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WiiTalk at EA, Part 1 - Dead Space Extraction

Written by FooFan on Wednesday, 19 August 20093 Comments

Last week EA got in contact with us to ask if we’d attend their Nintendo media day and try out some unreleased games. Obviously I jumped at the chance and over the next few days I will be providing Hands-on Previews of the 3 games that we played - Dead Space Extraction, Spore Hero and Need for Speed: Nitro. All these games are due for release in the months leading up to Christmas and I hope you enjoy reading my views on them.

‘Hardcore’ games have been a thing of interest on the Wii lately. The demand for them seems to have become more vocal in recent times as some owners grow tired of the family-friendly releases that keep appearing. It seems like developers have been listening though, as throughout the year so far we’ve seen more mature titles released than any previous year. Games such as Madworld, House of The Dead and The Conduit have all attempted to tap into this market of users who want a solid title with a more hardcore theme. The success of these games has been mixed at best, with all 3 examples not selling as well as many expected. The Conduit especially has only sold a disappointing 150,000 Units out of the 300,000 shipped so far and received very lukewarm reviews. For a game which received so much attention and hype before release, this was a big letdown for the Wii owners who believed it would be the game which showed that the Wii could deliver a quality FPS experience and cater for the Hardcore gamers. So people are starting to question whether it is even possible for a mature title to be a success on the Wii when, despite the demands of some owners, the market still doesn’t seem to exist.

But it seems that devs still think that there is a lucrative market and it will just take the right game to show this. So that leads us onto the latest contender – Dead Space Extraction. Dead Space Extraction has been developed from the ground up exclusively for the Wii and is the prequel to the Dead Space game which appeared on the 360, PS3 and PC. For those that don’t know much about the game, it’s a typical Sci-Fi Horror game which takes place in space on various spaceships(There’s obviously a lot more to it than that, but without too much knowledge of the first game, I’ll keep it brief!). The enemies in the game have to be dismembered to be killed, so instead of going for headshots, you’re better off trying to shoot their limbs off to slow them down and eventually kill them. The credentials for a mature game have been well filled! As I mentioned before, Extraction is the prequel to Dead Space and aims to answer some of the questions that may have arisen from playing the original game, such as how it all happened in the first place. You don’t need to have played the first game or even know the story to get on with Extraction. The story stands on its own, but has elements in it that will allow fans of the first game to gain a little bit more knowledge about the overall story.

So let’s get down to how the game itself plays. Well the developer is calling it a ‘Guided FPS’, what most of us would call it is an ‘On the Rails’ shooter, but I can certainly see what he’s talking about. It’s not your typical on the rails shooter by any means, you really get the feeling that you are an actual character in the environment. The movement of the camera is ‘Shaky-Cam style’ and very human like, not smooth and steady like most on the rails shooters. Your character is constantly looking around, interacting with machines and other characters and just generally acting like they would if you were controlling them. There are moments where you can control the camera to pick up items that may be around you. These sections are timed, so you have to be as quick as possible to stock up on Ammo, Health and weapons. Apart from that, it acts like a typical rails shooter with a few extra features such as active reloading, Alternative fire(Achieved by holding the remote sideways), the ability to carry 4 weapons at a time and a few other Dead Space specialities such as the stasis gun which freezes your enemies movements for a time(Very important for the boss battles).

The demo we played was Chapter 7(out of 10) entitled “Life and Death”. The character we played was a female doctor and it was confirmed that there would be 4 playable characters in the full game. All the weapons from the original Dead Space will appear in the game along with some new ones created for Extraction, so favourites such as the line gun and the ripper(Controller by revving the saw and thrusting the Wii Remote forward) make an appearance. There will also be brand new bosses to face off against throughout the game and new enemies as well, along with some old favourites. It was certainly good to see that EA weren’t happy to just stick the Dead Space franchise name on a game and use all the previous content for this title, they really want to make this a separate game in its own right and that comes across well during the demo. The game features drop-in, drop-out co-op play which works really well and is as simple as pressing the ‘+’ button on the Wii remote. All shooting is done via the B button and to pick up ammo, health, weapons etc, you simply use the A button. The Nunchuk is used to select which weapon you want to use, reload and a quick shake does a melee attack. I’m not sure how customizable the controls are, but it also supports the Wii Zapper.

So in the chapter we played we were basically walking through this ship in a bid to somehow find an escape. Attacks were frequent and were usually separated by a door of some kind. So you would go into a room, kill some enemies, move around a bit kill some more and then pass through a door into the next room or corridor etc. If you were to die in a room (and believe me; we did!), then you would simply be put back to the last door you went through. The enemies themselves will attack you from all corners of the screen and at varying pace. They usually have well pronounced limbs and, as mentioned before, the secret to success on this game is to detach them ; ) So there is gore a plenty in this game with lots of blood and body parts to keep even the most bloodthirsty player content. The character models are very impressive and that goes for both the human and enemy, animations are fluid and realistic which adds a lot to the overall experience. Your surroundings are very atmospheric and do the game’s Horror genre justice with well designed rooms and lots of texturing. Due to the games ‘Guided’ nature it means that scare moments can be achieved and deployed very effectively as the designers know exactly where the player will be looking at any given time.

The dementia moments that appeared in the original game(Moments where the player would experience visions and hallucinations from the first person perspective of their character) make an appearance in Extraction and will be more in-depth and involved than before. They make a nice break from the shooting and, because of the way the game has been designed, all the ‘Cut scenes’ are played out as if you’re still in control of the character, so it keeps alive the feeling that you’re experiencing the game as a character in this world, which is something you don’t really get from most rails shooters. It also keeps the game flowing nicely and there wasn’t a single loading screen throughout the entire chapter.

Dead Space Extraction certainly looks a title which fans of the previous game will get a lot out of, but it also serves as a good introduction to the series for Wii owners. This isn’t just a rushed, half-port of a game to make the most out of the Wii’s high sales, you can tell this has been developed from the ground up and it’s all the better for it. The full game will also feature branching paths, Challenge modes and the Dead Space Comics that were released. The first 2 add a lot of replayability to the title and with 10 chapters, this is a decent-sized game, especially with most Rails shooters on the Wii being commonly criticised for being so short. My overall impressions of Extraction were good, I have only played a demo of the original game and I’m not really a fan of Horror games, but playing through the chapter was enjoyable and even more so because of the co-op feature. This is certainly a title that Wii owners looking for something a bit more ‘mature’ should keep an eye on and it does offer more than your typical Rails shooter.

Dead Space Extraction is released on the 2nd October.


  • MilkyMalky said:

    Nice write-up Foo,

    This certainly does sound intriguing - any mention of an online co-op mode at all? That might be a laugh.

    I’m always a bit cautious of “on-the-rails” shooters (or whatever spin they’ve been given this time around ;)) so I may wait for more info before deciding about this game.

    Although you;ve certainly whetted my appetite! :)

  • Burnout2006 said:

    Not a fan of horror in the slightest but have to say this title is shaping up to be great for the Wii.


  • biddenden_sue said:

    The fact that it is on rails is keeping me very interested. I absolutely love Sega’s House of the Dead: Overkill. If this can offer me as much fun (and yes, I would say dismembering aliens to kill them would be fun in my world), then I’ll definitely add it to my Christmas List!

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