The tactical Rainbow Six series makes a sci-fi swerve this time out with Extraction, a co-op game that has you tangling with a menace from outer space.
Extraction is inspired by Outbreak, the PvE event from 2018's Rainbox Six: Siege that had players fighting off enemies infected by an alien plague. This time out, aliens called archaeans are on the loose and your job is to team up with two other players to take part in a variety of missions (called 'incursions') that have you gathering the intelligence needed to end the invasion. The elevator pitch would be Left4Dead-style co-op shooting, with a strong flavour of the Rainbow Six gameplay that fans are into.
That R6 element means that before each mission you'll pick the specialised operator you want, so that between you and your teammates you can build a squad that will work for the mission ahead. 18 of them carry over from Siege, boasting skills such as drone operation, stealth tech and tools that will disorient your enemies. Completing missions will grow your loadout options and unlock new operators, as well as boosting your stats so that you can continually up your game.
The containment zones that you'll be entering are spread across four different regions (including a spooky Alaskan research centre and a wrecked Liberty Island) and they're positively riddled with the alien infection. There are a lot of different enemy types, with ecosystems that are constantly evolving. It helps, of course, that the environments and missions are procedurally-generated, so you'll never encounter the same incursion twice.
Mission structure offers an interesting progression of risk and reward - each area is split into three zones, separated by enemy-free airlocks. The further in you progress, the greater the challenge but the bigger the rewards, and while you can temporarily boost your health the boost won't last for long. The twist is that you can choose to be extracted if things are looking dicey, but it means leaving the greater rewards buried deeper in the level behind. If a player goes down before an extraction point, their teammates must make a decision about whether to press on or go back for them. Pressing on leaves you lacking manpower, but going back and failing to extract your teammate will result in complete mission failure. These kinds of decisions are at the heart of Extraction, and really set the game apart from its peers.Classic R6 REACT tech such as barricades are present and accounted for, but Extraction also gives you a range of new goodies such as a specialised light for spotting archaeans and a temporary 'barrier' (or force field) that will stop enemy projectiles.