I've said before that I reckon Rainbow Six Extraction is far more than a Rainbow Six Siege spin-off. That's thanks to its emphasis on teamwork and co-ordination. Stealth and patience are crucial to victory in a world where aliens aren't just shambling meat sacks, but a horrifying hivemind that's best tackled quietly.
But after spending a little hands-on time with Extraction's new game mode Spillover, it seems it does away with what makes the base game tick. You plant bombs, then fend off hordes of aliens. There's something missing here.
Spillover is a free, limited time game mode arriving as part of Rainbow Six Extraction's post-launch Crisis Events. Each one will introduce a new operator, some new REACT tech, and cosmetics too. In this case there's Zofia, an agent who can fire stun and impact grenades, is impervious to blinding effects, and can revive herself - blimey. Not to mention an auto-turret that'll target nasties automatically. Truthfully, I didn't get much time with Zofia, nor did I even try out the turret. That's because Spillover is hard. Too hard, I think.
In Spillover, you and up to two other co-op buddies choose your operators and spawn in a map covered in glowy gunk. Highlighted around the map are zones pulsing with alien nastiness. Your job is to pick up a canister, slot it into these zones and defend it from aliens for a set time limit. Keep it, and yourselves, in one piece, and it'll blast the gunk away. The aim of this game mode is to clear as many of these zones as possible while keeping an eye on your resources. Much like Extraction's main mode, you must choose whether to carry on and risk death or extract early. Successfully make it through a total of eight increasingly difficult waves and you'll earn a bucketload of EXP, as well as go a long way towards unlocking those new goodies.
Reader, I and two other players in the preview barely made it through two waves. We selected our operators carefully, opting for classics like Tachanka and his mounted turret, as well as Ela with her sticky stun grenades. And we tried our darndest to reinforce as many walls as possible or set claymores down or co-ordinate our general strategies just like we would in Siege or Extraction. "I'll watch this door, you watch the stairs", that sort of thing. But in the end, it was futile. No matter what we tried, we'd be flattened in a matter of minutes.
At first the hordes were manageable. There's that Siege-esque rush you get when you know the enemy approaches by the sounds of snuffling and breaking. Then they pour through the doors. Initially, great! We all shot and they went down. But then there's no chill. No let-up. They continuously poured through. One particularly beefy lad strutted into our chamber and batted one of us to the ground. Just like a landslide, our defenses would collapse and we'd either all perish, or extract super early.
Extraction's difficulty curve feels manageable, because you've got time to think things through and get accustomed to the rhythm of the base mode. Spillover? Not so much. Things escalate so fast it's very difficult to give it another whirl without feeling a bit miffed, like you stood no real chance. Perhaps Ubisoft will fine-tune the difficulty a touch before full release, I mean, I certainly hope they do.
Above all, though, Spillover seems at odds with Extraction. I get that it's a limited time mode that wants to provide a different sort of experience to the patient, methodical thing it's already got going on, but Spillover feels too different, too generic, even. The strengths of Extraction are sidelined here, in favour of a middling horde mode.
By no means is Spillover awful or terrible, it's just okay. If you've rinsed Extraction or enjoy blasting hordes of enemies, you'll probably get a fair amount of enjoyment from it. And for a limited-time mode, that's not too shabby at all. I just expected a bit more, you know?