Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Extraction (PlayStation 5) Review

By Gareth F 04.06.2022

Review for Tom Clancy

There's no doubt to anybody familiar with the currently active roster of competitive online shooters, that Rainbow Six Siege is probably the most hardcore of the lot. Steep learning curve? Check. Hostile, unwelcoming community, overly eager to mete out punishment for minor infractions? Also, an accurate assessment. It's definitely not one for the casuals. Speaking as a practitioner of an aggressive 'gung-ho' play style that regularly yields killing sprees in more mainstream titles such as Call of Duty, any attempts to deploy a similar approach on the more tactically paced Siege just come across as needlessly reckless, and are ultimately doomed to failure. Indeed, it's humbling to admit it, but this particular reviewer gingerly tendered his Rainbow Six resignation after an embarrassing explosive incident that wiped out an entire squad of friendlies before the round had even started. Thankfully the inclusion of the co-operative Terrorist Hunt mode offered a less pressurised environment to stick it to the bad guys, and it was the time-limited 'Outbreak' makeover that laid down the foundations for what would later become Rainbow Six Extraction.

Outbreak swapped the tense, insurgent stalking PVE for an alien infestation scenario more akin to the chaotic Left 4 Dead in execution. It only occupied a relatively miniscule window of availability in the Rainbow Six timeline, but it proved popular enough to prompt Ubisoft's bean counters to green light a standalone spinoff. After all, this is a franchise that has reportedly generated over a billion dollars in revenue via its operator and cosmetic DLC packs alone; casually dismissing another potentially lucrative revenue stream would be foolish to say the least.

This time around New York city becomes the focus of the 'Archaeans,' a name swiftly bestowed on the emergent Chimera alien parasite that touches down in the Big Apple for a spot of sightseeing and destruction. First contact is captured and relayed via the medium of shaky cam footage in a transmission that abruptly ends with the symbolic decapitation of the Statue of Liberty. Of course, this is merely the start of the "Archaean's on a Rampage Tour 2022" as the infestation spreads quicker than a new strain of Covid in hay fever season. It's not long before San Francisco and Alaska are declared emergency containment sites, so it's left to the React organisation to send in some of its finest operatives in to try and regain control.

After the recent releases of Alien: Fireteam Elite and Back 4 Blood, is there really room for yet another co-op contender in an overly saturated genre clearly starved of fresh ideas? It certainly makes it a bit harder for Rainbow Six Extraction to not come across as being slightly generic or derivative when compared to well established stalwarts such as Destiny, Sniper Elite, Borderlands or Zombie Army. What Extraction does have in its favour though is the Rainbow Six branding; a series synonymous with tight, fluid gunplay, weaponry that packs considerable heft, and a plethora of cool gadgetry geared towards making living things dead. Bringing across 18 slightly tweaked React operators from Siege is a nice touch that will no doubt help series veterans transition seamlessly to this title. Grizzled troops making the switch to Extraction will also enjoy the returning option to either blast through or reinforce weaker, destructible walls to efficiently attack or stem the flow of the onslaught. Why go around when you can go through right?

Screenshot for Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Extraction on PlayStation 5

Everything about Rainbow Six Extraction oozes the Ubisoft aesthetic, from the familiar vibrant screen overlays constantly ticking over with vital information, to the polished cinematics used to convey the narrative. That said, it doesn't appear to leverage the PlayStation 5's speedy hard drive in any noticeable way, and while graphically appealing, it falls just short of being the ocular-busting extravaganza that one might expect from a next-gen title. Some of the sizable environments can occasionally come across as being a bit sterile and uninspired in appearance, but this is expertly offset by good use of lighting and a generous coating of... err, alien gunk.

The character design for both the operators and Archaean is a bit of a mixed bag, though the alien menace does evolve into more gruesome and deadlier variations as the campaign progresses. These parasitic beings range from low level humanoid Grunts that quickly mobilise and rely on melee attacks, Bloaters that crawl around on all fours and possess horrible, bulbous sacks on their backs that explode with a toxic green cloud of particles and Spikers that deal out ranged damage from afar. It gets noticeably tougher later on when the gangly looking projectile lobbing Tormentor turns up with its ability to quickly sink out of sight before emerging again nearby. There's a heavily armoured, tank-like enemy called the Smasher that, upon spotting a nearby React operator, rapidly charges headfirst at them like an irritated rhino. Lovers of boss battles (do these people exist?) will get to throw down against the tougher, faster alpha variants known only as the Protean, and these tricky customers have the ability to adapt and mimic the abilities and behavioural traits of select React operators to use against them. It's a veritable smorgasbord of alien anthropology.

The Archaean exhibit signs of being a hive mind entity that seemingly communicate via a viscous, black goo called 'Sprawl.' While not exactly possessing the finesse of 5G in functionality, Sprawl will noticeably creep across all surfaces in areas of high activity, and its glue-like qualities prove to be problematic for the operators, drastically slowing down traversal. If the Sprawl detects even the slightest whiff of hostility, it's able to rapidly deploy nesting pods that can sprout up any point of its surface area. Why is this bad? Well, there'll already be a few of these nests scattered about in random locations (floors, walls, ceilings) so increasing these numbers just as they all sync up and start pumping out enemies at a ferocious rate… well here's a clue, absolute carnage. It makes good tactical sense to take nests out of commission as stealthily as possible and utilising this approach has the added bonus of causing any Sprawl in the immediate vicinity to wither and die. Of course, Sprawl can also be stripped back with good old reliable gunfire, but sacrificing the benefits of remaining covert combined with the organic interconnectivity of the species, is the equivalent of walking into a nursing ward full of napping babies and repeatedly banging a saucepan lid until they all wake up screaming. A seemingly routine operation can rapidly plunge into chaos when carelessness calls.

