We’ve been getting ready for the release of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction from Ubisoft for some time now, and it’s now here.
We had our first proper play session with the new co-op shooter, and the verdict is a positive one. If you’ve played Rainbow Six Siege and enjoyed it, then you’ll like Extraction. To us it feels like Siege due to nearly identical gunplay and environmental mechanics, mixed with the infected/post-apocalyptic feel of The Division, also from Ubisoft. In fact, one of the best things about Extraction is that it’s a bit more colorful and visually interesting than Siege, making it an excellent showcase for a new monitor.
Also notable right off the bat is the much more reasonable and sedate pace that Extraction has in comparison to Siege. Maps are larger and more diverse, including urban areas, warehouses, and open sections. Each mission includes three main objectives, but your team can extract at any time by heading to a pick-up point, just like in XCOM. Hence the title Extraction. The Archaeans are the bad guys, aliens of an unknown origin that are spreading across the world. One of your primary missions is to learn more about them, mostly by shooting them, naturally.
Unlike Siege and its handful of solo training missions, Extraction is perfectly suitable to solo play. The AI adjusts itself plus there are difficulty levels. Choose the easiest one (recommended for solo players from our experience), and you’ll get a very optimized game pace. Enemies won’t swarm you like in Back 4 Blood unless you cause too much noise or trouble, in which case a minor swarm may emerge. Swarms can be difficult to handle alone, and if you get downed, your operator doesn’t die, but rather becomes incapacitated and removed from the roster until, you guessed it, extracted from the hot zone.
Rainbow Six Extraction brings back eighteen of the operators from Siege, acting as a sort of parallel universe or maybe a sequel. The timeline in which Extraction is set isn’t immediately clear. We assume the roster of operators will grow with time, but in any case we prefer to stick with our favorite, Yumiko Imagawa aka Hibana. As always, Hibana offers a good balance, covering close quarters, long range, stealth, and guns blazing. Of course, with Extraction the stakes can get high. There’s no recharging health, and if Hibana goes down for the count we need to play as other operators to go in and rescue her. We’ll do that for Hibana, but it’s not always easy, as the AI increases enemy difficulty and alertness in rescue situations as opposed to regular recon activity. Presumably because the aliens expect more humans to arrive and rescue their incapacitated comrade.
Extraction uses the Ubisoft Anvil engine, an upgraded version of the Anvil backbone used in Rainbow Six Siege. It’s technically the same engine used in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Thus, it looks better and runs very well on Xbox Series X and PC in 4K 60Hz or higher on the latter. On the Series X there’s the by-now quite usual choice between performance and quality modes. Performance seems to be 1440p or maybe even 1080p but with a solid 60Hz at all times. Quality looks much better and seems like native 4K. We also got 60Hz in this mode, so we’re not sure why you’d want to choose the lower resolution mode, but perhaps in some missions there will be frame rate drops.
What we liked most about Extraction’s visuals was the increased color palette. Siege looks good, but Extraction has much denser and more detailed environments, plus more attractive color choices that don’t shy away from the purples and pinks. It’s more artistic than Siege, and thus reminds us of the often surreal environments seen in both The Division games. The lighting is also clearly superior to that of Siege, lending everything more depth. However, the aliens are a bit of a letdown. They don’t look bad, but variety could be greater plus in comparison to other co-op/horde first person shooters, the Archaeans could do better in the detail department. Still, when even a regular restroom in a game is enough to make you want to take a screen grab, you know things are good.
The environments are almost as destructible as in Siege, meaning walls can be shot away and fall apart satisfyingly. There’s less emphasis on barricades, presumably because the aliens don’t follow the same logic human opponents would and are also much more powerful. They can break through walls if needed and require a lot more firepower and/or bullets to take down than anything in Siege.
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