Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction Review – Threes a Charm

The next edition of developer Ubisoft Montreal’s title in the Rainbow Six franchise is ready for launch and we have spent the last week in and out of the quarantine zones of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction. Should you prepare to move out, or just prepare to move on to another title?

Read on to find out.


The Rainbow Six franchise started out way back in 1998 with its first PC release. Later on that game was ported to and released on the PS1, Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast, and even the Gameboy Color, introducing the series to a wide audience of global gamers. For us, it was Rainbow Six Rogue Spear for the PC, released in 2000, that really got us into the franchise, and we spent countless hours running terrorist hunts with friends from all over the world, planning our hunts and executing them with military precision. Much like the special forces based group it represents, the Rainbow Six series has visited places all over the globe in the past, from Kosovo to Vegas, and with Rainbow Six Extraction, be prepared to think before you leap, and remember that those who fail to plan, plan to fail.

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction Review – The Story

The story opens as an alien invasion has begun, with the invasion’s origin coming from an unidentified Russian Soyuz space capsule crashing in the city of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. An epidemic is started there and has since infected other sites around the US. It will be up to you, controlling one of eighteen operators, to go into quarantine zones in order to investigate what is going on. The story is slowly revealed as you gather more and more intelligence throughout the thirty six different sub zones, starting out in New York City, and slowly unlocking the other places: San Francisco, Alaska, and New Mexico.

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction Review – The Gameplay

Rainbow Six Extraction is a tactical based, first person shooter, with an emphasis on stealth. Each of your operators have a varying set of skills that can complement each other, and also have tools and weapons that might be unique to that person. You’ll be taking on what is referred to as incursions into each zone, with three procedure generated objectives spread out across three sub zones. The objectives vary between twelve different things like capturing an elite alien (known as Archaeans), placing explosives on targets, or maybe placing markers on alien nests, but you will only have 15 minutes per sub zone to complete your objective. You never know what your objectives will be until you load into an incursion, but if you have previously failed a mission and lost an operator inside that specific zone, you will have a MIA rescue mission and a chance to save that operator as one of the three objectives. All downed operators will be encased in some sort of hardened goo and placed in a coma, waiting patiently for you to return with a different operator to try to save them for extraction.

Rainbow Six Extraction is first and foremost a first person co-op shooter. It is meant to be played with two other players to fill out your 3 player squad, but you can opt to go it alone. We were sent three review codes and played the game solo, in a two player squad, and then in a three player squad. The game alters the number of enemies based on the number of players in your squad, so going solo isn’t as difficult as going with a full team, but if you decide to go on the harder difficulties, you will probably end up with some MIA operators. Whether you play solo or not, the key to survival is stealth. The game rewards you for sneaky take downs, while using loud weapons like shotguns or grenades will make you a target for a large number of enemies. Silencers are a must, but your knife can be just as effective if used properly.

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction Review – The Operators

There are eighteen operators in total in Rainbow Six Extraction, each with their own role to play. Rainbow Six Siege players will recognize their names as they carried them over to Rainbow Six Extraction (minus their progression of course). Each operator also its own upgrade tier set from 1-10, and each level will unlock or improve gear that is specific to that operator. You’ll have nine operators available to begin with, and as you progress up your overall ranking tier, more will become available, with eighteen in total that will be playable. Operators are designed to help each other, so it’s no surprise that each player has to use a different operator during each incursion. That makes sense since you are better off with one Doc, one sneaky Vigil, and maybe one operator who is better at brute force. Pro tip: Having one operator with a stealth drone can go a long ways to finding your target, health packs, ammo, or MIA operators.

Communication is key, so all players should have a headset and you should discuss who will be who, and who will be carrying what, before launching the incursion. Operator selection comes after the objective reveal, so it gives your group a better idea of which operators and equipment you should choose. This really takes the game back to its Rogue Spear roots, as you can better plan your load outs before jumping into the quarantine zone. As you progress through the zones, you can extract without completing all three sub zones, and since the zones do get harder the farther inside the zone you get, sometimes retreating is the best option if you find yourself outnumbered and all alone. If one of your buddies does go down, there is an option to safely extract them, as well, and this will prevent them from going MIA. Health does NOT regenerate so if you extract at 40% health, that’s where your health will be and that operator will be come injured and unable to deploy. Each successful extraction will grant you some health, so the injured will get a boost with each success.


Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction Review – The Zones

Each location in Rainbow Six Extraction has its own map and layout, in somewhat of an open world type of map. There is no linear course of action, and once you’ve completed an area, you can either advance to the next air lock, which leads to the next sub zone, or just hit the extraction pad for a quick exfil. You can, technically, clear out all of the aliens in the first two sub zones of an area, but you’ll also need to take out nests as they will continuously spawn more aliens. There are operators that have ping technology which can assist you in finding all available targets in an area, so keep that in mind. The areas get harder and harder the deeper you go, and generally speaking the third, and last sub zone, won’t allow you to completely destroy nests so there will be an endless supply of aliens for you to fend off.

You can always play alone, or you can jump into the quickplay menu and get teamed up with some random online players. The game does give you the ability with buddy pass to invite two other players to play for free for 2 weeks if you know someone that may want to try the game out. The game does have a slight learning curve, so don’t feel bad if you end up with several MIA operators as you learn the ins and outs of incursions. Each operator starts out at level 1 so that means they are in dire need of trigger time in order to become better and to move up their tiers. You must learn to work smarter, and not harder. Learning effective strategies like tossing a grenade one way, and running like hell the other, can go a long ways to surviving an onslaught of never ending aliens. Knowing your enemy is also a plus, so learn their strengths and weaknesses, as well as your own.

Ubisoft Montreal’s Rainbow Six Extraction is a very fun co-op shooter, but occasionally the objectives repeat too often and can feel a little repetitive. There is no PVP, and that will turn some folks off immediately, but that definitely isn’t a deal breaker for us. The game feels a lot like the original in its ability to make you think and plan in advance, and making you work as a team in order to finish incursions on the harder difficulties.

Aliens are the new terrorists and threes a charm when hunting them down, so find some buddies and get to work


Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction review codes provided by publisher and reviewed on a PS5. For more information on scoring, please read What our review scores really mean.