Rainbow Six Extraction is a Game Pass staple

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Three Rainbow Six members in hazmat suits stand together while holding assault rifles.

Picture: Ubisoft

Before covid-19 spread around the world and killed millions of people, Rainbow Six Mining was first known in 2019 as Rainbow Six Quarantine. As the pandemic grew, the game went silent for a while before being renamed as Extraction. Now, after all that, Ubisoft’s newest and weirdest entry into the rainbow six the franchise is finally out and I don’t know what shocked me more: is it how much I like killing aliens or that Extraction manages to be fun in an already crowded genre?

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction is a (presumably) non-canon entry in the long-running tactical shooter franchise that features characters and weapons from Seat. Extraction is directly based on a limited time mode first seen in Rainbow Six Siegeand, and the original level in this mode is present in Extraction. This time around, the eclectic cast of operators from Seat aren’t fighting terrorists or other human soldiers, but rather alien parasites called… *searches around the keyboard,* the Archaeans. The game often refers to them as aliens or arkies, so I’ll do the same. These nasty creatures infect humans and turn them into dangerous alien monsters. It’s up to Team Rainbow and REACT to unite and stop the alien invasion one infected room at a time.

To defeat the aliens, teams of three Rainbow operators are sent to various locations in the United States, such as New York or Alaska. Each slot contains three maps, and each map is divided into three small areas. Although each area is handcrafted and remains the same, it contains randomly selected objectives that change each time you play. You may need to kill a specific target, save someone, or activate bombs.

All the evil aliens you will fight in the game.

Picture: Ubisoft

contrary to Left 4 Dead, Back 4 Blood, Where Anacrusis, in Extraction, you’re not shooting hundreds of enemies and battling large waves of endless baddies while rushing for an exit. Instead of, Extraction is slower and more tactical. You can be stealthy in Extraction, sneaking up behind enemies to quietly take them out, or you can choose to take advantage of the levels’ destructive malleability to carve your own paths through rooms full of infected baddies. Once you complete an objective, either using stealth and gadgets or brute force and strong explosions, you can move on to the next objective. Or you can leave. And you might want to, given the way the game handles injury and “death.”

In rainbow six Extraction, take damage issues. While you can temporarily heal during a mission, this health is removed once you leave and your Operator remains injured and unplayable until you gain XP using other Operators. Earning XP heals injured personnel, allowing you to bring them back into the fight. And once they reach a certain point, you can dispatch them earlier with less than 100 life. It’s risky, but sometimes necessary if you prefer a certain operator’s capabilities.

For example, I love the sensor held by a character named Pulse that allows him to track alien objectives and nests through walls, as well as the ability to ping them for his teammates. He is very useful, so I try to keep him healthy. This caused me to abandon a mission via an extraction point because I took damage and didn’t want to risk taking more. And if an Operator runs out of health and gets knocked out during a mission, you can’t use them until you rescue them in a later mission. If you don’t, you’ll eventually pick them up, but they’ll take an XP hit and be injured.

This whole system reminded me XCOMcharacter management. Although you cannot permanently lose an operator in Extraction, the added threat of getting hurt, losing XP, or not being able to play with them for a few missions is enough to make the missions more tense and exciting.

A first person screenshot of soldiers in hazmat suits fighting off attacking aliens.

Picture: Ubisoft

Of course, this is a Tom Clancy game developed by Ubisoft, so you’ll have to deal with some of the usual propaganda. There’s a lot of overturned American flags or destroyed, symbolizing the fall of the country and its values, blah blah blah. In this world, the police and SWAT are gods, or at least superheroes who will save us all from the evil threat of inhuman parasites and not the quick to kill and impossible to trust assholes we actually see. So much of the world is covered in this veneer of patriotism and propaganda that sometimes it can be hard not to laugh or roll your eyes every few minutes. As someone who has played and enjoyed many Tom Clancy games over the past 20 years, I’m used to it and laughing about it these days. But playing with someone who hasn’t touched many Clancy games reminded me that it’s all weird and feels very disconnected in 2022.

If you can put up with weird copaganda and don’t mind gross alien stuff, like gooey, throbbing pods of flesh, then I think there’s a lot to like Extraction. If cooperative shooters are starting to mix these days, all relying on hordes of enemies and fast-paced action, Extraction seems like the perfect alternative, offering a more tense, tactical and unique “zombie shooter” that ditches crowds of infected for self-contained levels and neat team management systems. Add to that a solid and satisfying progression system that hands out significant upgrades frequently and you have something I can easily see hooking a lot of people.

It also helps that the game is launching on Game Pass, so many of you can download and try it for free. Don’t forget to laugh at some of Clancy’s most absurd tunes.

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