What started as Rainbow Six Quarantine is now Rainbow Six Extraction and a few weeks ago I got to go hands-on with the game. Straight off the bat, it’s important to note that this is a one-to-three player co-op game and whilst it does feel a lot like Rainbow Six Siege, it’s definitely not a competitive game, but rather a familiar feeling game with a new take.
The basic premise of Rainbow Six Extraction is that you and your team have to work together in order to get through up to three sub-maps, completing a number of objectives before extracting yourself and reaping the rewards. The game has a strong emphasis on risk versus reward, with your team being able to extract from the run before moving onto the next sub-map, and things will obviously get more difficult as you progress further but the rewards will obviously increase as well.
There were 11 objectives in the demo build. These are completely randomised on each run and here’s a bit of a brief description of each:
Specimen: This objective is all about luring the alien target to the extraction zone and capturing it alive
Decontamination: Here we need to get samples from contaminated nests in specific areas of the map
Nest Tracking: Sneak and plant trackers on a series of inactive nests, without being detected
Triangulation: Find and activate three specific laptop stations in a sub-map to gather intel
Serial scan: Capture and secure a series of areas whilst holding off waves of aliens
Hunt: You’ll need to kill several regular Archæans to summon an elite Archæans
Rescue: Locate and carry a VIP to the extraction zone
No One Left Behind: Bring back your fallen teammate to the extraction zone
MIA: Bring back your fallen teammate to the extraction zone
Shutdown: Carry three explosive charges to parasite tower to disable it
Sabotage: Defend explosive charges for a set time
Biopsy: Collect a tissue sample from a specific target takedown
The objectives and enemies that are placed in each sub-map are said to be procedurally generated. “It’s all procedurally generated,” said Patrik Méthé, Creative Director of Extraction. “So even as developers, we don’t know what objectives you’re going to be facing, in what order, what enemies you’re going to facing and where/what the loot is that you’ll be able to gather. This means that every time you visit a map, it’s going to be a different experience”.
After finding out which three objectives you’re going to face in your run, it’s time to choose your operator. In the demo, there were nine operators including Alibi, Hibana, Lion, Sledge, Vigil, and Finka. These will all be familiar to Rainbow Six Siege players. Each operator has a speciality ability (with more that can be unlocked as you level up). Just like other co-op games, you’ve got operators that are more offensive, those that are all about defence, and those that can purely support you with the likes of quickly reviving and helping everybody with health.
Obviously, being a Rainbow Six game, your next port of call is to choose your gear and load out. The gun selection looked to be similar to that of Siege and, as far as the React gear that we got to use goes, there was an ammo satchel, explosive harness, body armour and a recon drone. React explosives included the claymore, impact grenade, fragmentation grenade, smoke grenade and stun grenade.
Loading into the first game, the thing that was apparent immediately is that the fact that this is essentially a spin-off game of Siege has benefited it greatly. Movement and gunplay both feel incredibly familiar and tight. I got to experience a good amount of the objectives. Whilst they all feel unique enough, I do have concerns as to whether they can sustain themselves over long periods of time. I suspect that much of the longevity of this game will come from levelling your character and their gear as well as grinding alongside your mates. I’m going to give the game the benefit of the doubt due to the fact that Siege has not only been continually updated for years but it has become better with each iteration.
Speaking to Patrik Méthé about keeping the game familiar for Siege players yet still feeling fresh, he said: “I would say that the nature of the game is very different. Even though we’re built on the foundations of Siege, the feedback we’ve had from playtesters and other people that have had the chance to play is that the controls are familiar but the experience itself is totally different from the Siege experience in terms of how you tackle the challenges that you’re facing and how you deal with it efficiently.”
The enemies in Rainbow Six Extraction are called Archæans and whilst they look incredibly detailed and are super spooky, they definitely aren’t too dissimilar to what you would have faced in other games. The Grunt is your stock standard enemy that is fast-moving and uses melee, the Bloater will release a toxic gas when it gets near you and needs to be killed at range, the Spiker will fire at you from range out of its arms, the Breacher is a bomber and will detonate on contact, and the Rooter will release something that stops you in your tracks. The Lurker is an Archæan that’s a little bit different, it’s a support unit that can make both itself and other aliens invisible and you’ll need to use a special operator in order to spot them. For a lot of the enemies, there’s a great emphasis on stealth and working with your teammates, as they cannot see or hear you until you make a move or get close enough.
Speaking about the designs and inspiration for the Archæans, I was informed by Méthé that the inspiration for the alien creatures was a mysterious living organism called Blob (more on those here).
“Kudos to the art team,” he said. “They did a really great job. One of the first reference points was from a real living creature called The Blob. It’s not a joke, it exists for real. Google it and you’ll see that it’s a very weird creature that isn’t a plant, nor a mushroom, nor a moss, but it lives, eats and breathes. That was the initial inspiration and the art team came up with very intriguing models that you’re going to have the joy to fight against”.
One of the most unique parts of Rainbow Six Extraction is the fact if you are downed and not recovered within a certain time frame you will become “missing in action”. This basically means that that particular operator will be out of action until you go back to the particular location and extract their body. It really places extra emphasis on staying alive and being quick to help your teammates up.
Something else that I really liked about the game that I haven’t seen a lot elsewhere is that there’s consistently some kind of liquid matter spreading across the levels called “Sprawl”. This is basically a goo-like matter that will stop you in your tracks and completely change the game if you’re caught in it, making you a sitting target for enemies around you.
One of my concerns with co-op games is that I’m somebody that likes to play games alone the majority of the time. Speaking about the experience of playing solo, Méthé said: “Basically, React, the group that is sending you to a region based on how many people are in your squad. The level of contamination of a given area is suited to offer you a good challenge, but a fair challenge”. Expanding on this, he said that “all of the missions are available no matter how many people are playing”.
At the end of the day, shooting alien type enemies alongside mates is never not going to be satisfying, and that’s exactly what this game is. You won’t find too many games with better gunplay than Rainbow Six Siege, and that’s what’s on offer here with an incredibly easy pick-up-and-play title. I’m really eager to see how this one shapes up and how it evolves over time.
Rainbow Six Extraction is out on September 16th for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox One and PC.