With its sci-fi premise and alien threat, Rainbow Six Extraction is going in a completely different direction from its predecessors, but at the same time, the co-op shooter is also trying to retain the series’ core gameplay identity. New details that Ubisoft has released on the game in the last few months have certainly piqued our curiosity as to how it’s shaping up, and after having been able to check out several hours of gameplay in a recent hands-off session, we’ve learned plenty more about Rainbow Six Extraction. Here, we’re going to talk about a few things that have stood out to us the most.
Incursions in Rainbow Six Extraction are structured quite interestingly. Rainbow Six Extraction’s dozen maps (at launch) are divided across four zones, and each zone has three subzones- the latter being the maps, for all practical purposes. Each incursion takes you do a different subzone, and is also divided into three escalating stages across three areas. Upon completing the one objective, you move on to the next area for your next task. Rewards and XP become larger as you head deeper, but at the same time, the challenge increases as well, with you encounter consistently more terrifying threats. I’m curious to see whether Rainbow Six Extraction will be able to stave off repetition, which is particularly important given the very nature of the experience, but this structure does seem like a good fit for the game.
It looks like something else that is going to keep things varied and dynamic is objectives. Each of your three objectives for every incursion is randomly assigned in the beginning from a pool of over a dozen different types, and from everything that we’ve seen so far, the objectives have been consistently tense and enjoyable. From being tasked with luring an Archaean into a specific zone for capture to being asked to tacking down and hunting specific kinds of Archaeans to finding dangerous Arch Spines and blowing them up with charges, Rainbow Six Extraction looks like it’s going to be able to keep players immersed with its objective types.
Something that Ubisoft seems to really be stressing is that though Rainbow Six Extraction is obviously going to have a lot in common with Rainbow Six Siege in terms of playable characters, or even gameplay mechanics and gunplay, those things are going to have to be applied in completely different ways to combat very different threats. As such, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that the group of three that heads in for an incursion has to stick together and work together. Extraction’s Archaeans can be deadly and quickly overwhelm you, so working together with your squadmates with carefully picked loadouts, communication, and smart usage of gadgets and weapons is crucial to making any real progress in the game.
DON’T RUSH THINGS
This is something else that Rainbow Six Extraction obviously wants to drill into you right off the bat- it wants you to play in a methodical, deliberate manner. Each of the zones in an incursion imposes a 15-minute time limit on you, but even so, the game doesn’t want you to rush things. Running blindly into a new area without carefully surveying it first, ideally with the use of gadgets, can be deadly. From carefully hidden nests to specific enemy types that might spot you and alert their pals to call down an entire swarm of Archaeans on you, there are several threats in Rainbow Six Extraction that won’t always immediately reveal themselves- so take your time, check your corners, and make smart use of your full arsenal.
We’ve spoken plenty about the zones in Rainbow Six Extraction, but exactly what should you expect from them in terms of design and variety? Well, we’ve been pretty impressed with what we’ve seen so far. At first only the New York Zone will be unlocked for players, but we’ve seen each of the four New York maps. From the penthouse suites and crammed interiors of Monolith Gardens to the outdoor locations and creepy museum of Liberty Island to the more systematically laid out NYC Police Station, Rainbow Six Extraction seems to be offering nice variety across maps both in terms of visuals and design. Ubisoft is also promising that each of the 12 maps that Extraction will have at launch will be several times larger than any map in Siege, with the largest being three times as large. Of course, whether or not the maps in Extraction can keep players coming back for more over a prolonged period of time remains to be seen, but if Ubisoft can support the game the way it ought to be supported, they’ll at least have a solid foundation to work off of.
The Archaeans are clearly going to be the stars of the show in Rainbow Six Extraction– which makes sense, since they’re central to the game’s very premise. Incursions are constantly tense because you never quite know what lies around the corner, and with over a dozen different types of Archaean types, your foes have some interesting tricks up their sleeves. Bloaters will explode into noxious gaseous as soon as they get close to you, while Spikers will shoot armour-piercing projectiles at you- when different kinds of Archaeans are bearing down on you together, prioritizing them smartly and keeping their specific abilities and weaknesses in mind is key. Meanwhile, you’ll also be running into environmental threats such as Nests that spawn more Archaeans, or a black gooey substance known a the Sprawl that spreads over the ground and walls and impedes your movement.
WEAPONS AND TECH
As you may have gathered, carefully picking your loadout is going to be a significant factor in determining how your incursions in Rainbow Six Extraction go. Which kind of weapon you’re heading in with is, of course, going to be important, but just as important will be figuring out which gadgets you’ll bring with you. Smoke grenades can be used to stun enemies or mask your own movement, while revive kits are crucial for obvious reasons. Recon drones can provide valuable information about what dangers might be lying ahead, while a glue grenade can come in extremely handy when you’re facing large crowds.
Rainbow Six Extraction is going for very clear horror vibes, and as such, it’s not surprising that one thing that Ubisoft seems to have put quite a bit of emphasis on is audio design. Weapons all sound punchy so far, while different types of Archaeans sound suitably creepy and/or deadly. Using tracking equipment to detect movement based on sound is something that you’re going to be doing plenty of in the game, so it makes sense that audio design is being emphasized. If we’re going by what we saw of the game in our hands-off session, it’s certainly doing its job.
For any live service multiplayer game, keeping players interested can be a tricky thing, and what it often boils down to is the progression system. That, in Rainbow Six Extraction, looks like its going to be multilayered. In addition to customizing and improving your weapons, you’ll also be able to use the XP you earn in incursions on new REACT tech, which will unlock more gear that you can use across your entire roster of Operators. Meanwhile, on an even more zoomed out scale, Rainbow Six Extraction will see you making progress and hitting a number of different Milestones – there will be 30 of these in the game at launch – which will unlock everything from new containment zones and more challenging difficulty levels to additional Operators, new cosmetics, and more.