Rainbow six. This game franchise has had so many different developments throughout the series it’s hard to really grasp what the franchise really is. It started as a story driven single player experience, where you as the player where the leader of an anti-terrorist group. Then with the advancement in online multiplayer, there still was a story campaign, but more and more the multiplayer aspect became the forefront of the game, which was noticeable in my personal favourite of the series: Rainbow six 3: Raven shield. It’s hard to think of the games Rainbow six: Vegas and Vegas 2, which had great single player campaigns, but which I personally only played the single player not the multiplayer component off. The last hit, which took the internet and the competitive scene, is Rainbow six: siege, which now in it’s 6th year, is still going strong online.
While Siege, as it’s known online, only has a multiplayer component and only focuses on the multiplayer aspect of it, Extraction is again an experience you can enjoy singleplayer if you wanted too. The story, about an alien/virus infestation, is brought to you in cutscenes, the game itself, if you played siege, will feel familiar.
Extraction started it’s lifecycle as the outbreak event in Rainbow six: siege, and was something completely different of what we were used to. It’s not a wacky game mode, but more of a survival/tactical experience, which is comparable to Back4blood, but still it’s own thing.
As a long time Rainbow six fan, as you might notice (as I have played the first game back on Playstation one, as a 12 year old yes, thank you. I am that old), I have seen this before. It’s rainbow six, but with a twist. It’s not the tactical realistic shooter we are used too. To me it mixes brands with the division, as it uses a virus outbreak (sort off) as it’s premise, but with a Rainbow six flair to it, not just cover shooter.
You go into an infected site, like you would in Siege. You pick an operator (and you will be familiar with all of them if you have played siege, as they are direct transfers from that game), and you have certain tasks to complete. You can extract after any task is completed, which go from easy to very hard, and are limited to 3 per site.
What I like, is that you can play at it alone, and it doesn’t penalize you for doing so. Yes, it will be challenging, but it the game adapts itself if you are playing alone or with multiple people. I am a huge fan of rogue-likes, and this instalment has elements of exactly this, but at a cost. When your operator is MIA, you have to save them. You get an optional rescue mission, and that is what I think is sad. It’s optional. You can save them or you don’t, in either case they return, the only thing is, if you don’t or you fail, you get them back at the cost of losing the progression.
What I love about it though, is that it forces even a single player, to play with more than just their favourite operators, but the cost could have been bigger. Now you get them back after only 1 try. They should have made it harder. 3 operators could try and get them back, and if they don’t succeed, then you get them back at a cost, but in the meantime you can not play with them. That would make it more of a cost, than what it is now, a slight nuisance.
I love the premise of going in as a lonewolf and potentially losing my one operator, but it takes away from going in with a team, even if they were AI and given commands by me, with some kind of system. They could have broken new ground here.
What I also miss, is the realism. Now you play against mutants/aliens. No longer are you the anti-terrorist team you were before, but now you are going against an alien thing. Tom Clancy was known before as a “realistic” series (with some liberties), but now it’s just against a virus/mutants/aliens. At least in the division it was against a human created virus, released by terrorists.
What I also have to say is that as a European, or anyone outside of the US for that matter, I am sick of every threat being centered in and close to America. There are great environments outside of America. You created a team of international operators in Siege, which you copied over into extraction, why not have more international locals? I would love to see an operation take place in Antwerp, Belgium for example. You have a shopping lane there, and small back streets if you need more close quarters combat. And why the diversion from terrorists towards mutants (easier to say than aliens/virus, as they even feature mutated copies of operators).
Don’t get me wrong, I love the challenge of the game, I love the premise. I love how they took things from Siege and put them in this game, but why change the human evil into something foreign, something alien? Humans are capable of any evil imaginable themselves, we don’t need to create aliens/mutants. The two bulbs, the green one and the red one, could be a suicide bomber and a suicide bomber with a gas-belt. Same thing, but in line with the series and you didn’t even need to invent the wacky scenario.
The MIA mechanic? when your operator dies, you have them held hostage, you could even create a small cutscene where the terrorists ask for money or whatever, and you go in and rescue them. Nothing fundamental changes to the gameplay loop, but it’s back in line with the series.
I love that they tried something different, for which the series is known, but different enemies wasn’t it. The MIA mechanic and going in siege style, lone wolf is a very nice thing, which I appreciate as a person that primarily plays games alone. The progression is also nice, as each operator gets to unlock several things, and not only cosmetics like in Siege, or operators that were a tad to expensive if you wanted to unlock them with just renown (100 matches per operator).
I must say that I have mixed feelings about this one. I love that they brought it back to a singleplayer/multiplayer that is co-operative, but the aliens/mutants were a missed step in my opinion.