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Dead Space Extraction Review

Written by FooFan on Sunday, 27 September 20097 Comments

Price: £29.99

Wi-Fi: No

Players: 1-2

Age: 18

Developer: EA

Release Date: 29/09/09

Last month we brought you a hands-on preview of Dead Space Extraction and now it’s time to see how the full game stands up as one of the few ‘Mature’ games available on the Wii. If you’re at all offended by Blood, Dismembered body parts, swearing and even a cheeky glimpse of nudity, then look away now… However, if the thought of these makes you grin like a Psycho-Killer, then read on, as you might just miss out on something pretty special if you don’t (…and then maybe seek psychiatric help).

Dead Space was a very successful, critically-acclaimed game for 360, PS3 and PC, so when news of a Wii version reached our ears, we had every right to get a little bit excited. However, I think it’s fair to say that we also got a little bit disappointed when we heard it would not be in the style of the first game(a 3rd Person Survival Horror), but instead it would be an ‘On-the Rails’ shooter in a similar vein to Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles. Despite this, I can safely say that, after playing through the entire campaign, Dead Space Extraction is far from a typical on-the-rails shooter. In fact, its originality and uniqueness alone make for a game that is genuinely a very big coup for Nintendo as a Wii exclusive title. Extraction is the prequel to Dead Space and takes you through the events that lead up to the Ishimura being overrun by these ‘Necromorphs’. You don’t have to have played the original to pick Extraction up, but you will certainly get more out of it story-wise if you do as there are constant references to the original game and a lot of explanations for events that happened in it. EA are calling this a ‘Guided-FPS’ and I think that’s the only thing you could call it. ‘On-the-rails’ gives the impression of a very smooth, static ride through the levels where you kills some enemies, glide along to the next bit and then kill some more. With Extraction, you genuinely feel as though you are playing a character in this world, something which cannot be said for more ‘On-the-Rail’ shooters.

This is largely down to the camera style of Extraction. Rather than being a steady, smooth action, the camera reacts to you characters movements whether they are simply walking along or frantically looking around for what just caused that very disturbing and too-close-for-comfort noise. When enemies appear, the camera will sometimes still move as they will be coming from different directions and you get a real sense of being inside this person’s head. Even more so when the dementia moments kick in and you start hallucinating and seeing things, not knowing if they’re real or part of your imagination. All of this is done with great style and to great effect to really get the most out of the gameplay. Sure, there are some times when you wish you could control the camera manually and have a good look around, but these moments were actually quite rare as the character seems to share your sense of exploration which is quite important for getting that extra ammo and weapons. There are times when you have control of the camera briefly to look around and these take place so you can stock up on supplies before moving into what will almost certainly be a big battle. There are also times when you have to choose between 2 routes to take, so this adds to the replayability of the title as you’ll not know what would’ve happened if you had taken that other path…

For the majority of the game you play as Nate McNeill, a P-Sec detective who is serving on Aegis VII – the colony on the planet where a ‘Marker’ has been found. The marker is a large rock which some people believe to be religious, while others see it as just a rock. Either way, since its discovery, people have been acting very strange and things go from bad to worse. It soon ends up that 4 of you are left to try and escape the horror and get out alive. There are times when you’ll play another character (4 in total, including McNeill) and this gives you an idea of different people’s views on what is happening and lets you see it from another perspective. The majority of the time, there will be at least one other person with you and this adds to the suspense and atmosphere as they will constantly be looking around as well and talking to you about their own worries and fears. They’ll also scream pretty loud if something starts to attack them! Overall, the story in Extraction is really good. There’s plenty to keep you going through the 10 Chapters and a lot of the time you’ll want to start the next one right away just to see what happens. The atmosphere throughout is creepy and tense, although it may not be the Horror-fest you’re after as scare-moments are not that frequent and I only jumped a couple of times… honest. Either way, it’s still a great campaign and will almost certainly make you want to play the original just to see what happened afterwards.

So as I mentioned before, there are 10 chapters in the game. Which equals about 6 hours gameplay all told… on ‘Normal’ setting at least (There are 4 difficulty settings, with Normal being the lowest) and that’s pretty good for this style of game. The gameplay is as you would expect with most of the action involving you pointing at the screen and pressing ‘b’ to fire, but you also have use of such features like Kinesis, which is controlled via ‘a’ and can be used to Grab nearby objects (Ammo, weapons, explosive cells etc) or even as a weapon by grabbing an explosive cell and then pressing ‘b’ to fire it at your target. You also have access to Stasis which slows down an enemies’ movement to almost not moving so you can focus on another one or just take your time in remove the limbs of this one. That’s the other thing; the best way to kill Necromorphs is to dismember their limbs… yes that is as fun as it sounds! It not only slows them down, but shooting them in the head/chest will more likely just enrage them further – Not recommended. So aim for the arm joints and leg joints if you want to make it to the Credits screen. You also have the appropriately named ‘Glow Worm’ which can be charged by shaking the Wii remote. It’s basically a glow stick which can (Kind of) light up those extra dark bits, although you’ll be wishing it worked all the time at some points… Apart from the main gameplay, you also have puzzles like soldering broken connections and Zero Gravity moments where you have to jump from point to point to reach your goal. Both add some variety to the game and are good fun.

