Updated: Jan 23
Rainbow Six Extraction is if nothing else a step in the right direction, it's a game that feels like it was made with the new console generation in mind.
The first thing I noted (after writing venom several times but we'll get to that later) was the graphics. So often we have been tricked by Ubisoft trailers and cutscenes into thinking that their games will look stunning but the games themselves never seem to deliver (far cry 6 being the worst offender recently). This time round though they seem to have nailed it. It's not mind blowing, there are definitely better looking games on the market, but it's a massive step up for Ubisoft. Cutscenes look almost photorealistic at times, even if uncanny valley video game character movement lets them down a tiny bit (but that's just being picky). But more importantly the game itself is gorgeous too, textures are crisp and the lighting is perfect giving this game a true next gen look.
The gameplay feels great too. It's nothing too different to Rainbow Six Siege but that's no bad thing. Every weapon is unique (and all are great), the maps are all perfectly crafted, and environment destruction is so well executed. It's very easy to just jump in to a quick match with random players but the game is at its best when played with a squad of friends to actually plan a mission with. I can see the gameplay loop being slightly repetitive for those without friends to play with which is a shame but to be expected from a game of this genre and with this game being on the cheaper end of the scale at £44 you can't have too many complaints about that.
Granted, the Rainbow Six games aren't ever going to win awards for storytelling but even so, Extractions story just feels derivative at best. The thing I actually noted first was: Venom. The whole black goopy parasite thing is starting to feel a little played out now. I know games like prey and prototype have done it before but I can't help but feel like this is reactionary to the sudden rise in popularity for the Marvel Symbiote. Maybe this is just me, maybe Ubisoft and Tom Clancy think that they're the first to do it. It just feels a little overdone by this point. Like I said though nobody is expecting award winning story and gooey parasite aliens will always be a bit cool so who am I to judge?
The "Operators" are all great fun with their own unique abilities and loadouts (normally I'm not a fan of the whole fixed loadout operator thing but I like it here). I'm a big fan of Sledge's tactical hammer (likely to the annoyance of my teammates as I break down every wall in the game). There's incentive to try them all out with the M.I.A (the military term not the British - Sri Lankan musician) and injury system forcing you to try new operators, which is good because normally I just pick one and stick with them forever (I'm a creature of habit clearly).
I think the main issue for me is that it can only be played with an online connection. I get that this is an online game but you would hope that there might be something for those with dodgy internet. This may be Extraction's only major flaw though.
The buddy pass is genius, you get the option to invite two friends who don't own the game to play with you. It isn't the first time it's been done with games like A Way Out and Ghost Recon Breakpoint doing it. It's definitely a nice touch in a game that's so co-op focused even if picking two friends to invite feels a bit like a modern day retelling of Sophie's Choice.
With about two of playtime at time of writing I'd find it very difficult to pick faults for Rainbow Six Extraction aside from the lack of single player story and X-Com meets Venom alien henchmen (although again they are cool). Extraction being this good is relieving after watching the Battlefield and Call of Duty franchises struggle to make the leap to next gen with 2042 and Vanguard being in the news lately for being inherently broken and largely disappointing.
It is worth noting that I played this on the PS5 and can't comment on its performance on any other platforms but for me it ran completely smoothly and throughout my playtime the only issue I encountered was Wi-Fi connection issues (a symptom of having crappy Wi-Fi not a fault with the game)
Overall it's a great showing for the Rainbow Six Franchise with polished gameplay, next-gen graphics, and interesting operators. For the first ever proper review on Cloven Hoof (the Red Dead Redemption saloons don't count) I'm going to give Rainbow Six Extraction a very solid 8/10. It loses a couple marks purely for its insistence on being connected to the internet and extreme lack of campaign mode, other than this it's a perfect showing from the Tom Clancy and Ubisoft franchise.