Rainbow Six Extraction, the latest game from Ubisoft, has managed to do something that I did not expect. It has disappointed me. I say this as someone who consistently defends Ubisoft against those who say that they “don’t care about blind accessibility,” or any of the other things they throw out. I defend them because I have seen their consistent progress over the last couple years. I’ve seen the way each game has done something to further them on their path toward total blind accessibility. Valhalla with its audio cues for enemies and items, Far Cry 6 with its reading of objectives and tutorial messages, and so on. Just consistent improvement. And then, Rainbow Six Extraction came out Here’s my review. Code for the game was, of course, provided by Ubisoft..
There honestly isn’t much to say, because there wasn’t much I could do, but here is the truth. Rainbow Six extraction doesn’t just add nothing new, it is a step backwards. Narration is woefully incomplete. It’s there, but it’s missing in key game screens, such as the screen where you choose your operators and loadout. It also does not read objectives and tutorial messages as Far Cry 6 does, making it necessary to use OCR to even figure out what we’re supposed to be doing. And then, when we do figure it out, we still can’t do it, for even more reasons.
First, there is no navigational assistance of any kind. I didn’t necessarily expect this yet, but it’s coupled with the fact that aim assistance is pretty awful for a blind person. I was informed, when an enemy was close enough to physically attack me, and I attempted to aim and shoot it, I still shot a wall. This one surprised me, as plenty of Ubisoft games lately have had great aim assistance. Watchdog’s Legion’s aim assist worked well enough, and Ghost Recon: Breakpoint’s aim assistance was actually not just good, but great! This, by comparison, was purely awful.
Here’s the thing though. I also feel I must discuss the circumstances in which I ended up in combat. I think this is important because it represents a failure of accessibility in general. I specifically played the tutorial mission. You know, the mission that is intended to teach you how to play the game. In the story, this is done in VR, so I understand the desire to, in some ways, emulate what can be experienced in a real mission. Nevertheless, what happens is still utterly ridiculous. Get this. If you take too long, in the TUTORIAL mission, you are absolutely swarmed, and in my case, killed almost immediately. In the tutorial mission. Forgetting blind accessibility for a moment, how in the world is that acceptable? How does that encourage players to maybe keep trying your game? What if you can physically play the game, but you’re just struggling for whatever reason? That means you just die? It’s nonsense honestly, and in spite of the fact that it did enable us to at least try the aim assist, I found it ultimately pretty terrible that a game would do that to its players.
Now to be clear, I’m not saying Rainbow Six Extraction has nothing. The features Ubisoft already does well, those for low-vision and motor impairment and such, are all here. Button remapping, holds Vs. toggles, and tons of visual configuration options are all present. Those things are definitely good, and I’m glad they’re present, but from my perspective, Rainbow Six extraction is a monumental disappointment. It is already sparking discussion amongst the blind community about Ubisoft only doing the bear minimum, which again I defend as untrue, but it sure doesn’t look good to see such a step back. I only hope more thought is put into blind accessibility in the future, and we don’t see another game like this. Just imagining how fun this game would have been to play with my friends makes me sad. At any rate, that’s it for this one. Sorry for the bad news, folks, but thank you for reading.