Rainbow Six Extraction is an alien shooter game with less guns and more tactics

This tough alien multiplayer shooter will ultimately live or die on its post-launch content.

Extraction is built from the bones of the hugely successful tactical shooter Rainbow Six Siege.

It feels the same and that game engine underneath instantly has the Siege vibe.

We’ve even got some of the same operators in this game.

But they’re flung into a whole new world where nasty aliens have taken over parts of America and our gun heroes are tasked with dropping into their nest-zones and completing a series of difficult infiltration and extraction missions.

Unlike other zombie-style survival games, this one revolves around teams of three players battling as a unit, not four.

And that changes up your dynamic quite dramatically as you spend a lot more time carefully picking operator teams that complement each other in the battlefield, feeling more vulnerable with the tighter crew.

Run-and-gun gamers on the likes of Call of Duty and Battlefield won’t particularly take to this game either.

It’s all about tactics, slow, steady, stealth gameplay, and trying not to ever shoot your weapon to alert the surrounding monsters.

You enter an alien-filled zone and will be given three randomly generated tasks from a list of challenges.

That can be, for example, capturing and bringing home a living ET monster from an extraction zone, collecting tissue samples around a swarm of baddies or tracking and taking out an alien nest.

You start with a VR-style offline training session and then its straight in with your buddies in online firefights.

The lore is pretty cool, an unidentified Russian Soyuz capsule crashed and triggered an ET epidemic.

Your React task force is out there, trying to gather as much intel as possible with each infiltration to bring home and learn more about the other-worldly beasties.

The longer you stay in a zone, the higher the intel rewards, but also the harder it gets. You can extract yourself and the team at any time if things go wrong.

Graphics really utilise the next-generation consoles and the game looks and plays slick as you start an incursion into a futuristic armageddon-style Liberty Island or Alaskan snowy research centre containment zone.

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It is first-person shooter fodder and has that Deus Ex vibe thanks to the need for slow, stealth combat – lots of quietly pinpointing and taking down wandering grunts without the others noticing.

It’s not easy, this is a very tough game.

And there’s real danger for your overall progression when you do mess up and get beaten by the Archæan aliens.

Operators that are downed in a containment zone are protected by a medical device that puts them in stasis. You then have to try to rescue them in future games as you return to the scene of the encounter. They’re not accessible in the menus otherwise.

This gameplay feature encourages players who have invested in upgrading their Operators over time to double down and re-enter the containment zone with a new squad to save their valuable operator and all of their gear, upgrades.

So it’s slow, concise, plodding teamwork as you edge to victory with a tactical incursion and extraction across your three-mission game.

That makes Rainbow Six a very stressful experience at points and when things go wrong all hell breaks loose and you find yourself in a sudden death spiral, doing everything you can to get to safety before losing to stasis half-death.

That change of pace from the usual shooter is welcomed, but the difficulty level is high from the off, and players may find themselves getting frustrated with the lack of smooth progression like in other gun games.

And while the missions are varied, this is ultimately only a multiplayer game, so it will live or die in the long run on how Ubisoft keeps things feeling fresh post-launch.

Siege is many years old now and still loved by its small, but dedicated community.

Extraction too will no doubt have a similar community but, to keep the player pool as high as possible, gamers will need to be fed regular updates and revisions to the formula to keep this title at the forefront of their gameplay.

It’s a great move to have it as a day-one title on Xbox’s Game Pass.

Those who may never pay the full whack for this game will definitely try it if they’re subscribed to the all-you-can-eat service. That can only benefit Extraction’s Xbox player servers, certainly in the next few weeks.

The Playstation version might not be quite so bountiful.

Ultimately, this is a difficult, stressful game, but a fun one if you can pull off some epic stealth takedowns and are happy to quietly chip away at a mission, rather than go in all-guns-blazing.

VERDICT 4/5

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