Review by Sombrero_Shadow
"One of the best games this year which though great as it is, could of used more"
Dead Space Extraction is a fantastic game. It has some of the best graphics for the console looking beautiful in motion, it has great atmosphere, an amazing soundtrack (though a lot of it is recycled from the first game), amazing gameplay (quite frankly one of the best on-rail shooters created), and one of the most well-crafted surprising stories in recent memory. The game fails in no aspects but one: It feels like there could of been more.
Screens will not do this game justice, It look gorgeous in motion. Though if you compare side to side with the original Dead Space you will notice the graphical difference, when your playing, you know this is Dead Space. The style is there and the graphics still very appealing, you can loose yourself in this world. Immersion is there at all times. What also helps push interest is this games amazing story.
Throughout the game you will feel like you're playing a movie. The games story is a prequel to the first Dead Space. If you've played that, you may think that limits the story telling since you know what ultimately is going to happen. The developers though went above and beyond. The developers seem to acknowledge the fact fans of the first game, comics, and movie know what is going to happen, and instead of this working against them, they use it to their advantage to keep us on our toes, knowing ANYTHING can happen, ANYONE can die. From the minute you begin to the end of the game, the story alone will have you hooked. A lot deeper story than the original, we follow the tale of several characters as a stone named a "Marker" is excavated (aha, get it? Extraction?) in a mining colony. However, when they try to transport the stone in for studying, something strange happens a madness breaks out through the whole colony. People all around you begin to go mad, killing others and committing suicide. Be prepared though, this game is going to delve deeper than you might imagine. The twist will get you, the characters in all their flaws will connect to you. The voice acting is great also.
Music though mostly recycled from the first game still works very well here. A few original compositions are sprinkled in as well, and fit the style perfectly almost to a fault. The new music while playing is hardly distinguishable from the old music, but that's not a bad thing since the soundtrack was already amazing for mood-setting tension.
The gameplay of Dead Space works very well as a On-Rail shooter. Dismembering limbs works very well for the genre, and the array of weapons they give you (lots carried over from the last game and some new ones too) make killing enemies very satisfying. Speaking of enemies, the switch-up is decent... But you feel they could of varied it up a little bit more. You got your crazed humans, necomorphs, bats, and tentacles, but the abundance of the average Necromorph really stands out. This is not a bad thing, killing them never gets boring, but some more variation would be nicely appreciated. And bosses are few and closed together. You won't even encounter a boss until the 2nd half of the game, and in reality there's only really 2 bosses, technically 3 but one doesn't even feel like a boss but just an encounter with tentacles. However, the level design in this game is fantastic. They do have split paths, and the paths have completely different areas that will affect your playthrough for the rest of the stage, which is appreciated. But here comes a tricky area, replay value. This game strength is also it's flaw.
The cutscenes run seamlessly with gameplay, everything happens in the now, no cutscenes are recorded, and are in real-time (with impressive facial movements, I might add) but you can still fire, pick up items, fight enemies... and you'll have too. Enemies can come anytime in cutscenes. But here comes the problem. If you're replaying the game, you might wish these cutscene sections would be somehow skipable. You can go long whiles sometime listening to them all talk, and though well written, if you already know what's going to happen on your 2nd or 3rd or more playthrough and you just want to get back to the game, there's no way to skip through these sections, you may have to wait minutes on end to actually get back into the action. The game also lacks any form of mid-level saving, so if you die, you have to start back from the very beginning. Which is problematic, since the games 10 chapters are each around 25-40 minutes long. Made even worse is the fact the game can sometimes make itself impossible for you. One boss in particular happens after a long stage with tougher enemies, and it's very likely you'll come to him with little to no ammo. And though your most basic gun has infinite ammo, it is impossible to kill him without a distance weapon, and your basic gun isn't enough to cut it, so unless you have enough ammo on your other weapons to kill this guy and at that even brought the right type of weapons to the battle, you're basically screwed.
This game's co-op feature and depth past shooting is also amazing though. A second player can come into the game and drop anytime they want. But instead of playing as another person, you're basically playing your character but duel wielding. You do share a health bar and ammo. However, this actually works very well for the mechanics of the game. With that, the developers acknowledged the co-op aspects of the game, and instead of just adding more enemies they went above and beyond and situations and strategies for two players you never thought of when playing alone become evident. Besides shooting, you'll need to do some construction work through the game to put in screws, take out screws, barricade areas, and more. You'll also need to hack security systems in mini-game styled scenarios where you must carefully dra your Wii Remote across circuits while avoiding obstacles on the trail and getting your marker to stay on trail from point to point. These require precision but often while doing these sections you are being ambushed by an endless stream of enemies. These sections and many more work great in co-op, and the whole experience is greatly expanded and fun to play in co-op. Though strong while playing alone, the game gains in entertainment when playing with another.
The thing is though, this whole game feels like it could of used more. More stages, more bosses, more enemies, more unlockables. Don't read into this wrong, all they have down is amazing. It just feels like if they had added more the game would of cut-back on one of the only flaws it has, the feeling it could of been longer. However, with a game packing amazing gameplay, graphics, story, and truly being an entertaining package, any Wii owner should check this out. Though short, it is worth the price tag at full and is one of the best games on any console to come out this year. Though this game feels like it could of been more, it never feel incomplete. The entertainment you will get out of this package is near a 10/10 score, just a few things holding it back from near-perfection.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/01/09, Updated 10/02/09
Game Release: Dead Space: Extraction (US, 09/29/09)
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