Hey all, I’m back with another game review, this time a new entry in a long running and highly respected franchise. It’s Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction.
Plot: This is one of the weaker points to the game, but the plot is that space zombies have invaded the earth and now the Rainbow teams, under the new heading REACT, are sent out to combat the threat. Though they aren’t called zombies, rather they’re called Archean’s, but it’s what they are when you boil down to the basics. So, with that rather bland conflict as our main background, and this is a reminder that this game is set in the Tom Clancy universe of all places, this game feels more than a bit contrived.
Granted that there is a plot, but it’s so full of “military lingo” talk that it’s a little much for newcomers to the setting. Not helping matters is how much of the story is just shown through text entries rather than in gameplay. It’s better than what the original Destiny did with the Grimoire, but it still lacks the impact of a good narrative told through the gameplay or even cutscenes. Looking at all the pre-game cinematics, a deeper plot was kind of expected, but I guess “space zombies” is enough of a motivation for the REACT teams.
Gameplay: This is where the game deviates from most typical zombie games where you just shoot everything that moves without much thought. Like most of the games with the Tom Clancy name attached, you have to be careful and methodical as you play, just like you probably would in real life. Those of you who love playing the many Tom Clancy titles released over the years will surely get something new in Extraction.
With Extraction, careful gameplay is taken to the extreme because of the way the game is designed. See, instead of a game where you are limited by health kits or one where you regenerate health automatically, Extraction has a system where you are heavily penalized for messing up and getting hit. Every hit you take means that much more health that your current character, called an Operator in the universe, needs to recover between outings.
If you mess up too much and get severely injured, which will happen a bunch if you play with random players since you are going to be pulling in folks from all different skill levels, then your injuries will put your character on the backlist and you’re going to be forced to use other characters until they heal up sufficiently. Of course if you are smart, you will wait until they are completely healed, though that means even more waiting or playing around with your backups.
I have to give the developers credit for creating something very immersive and different that we have experienced before, even if this makes the game a lot less fun. It’s not fun to be penalized for other’s mistakes, nor is it fun to than be completely unable to play once your character is KO’d completely, or afterwards when your favorite character has to wait at least two to four missions to recover enough health to be used again. I can see it being more fun if you have a good group of committed friends to play with, but the penalties really stack up if you are joining random groups, unless you get really lucky.
This is most definitely a Rainbow Six game, but it’s hard to have fun when the penalties are so steep that you consistently lose progress gained in mission because your teammates decided to leave your body in the alley without putting you in the evacuation chamber, so you aren’t even counted as automatically failing the mission. So, if you have a couple friends that you can talk to via voice chat of some sort, then you can probably get the intended experience, but for those loners like myself I found myself frequently frustrated.
Not helping matters is the fact that the game is an offshoot of the PvP game Siege. It draws heavily from Siege in the fact that each character has a very limited loadout for arbitrary reasons despite the fact that you’re dealing with a zombie outbreak. For example you can’t carry both a drone to scout with and a revival tool that is about the size of an EpiPen. It’s not like my character isn’t riddled with various pouches to hold stuff. It’s just designed that way so that you have to rely on teammates to complete most missions.
Music: The music of the game is fairly bland, I wasn’t expecting something like On a Pale Horse from Halo to be playing constantly in the background, but some decent musical background wouldn’t have been a bad idea.
Art: Here Extraction really shines. The game looks amazing, especially on a next generation console or through a gaming PC. Of course, a lot of that “beauty” is lost because the world is drab and dreary, but that is the world we are defending, so what are you going to do? Everything looks real and is rendered well.
Overall: So, while Extraction is fun when you get to play it, that sadly isn’t all that often when you first start out. And all the rules make little sense. After all it’s not like the Archean are going to start screaming at the developers to nerf the shotgun because it hits too hard, this is purely a PvE game constrained by rules that make little sense, like not being allowed to carry an entire fanny-packs worth of revival tools along with a RC drone or wearing additional body armor all the time.
If you are a loner type player or don’t have many friends that can play with you, Rainbow Six: Extraction isn’t going to be a whole lot of fun. But that’s true of Siege as well and since it’s made by the exact same development team, that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. For those who do have friends who can play with you, Extraction can be a whole lot of fun. So, get your team together, come up with a good plan about who is going to play what role, and then jump into this different kind of squad-based gameplay experience.