Review by Archmonk Iga
"An insane sci-fi/horror experience, Dead Space: Extraction is a true on-rails tour de force."
Having never played Dead Space on the 360 or PS3, I didn't know what to expect when I first started up its prequel, Dead Space: Extraction. And I think I wouldn't have had it any other way, as Extraction is a shocking and exciting thrill ride.
From what I gather, Dead Space takes place on the Ishimura, a giant ship that sent out a distress signal that was retrieved by the Kellion. Extraction tells players what happened before those events, and it certainly isn't pretty. It begins when a crew of miners attempt to extract a Marker from the planet Aegis VII. Strange things start to happen to the crew, who begin acting violently, talking nonsense and hallucinating. Once that mess of a prologue (I mean that in a good way) is over, we get to the real gut of the story. Apparently this outbreak has taken over the entire space colony, and the few survivors must attempt to get outta dodge before they succumb to it as well. It won't be easy though, since the machinery has been destroyed and those crazy creatures are running around all over the place.
It's great how we can be playing as someone at one point in time, only to have him/her killed in a snap before we even realize what's going on. The characters are certainly believable despite few of them actually being likable. Lexine may just be in the running for the unluckiest videogame character ever award, Dr. Eckhardt is a giant tool, and Weller is pretty hard to sympathize with after some of the things he says and does. The best character is thankfully the one we play as the most, Nate McNeill. The other three main characters tend to get on our nerves more often than not, but McNeill's cool head and overall responsible attitude make having him around a great relief.
The story is presented brilliantly in relation to the genre of game that Extraction is. The player will always be looking forward to what will happen next, and there is a shock or scare around every corner. It may not be so great for the characters in the game, but for us, it's pretty damn exciting.
The graphics in Extraction are dark and hideous, which is exactly what we would want from this game. The necromorphs are disgusting and their animations are appropriately bizarre. Unfortunately, it is often hard to appreciate the details of the enemies because the game is so dark and the aiming reticules are so big. Character models are well done and nicely animated, and even though their facial expressions are believable, the people are all kind of funny looking. I love the environments the most, because they are a perfect blend of outer space sci-fi and disgusting necromorph substances.
One of the reasons Extraction is so exciting is because of the amazing sounds. Deep, spatial hums and groans of the ships you're in really make you feel like there's nowhere to run, and the disgusting shrieks of the enemies only enhance that feeling. Voice acting is some of the best I've heard in quite some time, with every character fitting his or her personality, race and background perfectly.
As an on-rails shooter, Extraction is moved forward by its story rather than the players, so the only thing you really have to worry about is shooting the bad guys. You can play single-player, but I definitely recommend playing with a friend if you have that option. It's fun to play alone because of the actual atmosphere of the game, but there's nothing better than dismembering evil necromorphs with a loyal friend by your side. But if no one is around for you to play it with, do NOT let that turn you away.
You are able to use a nice variety of weaponry (you can only have up to four at a time, so choose wisely), each having two modes of fire. Headshots aren't going to get you very far, so instead you'll be aiming for the joints of your various enemies. Getting rid of two arms, for example, is usually enough to knock them down for good. Aiming can be pretty tough though, because of the constantly moving camerasome may be turned off by this, but you have to admit it brings you that much closer to the action. If things get too hectic, using Stasis can slow down a single enemy for easier decimation. Players can also use telekinesis to repel enemy projectiles, open lockers, grab items, and throw objects. Combat is extremely chaotic and will always keep you on the edge of your seat. Boss fights are a slight letdown, if only because it will take you awhile just to figure out what the hell you need to do to finally defeat them. There are also some welcome lulls in the action to advance the story and learn more about your characters and what's going on around them, making the pacing of the game very well done.
Aside from the insane on-rails gunplay, there's not a lot else that Extraction has you do. Occasionally you'll need to hack and deactivate stuff using a method similar to Metroid Prime 3, and now and then you'll gain camera control to look around and grab any useful pickups scattered around the area. You'll also be in some tense situations where you need to create barricades to block the necromorphs from getting to you. But really, this game is all about the unforgiving onslaughts of enemies coming at you from every cornerand it never really gets old.
When it comes to longevity, Extraction is a bit of a catch-22. There are multiple pathways to follow at many points in the game, and it's cool to see where they take you on different playthroughs. Unfortunately, they don't change anything in terms of story and there is only one ending. And getting to that ending only takes maybe eight or nine hours.
Extraction also gives you a Challenge Mode, where you simply need to defeat all the enemies in various locations from the story. There is also a cheaply-made comic storyline with voice acting, which would have been better as an actual comic book, not some lame slideshow with flashes and sound effects.
Still, the multiple pathways are great in number, and playing with another person is a blast no matter how many times you've already beaten the game. It won't last you forever, but Extraction will definitely be seeing some good playtime now and then in your Wii.
REPLAY VALUE: 6.5/10
Dead Space: Extraction is a game I would recommend to any sci-fi/horror fan, whether or not they played the original. The story is intriguing and paced excellently, and the action is off the chain. This is both my first on-rails FPS I've played on the Wii and my first Dead Space experience, and I can safely say that Extraction has gotten me very interested in what else is out there in both of those respects. A hard-hitting, fun as hell survival-horror experience that really draws the player in, Dead Space: Extraction is one wild ride worthy of a purchase.
Thanks for reading =)
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/07/10
Game Release: Dead Space: Extraction (US, 09/29/09)
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