Screenshot for Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Extraction on PlayStation 5

A typical foray into a containment zone will task the squad with three different objectives out of a possible twelve, each progressively more difficult than the previous. In a bid to keep the action relatively dynamic, these objectives are randomised prior to each incursion to ensure repeat visits feel like entirely different experiences. Maps are physically split into three distinct sub-sectors (one for each objective) separated by airlocks that not only act as a temporary safe haven, but also prevent the potential blurring of objectives given that progress to the next area is only possible once all three operators have initiated the transition procedure. Failure is not an outcome that anybody actively seeks, be it in life or video games, however sometimes the futility of it all can prove too much, and it just makes more sense to cut all losses and extract. This can be done at any given point during a sortie, and it makes sound tactical sense when it all starts to go off the rails as there is an underlying element of persistence at play that will temporarily impede on React's deployable assets - ranging from injury to MIA operatives (more on this later).

Objective wise, there's a diverse selection on offer starting off with easier tasks such as sneakily sticking probes into un-agitated nests or obtaining tissue samples by performing stealth biopsies on living specimens; scaling up to slightly tougher exercises involving the location and rescue/recovery of VIP hostages/intel. A few of the objectives have a basis in familiar, well established competitive multiplayer modes such as 'Hardpoint' (Serial Scan, remain on capture pads while waves of Archaean get very angry about it) and 'Search and Destroy' (Sabotage which involves planting explosives on alien towers which need to be defended until detonation). An objective that will certainly crop up more often than not is 'MIA Rescue' and this, as the name implies, is all about recovering an asset lost during a failed incursion.

Ubisoft has added a resource management overlay to proceedings that force a more tactical approach at the planning stage and central to this is a mechanism that feels fairly insignificant at first glance, but actually impacts greatly with further progression. It all boils down to the health of the available pool of operatives. Video games have created a normality that as soon as a level is completed, health gets bumped back up to the max and the next stage can be tackled with a fresh pair of legs. Not so in Rainbow Six Extraction. Health packs are few and far between out in the field and similarly, the operatives that can dispense medical treatment have only a limited supply at their disposal. Any health packs consumed serve only to boost rather than fully replenish, which means that any injuries sustained in the field will carry over. This can prove problematic if an operator extracts from a mission heavily injured with their health at its lowest ebb as they'll be forced into a period of rest and recuperation which pulls them out of active duty for a few rounds.

Screenshot for Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Extraction on PlayStation 5

If an operator is fully incapacitated midway during an exercise, then they will be swiftly encased in a life preserving foam that makes them look like a human sized Monster Munch. While in this downed, cocoon-like state a fellow squad member can pick them up and physically carry them to the extraction point ensuring that earned XP can still be claimed as normal, and they get the opportunity to chill out with a few boxsets while resting up. More often than not, though, unconscious operators are left behind in the containment zone by their overwhelmed buddies which sees them pulled out of the pooled assets selection process. Revisiting that area will initiate the aforementioned MIA Rescue objective which provides the opportunity to bring the downed ally back into the fold. Easier said than done though.

Once located it soon becomes apparent that the fallen comrade has been tampered with a number of tentacle-like tubes that have been attached to their life support sheath, anchoring them to the spot. As if on cue, Archaean juice slowly starts pumping down these slimy looking organic hoses towards the encased operator. To ensure they survive this ordeal one of the team will need to wrestle them free by constantly pulling at them, while the other two stave off a surprise attack while simultaneously intercepting the poison before it gets delivered to its target. Do this too slowly and the operator won't survive meaning that another rescue will need to be attempted in future session. Pull them free successfully and they can be carried to the extraction point ensuring they'll once again be available for deployment at some point in the near future.

Should the unthinkable happen and an operative gets downed while attempting to rescue another fallen hero then they'll switch places and become MIA themselves while the previous absentee is returned to the HQ, battered, bruised, and deprived of the XP they earned during the fateful mission they fell. At the time of writing this review, this critic's own pool of talent currently has three operators that are MIA, and three that are resting up, unfit for duty. Incompetence costs. An operator will become more effective in the field with repeated usage as they can be levelled up ten times, incrementally improving their stats and capabilities at each plateau. While ordinarily one might want to stick with a preferred character and buff them up to the max it really isn't that simple as a lot of the time they'll be out of commission. There is also an additional set of tasks that need to be completed independently of the squad and these provide research information that drives forward the campaign narrative and provides the in-game currency to research and unlock new equipment.

Screenshot for Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Extraction on PlayStation 5

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Rainbow Six Extraction stealthily moves down a well-trodden path, carrying a fairly uninspired narrative that could be described as hackneyed at best. OK, as pithy summations go maybe that's a little bit harsh. Sure, this won't be winning any awards for its high concept themes or originality, but does that really matter when it's so much fun to play? While Ubisoft hasn't reinvented the wheel here, it has at least implemented enough innovative ideas in its core gameplay loop to keep potential React operators engaged in the Archaean struggle. As with any title reliant on repeated playthroughs, there's maybe a slight concern on its longevity, however the promise of regular, free content drops, should be reason enough to warrant regular revisits. It's also worth noting that it's available on Xbox Game Pass from day one, courtesy of Uncle Phil's deep pockets.


Ubisoft Montreal




First Person Shooter



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


Comments are currently disabled

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?

There are 1 members online at the moment.