Rainbow Six Extraction Review: Is It Worth It? The Art of Balancing Entertainment and Challenge

If you're thinking about purchasing Rainbow Six Extraction, this review should help you make your decision.


Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction – sequel to Rainbow Six Siege from 2015 – drops on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC January 20. Developed by Ubisoft Montréal, the game takes a marked shift from Siege.

The game has already made news as the initial price was dropped by $20 to $39.99 (£39.99) for the regular version of the game and $49.99 (£47.99) in anticipation of launch. Further, each purchase will come with two “Buddy Tokens” that friends can redeem to play the game free for two weeks, with any data transferring should they purchase the full game.


This review will aim to avoid direct spoilers, but some details will inevitably allude to some spoilers. Note that the PS5 version (Deluxe Edition) was played for this review.

  • Rainbow Six Extraction succeeds in balancing challenge with entertainment.
  • It is a PvE first-person shooter with cross-platform play.
  • The graphics on next-gen consoles are sublime.
  • There are microtransactions in Rainbow Six Extraction.

Our take on Rainbow Six Extraction

Unlike Siege, Rainbow Six Extraction is a cooperative Player versus Environment (PvE) shooter. You can go solo or in multiplayer squads of three to eliminate Parasite threat – in this case, the Archæans – while completing different mission and research Objectives to hinder their capabilities and gain more research on the threat (check out the Archæans guide).

For those who dislike Player versus Player (PvP) games, whether that be due to skill or interactions with other gamers or both, this should present a nice change of pace from the standard shooters that are geared toward PvP. The option to play solo or squad up with friends is a positive for Extraction.

The number and diverse skills of the 18 Operators is another positive (check out the Operators guide). Some are geared toward support, some are geared toward offense, and others are geared toward reconnaissance. Particularly when forming a squad or even playing solo, understanding which Operator does what and how to use them will be imperative to successful gameplay.


However, if you’re a PvP player, there currently isn’t a PvP setting for Extraction. The entire game is built to take out Archæans, even in modes unlocked later in the game like Maelstrom. A PvP mode could easily be implemented later thanks to the uniqueness of the Operators. Still, the lack of PvP will be a negative to some gamers.

While there is an overarching story with Objectives and Studies to fill in the Codex and game lore, what is lacking is a single player focused story that many shooters include. Part of this is due to the ability to enter any zone within a map from the start as well as the many Operators. Still, the lack of connectivity leaves the game a bit wanting as not all gamers want to read Codex entries to understand lore.

On a personal level, the game was enjoyable and the ability to play online in a PvE setting was refreshing. The game is challenging enough without having to then go in a PvP setting to level up and gain more items.


Fun Rating (6.5 out of 10)

As the title of the review suggests, Rainbow Six Extraction tries to balance challenge with entertainment. The game succeeds here for the most part (lacking PvP may sap the fun for some).

The enemy difficulty, any potential mutations to them, and the number of enemies are calibrated toward the conditions of an incursion: are you playing solo or in a squad, and what difficulty setting? However, even on the lowest difficulty while playing solo, you can easily find yourself overwhelmed by even the lowest-tiered Archæans.

There are three subzones per map, and the second and third subzones should you proceed to them will have a higher number of and stronger enemies. The first subzone is a great place to learn about the Operators and Archæans, plus what tactics work best, before delving further (remember you can extract at any time).

Also, the 13 different Objectives can range from simple to difficult, another way to challenge yourself. Taking out an elite target on solo mode, or being able to lure one for capture, feels rewarding considering most Objectives are made to be done in a squad of three. That sense of satisfaction helps reengage with the fun aspect of the game.

Still, the grind can get monotonous, especially if one of your Operators goes MIA and you’re unable to access them (and their accrued experience) unless you rescue them from the heart of the third subzone. Since there is no “Experience Share” for Operators, leveling up each for upgrades to their loadouts and unlocking their perks will take time.

It is rather satisfying when you come across an enemy that’s given you trouble and you’re easily able to handle them, learning from your mistakes. Nevertheless, don’t be surprised if, especially playing solo, you turn the game off in frustration.

