting tracking beacons in alien nests in the car park. Then, in the second stage, pushing into the main offices, trying to stalk an elite alien and extract a DNA sample from it without killing it. And, in the final section, fighting through the main lobby and to an evacuation point on the police station steps, all while covering a civilian from alien attack.

I’ve been playing for 15 hours or so at this point and each level still feels fresh. A big part of this is that, thanks to Extraction’s destructible environments, the layout can change from mission to mission. On one playthrough you might be able to sneak down a tight corridor, but on the next visit big holes in the walls open the corridor up to the alien-filled rooms it winds between.

On top of that, you and your squadmates have a stack of Rainbow Six Siege’s operators to pick from, each with their own set of weapons, special abilities, and progression tracks to unlock. So from mission to mission there’s a huge amount of variation.

Advert
Rainbow Six Extraction | Credit: Ubisoft
Rainbow Six Extraction | Credit: Ubisoft

In each section there’s an extraction point, so if things are going badly you always have the option of trying to escape before your mission is complete. It may seem like the quitters' way out but as my squad and I played more of the game, making the call to cut our losses became more and more important.

There are two very good reasons to extract early: XP and going MIA. As you’d expect, you get XP for completing objectives and killing enemies, but if you survive a mission you also get a 90% bonus on all the XP you earned on a mission. You really need to level up your characters if you want a chance on the higher difficulty modes, as levelling up unlocks new gear for your characters and also vital passive buffs, like speed and armour increases.

Advert
Rainbow Six Extraction | Credit: Ubisoft
Rainbow Six Extraction | Credit: Ubisoft

Going MIA is unique to Extraction and, while a pain at first, it is a system I’ve come to respect. It drives a lot of my decision-making when I’m playing. If you’re left behind in a mission your operator becomes MIA. This may be because your squad was wiped out, or that your character was knocked down and no one was able to save you. When an operator is MIA they’re removed from your roster and the only way to get them back is to run a fresh mission on that level, but this time one of the mission’s stages will be a rescue mission.

It’s a punishing system but one that gives a wonderful tension to every step of an infiltration: do we push on and risk all our XP, or extract early to keep our full roster? Adding further pressure to your decisions is that any damage your operators receive will carry over into future missions until it is healed. How do you heal operators? By earning XP. So extracting early may keep your operators alive, but if you’ve not earned much XP in that mission then you won’t be doing much good for the health bars of your operators back home.

Advert

It’s also that pressure, that difficulty, that encourages you to play Extraction not like Left 4 Dead but like a Rainbow Six game. The aliens you face are dumb but deadly. Their senses aren’t too sharp, so you can sneak through a map and stay out of sight and earshot; but, if you are spotted, your enemy will scream for help. Not only does the scream bring in all nearby enemies, but it sets the alien nests to breeding. What starts as one enemy grunt can fast turn into a whole horde of aliens charging down on your position.

My squad and I found ourselves taking our missions more slowly, using drones to scout ahead, executing enemies with silenced headshots or stabs to the back when we could. The systems, rewards, and punishments of Extraction firmly pushed us into this style of play, and I’m glad for it. Extraction now sits apart from the other co-op shooters I have sitting in my Steam library. It scratches the same itch as Rainbow Six Vegas 2’s terrorist hunt mode, an itch I’ve been feeling for years.

Rainbow Six Extraction | Credit: Ubisoft
Rainbow Six Extraction | Credit: Ubisoft

Extraction is at its best when Rainbow Six Siege shines through. Like when you plant a pack of C4 on one of the roots of the alien superstructure that grows throughout each level. Once the explosive is set you have to fend off waves of the creatures as the bomb counts down. The aliens will punch holes through walls, break down locked doors, and do whatever they can to get at you. You need to use barricades and defensive equipment, like claymores, turrets, and decoys, to slow down or redirect your enemies. This is particularly true on the higher difficulties where you open up a larger roster of enemy types. These higher-level aliens, either through heavy armour or advanced movement abilities, will cut through your defences, forcing your team to adapt.

That’s Extraction at its best - a co-op game that, through punishing difficulty and systems, encourages you to play it tactically. But there are some real frustrations. My chief complaint is the alien’s art design. The main colour for the Archeans is black. The goop they spread across the floors and walls is black, their skin is black, their armour is black. In the heat of the moment it can be hard to spot your enemies, and even harder to work out what type of enemy you’re facing. Grunts, spikers, and tormentors are all tall, thin humanoid figures with completely black skin. Their body shapes differ but not so much that they’re immediately easy to tell apart, especially when standing in a corridor with black floors and walls.

Rainbow Six Extraction | Credit: Ubisoft
Rainbow Six Extraction | Credit: Ubisoft

There are also a few enemies that just feel cheap. There’s this blobby enemy that scoots around on the floor like a fleshy Roomba. It’s often hard to spot because it’s so low to the ground, so it can do a tonne of damage to you before you even realise it’s there. Then, once you shoot it, it splits into three, making it harder to finish off. It feels out of place compared to the other enemies and represents a really frustrating way to be killed.

I was put off by the art style in the early hours of playing and nearly missed how much fun I was starting to have with Extraction, but now . I’m really looking forward to it launching on Game Pass, because I know a lot of friends who miss the days of Rainbow Six Vegas 2’s terrorist hunt who are going to love this. I’ll just have to hope it delivers on my promises that it’s worth pushing through to find that tactical co-op joy beneath the black and goopy surface.

Featured Image Credit: Ubisoft

Topics: Ubisoft

Julian Benson
More like this
Advert
Advert
Advert

Chosen for YouChosen for You

Cyberpunk 2077

Forget 'Cyberpunk 2077', Here's Why Johnny Silverhand Deserves His Own Game

8 hours ago

Most Read StoriesMost Read