There are 10 weapons to unlock in the game and they range from your trusty rivet gun (Never runs out of ammo and is always in the ‘Down’ slot) to the highly satisfying Flame Thrower (Which looks great by the way!). Not only that, but every weapon has an alternate fire, which can be enable by twisting the remote on its side and firing like a gangsta. So there are effectively 20 weapons for you to choose from and you’ll soon find a favourite combination of 4 (The Line Gun, Flame Thrower and Pulse Rifle, were my personal faves). At the end of each chapter you are given a star rating out of 5 which is determined by your accuracy, Damage Taken, Collectibles found and overall score. These stars unlock weapon and suit upgrades which can then be used the next time you play. It’s a nice addition and certainly not something you’d expect to find in a typical on-the-rails shooter, but I think we’ve determined by now that Extraction is far from that. The game also has a drop-in, drop-out co-op mode which is where a lot of fun can be had and then there’s challenge mode which pits you against wave after wave of Necromorphs while trying to earn the most points. Points are awarded for Kills, dismemberments, Kill-streaks etc. It’s another nice addition to the game and adds some more replayability. Online leaderboards would’ve been nice, but sadly only local scores are saved, so perhaps a thread on the forum will suffice. After all that, you also unlock a series of dead space comics which tell the story up to the point where extraction starts. They’re well drawn and narrated and offer some more background knowledge to the events on the Ishimura.

Dead Space Extraction is an all too rare example of a developer not just bringing a franchise to the console in a cut-down form, but actually taking the time to create; from the ground up, a game that deservedly takes its own place in the franchise. If you’re put off by the seemingly ‘On-the-rails’ style of gameplay on offer, then I urge you to look past it, because this is like no shooter you’ve played before and certainly not on the Wii. Add everything I’ve gone through to impressive visuals and voice acting (The character models are some of the best I’ve seen on the Wii and along with the atmospheric and detailed surroundings, this is a superb example of what the Wii is capable of) and what you’ve got is a great little shooter that actually sets a new standard for its genre. This game deserves to be a success and I hope for the sake of the Wii that it is, as we’ve already seen plenty of good quality ‘Hardcore’ titles falter when it comes to sales. EA seem to be putting a lot of advertising behind this game though and with any luck it will receive a good reception when released on Tuesday.

Overall Rating: 88%

If you have any questions, then please fire away!

7 Comments »

  • J-Monkey said:

    It’s brilliant for WiiTalk that we’re allowed to go to these things and be alloed to review the game and play it before it’s even released, just like the real magazines and reviewers. ;)

    Great job, Foo.

  • SammyPegs said:

    Good review, this game turned out just as i expected then: a fun on rails game but not special enough to make me want to buy it.

  • FooFan (author) said:

    I’m not sure that’s a fair summary tbh Sammy, if you read what I put in the review then you should see that I found playing this game much more of an involved experience than any other ‘On-the-rails’ shooter and it makes for a very good game.

    I’d say it’s at least worth a rent.

  • SammyPegs said:

    but its still only an on rails game, in my opinion once you have already tried 3 or 4 of them you kinda know what to expect from future on rails games. I know this one is a bit different in that your not supposed to go for head shots etc and it does look like a pretty decent on rails game. But i don’t think anything could justify me getting another on rails game…

  • Riddler_Tam said:

    I’ve enjoyed the on-rails shooters released on the wii I think about 3-4 of my games are to this style. I have this and Resident evil Darkside Chronicles on my to buy list.

    This style of game is a niche genre on all of the consoles it would be different if the wii was being swarmed with similar games but there has only been 3-4 of this style this year so it’s not that bad I think.

    Yes they are working in a similar gameplay follow a set path and kill as many monsters to survive etc. but that’s like comparing fps titles and saying I’m not buying another fps game due to them being the same kind of gameplay (bare bones they are the same regardless of storyline) run, shoot, kill.. repeat.

    One downside I find with on the rails is replay value once you have finished the game and opened up the bonus items etc. there isn’t much left to work on which is why I always make sure I can get them at a decent price.

  • SammyPegs said:

    nah, i can get a lot more value for my money if i bought an fps, yeah they might be run, shoot, kill but at least i have the freedom of running and choosing where i can run to. Plus there would be a lot more replay value in an fps than an on rails shooter, obviously the fact that you can play most fps’s online these days contributes to that greatly. I can see why people like on rails shooters (and i do too) i would have a great time playing it with a mate but it’s not enough to justify me buying a copy. Maybe if a mate bought a copy…

  • Mukkinese said:

    To be honest, I hated the camera-work in Extraction. All that whirling around almost made me sick.

    The interaction with the scenery, with the TK ability, and the switches at doors, lifts, puzzles, etc., all the frequent choices allowed the player were big pluses, but if visceral wanted to avoid the “on the rails” tag they could have given the player the choice when to move everytime, instead of dragging them around ready or not. This small amount of control makes a big difference in immersion in the game. Another disappointment was the old cheap trick of all “on the rails” shooters; show the player something nice and shiny, then whip the camera away. Boring. What happened to the “exploration” promised? Even if that just meant looking around from a static viewpoint, working against a timer or having just a split-second to look and grab is not exploration.

    Despite all these crits, I did enjoy the game overall. Once I got over the disappointment of, yet again, being dragged around and the spinning camera, I found the story and acting entertaining. The combat sections are, by far, the best thing about the game. Really great alien-shooting. Excellent selection of weapons too. In fact the combat was so well done it more than makes up for all the “on the rails” shenanigans. Because of the fantastic combat, I would recommend Extraction to any first person shooter fan, despite my dislike of the “on the rails” conventions.

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