Is Rainbow Six Extraction better than Rainbow Six Siege?

You do get to explore more areas than in Siege, the Operators are awesome, and the gameplay is smooth – those adaptive triggers are something else! The lack of a micro-story to hold everything together outside of the Codex and Studies in addition to the lack of PvP (for some) might tilt the favor the other way.

Looking at it from a macro perspective, the game’s lack of a multiplayer mode beyond PvE and the lack of a single player story makes the game seem lacking, thus a step down from Siege. Rather than feeling like a full-fledged sequel, it seems more like a spinoff. This could be rectified by adding some PvP modes like battle royale, team battle royale, and capture the flag.

Rainbow Six Extraction graphics compared (PS5 vs Xbox Series X)

Simply put, the graphics might be the most impressive aspect of the game. The detail on every Archæan you come across is astounding, from the wavy movement of the sacs on Bloaters and Breachers to the nervous system seen using the REACT UV Light; the gameplay graphics are fantastic. There is as much detail put into the environment and miscellaneous items littered throughout as there is to the more dynamic Archæans and Operators.

Extraction’s cutscenes stand out even more, straddling the Uncanny Valley a bit. The opening scene as you start the game, the details given to individual characters and the environment, might leave you a little shocked while also providing you a glimpse of the intensity of the game.

The next-gen consoles will really shine here. The increased power and capacity of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S provide for little to zero graphic lag. Rather, even when the screen becomes chaotic due to battle, everything runs as smooth as when exploring alone without any threats.

Rainbow Six Extraction graphics vs Rainbow Six Siege graphics

Siege, released in 2015, has worse graphics than Extraction, and that’s how it should be, actually. There should be improvement graphically in a series, particularly when it’s been seven years since Siege released and new systems were developed. Though Siege was released on next-gen consoles in 2020, it’s best to use the main version from 2015 for comaprison.

Siege also released just over two years after the PS4 was released. It’s one of the earlier games of that generation, so again, one should expect there to be improvements for the next game in the series, which Extraction passed with admirably.

Rainbow Six Extraction gameplay

Gameplay is what you’d expect from a first-person shooter (FPS). The added bits of tactical gameplay do present a unique aspect for Extraction, particularly as it relates to the Operators.

You begin with three Objectives, one for each subzone (check out the Objectives guide). You don’t have to complete Objectives, though they come with good experience boosts depending on the zone. Your goal is to proceed as far as you can and extract safely (alive). This could mean quickly racking up some kills and extracting to build experience or working your way through all three zones if you’re confident in your abilities.

There are also different types of Archæans you will come across. Like Operators, Archæans may favor melee, ranged, or support. They’re all deadly, but their methods of deadliness differ, so having a strategy for each type is recommended. Again, the game and Objectives were made with a full squad of three in mind, so whenever possible, squad up to maximize your chances of completing Objectives and extracting safely.

You will also be given a set of ten challenges per region, usually three tasks per set, known as Studies. These will provide great experience boosts as well as teaching you certain aspects of the game, such as taking down Bloaters or pinging enemies.

The adaptive triggers were mentioned earlier, so briefly, you may find that some weapons require you to put more force into the trigger to shoot enemies. The trigger might feel “sticky” and usually reacts this way with higher caliber weapons.

What game modes are available in Rainbow Six Extraction?

In Rainbow Six Extraction, you can play standard incurisions, Wall to Wall, and the PvE mode Malestrom Protocol.

Until you reach Level 13 (Milestone 13), the only available mode is your standard incursion into the maps to complete Objectives, progress Studies, and kill Archæans. Wall to Wall is unlocked at Level 13, but the mode that is sure to be popular is the Malestrom Protocol.

First, Wall to Wall is as it sounds. You make your way through airlocks while dealing with hordes of enemies in confined space, thus “wall to wall.” Think of it like you’re about to engage in the hallway fight scene from Oldboy, only with guns and against aliens.

Malestrom Protocol is about as close to a traditional PvP as you get with Extraction. It’s still PvE, but Objectives and enemies are tripled! This also ups the difficulty. Don’t be surprised if you’re fighting off an Apex and a Tormentor together in addition to the Grunts, Bloaters, and Breachers they’re sure to send your way. Maelstrom Protocol has its own ranking system and rewards.

