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Rainbow Six Extraction gameplay preview: “It feels a little too familiar"

Ubisoft's latest shooter takes everything you know and love about Rainbow Six Siege and smushes it into a sci-fi alien survival setting... but does it work?

A little while ago I got to go hands-on with the Rainbow Six Siege spin off, Rainbow Six Extraction, in a remote preview build and in the video above you'll get to see brand new gameplay and hear my first impressions.

First up, I can hear you asking, what is Rainbow Six Extraction?

It’s a new co-op shooter from Ubisoft set in the current Rainbow Six Siege universe, putting 18 of the 60 operators you know and love from siege in a new PVE setting. As a team of 3, you take those operators on incursions into contaminated zones to complete objectives and fight against violent aliens known as Archaeans.

It’s basically your traditional co-op zombie experience but with a tactical edge; you need to complete levels and missions (similar to dungeons from MMORPGs) in order to progress and dig deeper into the game.

It's out on the January 20, 2022 on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X|S, Amazon Luna and Google Stadia. Perhaps most importantly, though, it will be available on Day One on Xbox Game Pass.

I'm not the biggest fan of the co-op zombie shooter genre to begin with: games like this are not usually my cup of tea, and often my enjoyment is solely based on who I'm playing with and the dynamics of the team involved (like all the best co-op games, really). That said, I did have fun in my time with the game despite some interesting design choices from Ubisoft – most notably the Operators management system you’ll have to use as you jump in and out of missions.

The whole game is built around this system and I don't think it’ll be universally loved. If you didn't watch the preview video it works like this: you select an Operator, and if that Operator dies on a mission, they'll now be ‘missing in action’ and will be unavailable to select in following missions. You'll need to select another Operator in the next mission in order to rescue the first Operator that died. If you're successful, the first Operator will rejoin your roster, but with low health. Complete other missions with other Operators to recover more health. Just don’t die in the process.

If that sounds long, it's because it absolutely is.

I foresee a lot of players losing half their team before they understand the intricacies of this peculiar system, because they'll be trying to run-and-gun for the first few missions – not knowing how challenging and powerful the enemies actually are, even on the lower difficulty levels. Those difficulty curves might need some adjusting, Ubisoft. Just saying.

The gunplay feels tight and precise, but that's because it's all coming from Rainbow Six Siege; a game they've been tweaking and adjusting for years now. It’s moved to a different setting, but I think it just feels a little bit too familiar to anyone that’s spent any time in those uber-competitive lobbies.

I said at the start of the video that the Operator gadgets in Extraction have no differences from Siege, which kind of sucks. Given this amped-up sci-fi setting, I'd like to have seen Ubisoft take a more experimental route and try some new variations of Operator gadgets. We’re fighting aliens! There’s so much potential here for cool, weird tech!

Ultimately, I worry about the shelf life of Rainbow Six Extraction. In recent years, co-op zombie games don't last that long after release (is there still any hype for Back4Blood, for example?) I'm not sure what the post release roadmap looks like, but I'm not sure if there's enough content in the game to keep players playing for a significant amount of time.

All that said, though, I had fun in my preview and want to see if it's enjoyable with my core friend group (who I will force to play with me since we all have Xbox Game Pass and have no reason not to try it out).

What did you think from the gameplay you've seen in the video? Does this look like a game you’ll try out – even if it’s just a quick Game Pass curio? Let me know down in the comments below.

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