Rainbow Six: Siege launched 7 April 2015, and it’s now June 2021. That six – coincidence? I think not! – year gap is enough for people to wonder about a follow up title, whether or not they’re consciously thinking about it. Well, here it is: our experience with a preview of Rainbow Six: Extraction, set for a 16 September launch. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
As one might expect, the game looks great, be it the lighting effects, to the smaller details in reflections. The enemies themselves look more on the generic side: you’ve got your typical humanoid zombies, some of which carry explosive loads on their backs, or the bigger dudes who can fire god knows what from their hands. This being a limited preview, there was only the one map, called Alaska.
That’s not a bad thing though. Alaska’s a well designed level, with plenty of close and tight areas to heighten the sense of claustrophobia. Sure, you can use these narrow areas to gun down anything that might pour in easily, but there is that sense of danger due to the fact there’s friendly fire in this game. Without enough space to maneuver, you’re going to have to reconsider your strategic options lest you injure a teammate. There’s no spare room to breathe even if you make it out to a wider open area: better make sure you can somehow cover ground fast enough before you get spotted.
Dubbed Archæan, there’s plenty of these nasty fiends hanging around the place. Here are a few examples we encountered in the preview:
- The Nest: Secreting something called “Sprawl”, this goo can slow you down while the Nest alert its friends. You can shoot at the Sprawl to clear a path for yourself, though that does come with its own risks in alerting nearby creatures. Melee doesn’t seem to work.
- Grunts: Regular humanoid zombies
- Bloater / Breacher: The humanoid zombies with explosive sacks on their back
- Bloaters explode into a cloud of toxic gas
- Breachers simply blow up anything in the area
- Sticky Spores: Don’t be fooled by its name. These don’t attack, but they’ll, well, stick on you if you get close. After some time, these spores will explode. They’re small and hard to spot, so you’d want to avoid them where possible. You can shoot them if they get stuck on an ally; just remember about friendly fire
They have weak points that glow red, so you know what to do.
Our preview of Rainbow Six: Extraction had us play in a maximum of three in a party, and is closer to a PVE experience than Siege, with one to three persons to a “squad”.
We could choose from 9 Operators, but Sledge was not available to start, requiring us to accomplish certain objectives before rescuing him. The game will inform you about the mission objective before you pick your Operators, so there won’t be any moments where you discover you’ve brought someone unsuited to the mission at hand without the necessary preparations. Siege players will recognize these old faces, as they find themselves facing a new threat.
Rainbow Six: Extraction game sessions will pick three at random from a pool of possible objectives to start, of which the preview contained the following:
- Specimen: Lure a target to extraction zone to capture it
- Decontamination: Get samples from contaminated nest in a specific area on the map
- Nest Tracking: Stealth mission, plant tracker in contaminated nest without getting detected
- Triangulation: Find and activate 3 specific laptop stations in a sub-map to gather intel
- Serial Scan: Capture and secure a series or areas, while holdoff waves of aliens
- Hunt: Kill several regular Archæans to summon an Elite Archæan, and kill it as well
- Rescue: The objectives to rescue MIA operators
- No One Left Behind: Bring back your fallen teammates (Those who incapacitated during game) to extraction zone
- Shutdown: Carry 3 explosive charges to parasite tower to disable it
- Sabotage: Defend explosive charge for a period of time while being attack by waves of Archæans
- Biopsy: Collect tissues sample from a specific target via takedown
As is usually the case with randomly picked things, the difficulty for these objectives can vary from easy to “team coordination required”. The issue is that the sequence of objectives don’t start off with the “easiest” one: you can be immediately thrown into a tough situation before you can even make it to the other missions.
Rescue is self-explanatory in concept, where you will need to rescue an Operator captured by a Chimera Archæan Tree. A number of Pulsating Fuel Pods will be tethered to the tree, powering up this deadly plant. It’ll be a little game of tug of war, as you repeatedly destroy the fuel pods in order to succeed in rescuing your comrade. That’s not just a figure of speech: someone will need to work at extracting the Operator while the other two position themselves to destroy the pods and any other nasty surprises the game may spring on you. If the area happens to involve different elevations, you’ll need to split yourselves accordingly. If you don’t succeed in this objective, it’ll crop up again until you do, though not in consecutive sessions. Fulfilling objectives grant additional EXP towards your Operators.
For an extra level of challenge, Operator health carries through from game to game. Healing rarely crops up, so Operators who can heal become extremely valuable for this purpose, be it during a specific session or across several others. Post sessions, you do heal up some, but it’ll rarely be to full. Operators who fall during missions will become unavailable to select for a following session. You can bring fallen teammates to the extraction point, though we didn’t get to try it this time.
Each Operator comes equipped with a drone camera car to use for scouting, powered by a battery that drains accordingly to distance travelled. You can recall it to have it magically reappear in your pocket for convenience sake, though you do have the option to leave it there for whatever reason.
It’s a departure from the multiplayer, PVP experience of Siege, which may be a good or bad thing depending on what you were expecting for Extraction. The preview gave a good feel of the uneasy atmosphere its setting is meant to give, as you fight these creatures. Generic monster design works, so long it fits the mood.
The variety in objectives helps to spice up gameplay, and has you adapt accordingly to the situation. Since you can see your objectives prior to confirming your Operators and loadout, it removes the fake difficulty brought on by obscured missions, and gives you that fighting chance per game. We’ll be looking forward to seeing what comes of Rainbow Six: Extraction, and we hope you’ve enjoyed this sneak preview!