How many levels and missions are there in Rainbow Six Extraction?

There are 13 total Objectives, three randomized per incursion. There are four regions with three playable zones for a total of 12 maps.

It’s important to note that just because you completed an Objective doesn’t mean that Objective is done or you won’t receive for another incursion. There is no set limit to how many Objectives you can complete; it’s just a matter of randomization per incursion. You can also play the maps and zones as many times as you’d like.

This doesn’t include playing Wall to Wall or Maelstrom Protocol, which have their own mechanics.

How long does it take to beat Rainbow Six Extraction?

About 15 to 20 hours. In this time, you could unlock all of the maps, Studies, and modes. However, if you’re a trophy or achievement hunter, or a completionist, a conservative estimate would be to add another five to ten hours.

Is Rainbow Six Extraction multiplayer?

Rainbow Six Extraction is multiplayer, but you can play solo. However, Extraction does not have a PvP mode.

You can squad up with your friends or random players on the server closest to your location by hitting Quick Play. Squads are up to three people.

Rainbow Six Extraction’s online features

Aside from the PvE multiplayer, there is the ability to both chat and speak online with your squad. A chat wheel is available with some standard messages to quickly inform your squad. You can also use your headset to relay communication directly.

There is also an online store in the game, accessible through the last tab on the main screen. You can purchase items with money or REACT Credits (RC), the in-game currency for Rainbow Six Extraction.

Does Rainbow Six Extraction have crossplay?

Rainbow Six Extraction does have crossplay. You can turn this on or off from the settings menu.

Rainbow Six Extraction will be available on PS4 and PS5, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One, and PC. You can squad up with your friends regardless of their console – unless they only have a Switch.

Are there microtransactions and loot boxes in Rainbow Six Extraction?

There are microtransactions in Rainbow Six Extraction. The microtransactions are for cosmetics like skins and headgear (thus far). You should also be able to purchase RC for use in-game on skins and more.

Loot boxes are a mystery. The game doesn’t seem to indicate that there will be purchaseable boxes, but the Shop had limited accessibility during the review period. In fact, items could only be purchased with RC, but RC was unable to be earned or purchased during the review period.

The good news is that, as it stands, this isn’t a “pay-to-win” system.

What special editions of Rainbow Six Extraction can you get?

There is one special edition for Extraction, the Deluxe Edition. This edition, in addition to the game, includes two sets of weapon skins (The Noxious Touch Pack and The Obscura Pack) plus The REACT Strike Pack. The latter includes another skin set, experience boosts to post-launch events, and ten percent off items in the store. It costs ten dollars more than the standard edition.

Further, if you purchase the game on a previous generation console and obtain a next-gen console, you will get a free upgrade to the next-gen console version of the game.

Rainbow Six Extraction game size

Rainbow Six Extraction has a 46.49GB file size on the PS5 in the game library for version 1.000.001. There will likely be a launch day or post-launch update file that will add to the file size. The save data is a mere 3.15MB.

For reference, God of War is 45.80GB and MLB The Show 21 is a whopping 61.75GB.

Rainbow Six Extraction: Is it worth it?

Prior to the price drop, the answer would have leaned more toward to the “not worth it” camp. However, with the price drop and the buddy tokens, Rainbow Six Extraction is fairly priced and worth the investment. Sure, the lack of PvP may irk many players, but there should be enough to make that $39.99 or $49.99 feel like you got your money’s worth.

The grind of leveling up Operators, particularly if you’re going for all of the trophies and achievements, should keep you playing far longer. Just figuring out each Operator and their loadouts could take up a lot of your time.

The gameplay is smooth and the enemies challenging enough to too difficult that you will need to rethink your strategies not just mission to mission, but almost room to room. This added depth of tactical gameplay should help keep you entertained and invested in Rainbow Six Extraction.

Is Rainbow Six Extraction challenging? Yes, in multiple ways. It is, however, still entertaining. Thanks to the price drop, Rainbow Six Extraction should feel more like a good investment of your money than a waste.


Bruce L

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