Extinction Review: The World is Merciless

Since the inception of video games, the dream was for them to reach the level of interactive movies. In some regards we’ve reached that point, and even surpassed it. Going back to the PS2, there were a couple of games that did something spectacular for the platform – scale. God of War brought about a few giant bosses from mythology, and was later put to shame with the still impressive Shadow of the Colossus (especially with the new PS4 version). Outside of the game space came the surging popularity of Attack on Titan, which spawned a few games tasking the player to defeat huge bipedal beings by destroying different parts of the creatures’ bodies, ultimately killing them at the neck. It’s thanks to all of these that this comes into existence.

Extinction is the newest game from Iron Galaxy, a studio most known for its contract work, although they’ve now released four original games – the previous three being Wreckateer, Divekick, and Videoball. The studio is currently headed up by Adam Boyes, with a pedigree of both Capcom and Sony Interactive Entertainment. And for anyone that loves memes in the game space, they’ll likely recognize Dave Lang as well, who was the star of the studio up until recently. Lovers of Kinda Funny may have seen him with the boys showcasing Videoball a couple years ago.

Knowing that they have some experience in the fighting genre, it’s no wonder that Extinction looks to take an action game and create a battle system that has mechanics which includes cancels. To put it more clearly, think of God of War‘s battle system but with even more emphasis on combos. Progressing through the game you’ll be able to upgrade your abilities, one of which includes being able to attack while dodging, meaning a whole world of new attacks. Interestingly, a good majority of the game doesn’t necessarily require you to use any of these systems, as they are only effective against the smaller enemies that you’ll face off against. I spent a good amount of my time avoiding these altogether as they were often a waste of time in the grand scheme of things.

Going into this I was under the impression that it was going to be an open world game, along the lines of Darksiders. Turns out this is actually a level-based game with specific goals for each mission, with an assortment of optional medals to be acquired each playthrough, including completion within a set amount of time, defeating a certain amount of enemies, or defeating the Ravenii under certain circumstances. The more medals acquired means more points able to use for ability unlocks. Some levels will even have randomly generated goals, making the experience a bit different each time you play. For those that get stuck in the game, you’re able to replay levels to acquire more experience for abilities.

For the first half of the game, I spent the majority of my time saving citizens by charging crystals they surround and killing Ravenii. Without sped up charging, this is where you’ll spend a lot of your time utilizing combos. However, the more time spent killing the small fries means more time for the Ravenii to destroy the city, and if the city health gets too low, it’s game over. In my time with it, I was able to save the citizens before they were killed which not only meant more experience for abilities, but a large increase in your kill gauge for the Ravenii. In order to kill one of the gargantuan ogres you need to have a full gauge to slice off the beasts’ heads. Other ways to boost the gauge include killing the smaller enemies, although I spent most of my time attacking the armor and limbs of the formidable foes. This was both efficient in keeping the giants from destroying the city while also preparing the creatures for their death.

Movement throughout the game is smooth, with the ability of jumping up buildings and walls, as well as bounding through the canopies of trees. It’s when climbing the Ravenii that you will find frustration though, as well as when the game forces you to jump out of the range of the crystals from which the citizens were saved, as I found myself stuck within an invisible force field more often than no. It’s a shame that games that task the player with scaling large enemies means some sort of disenchantment. Oure is the latest game to cause grief in this respect, although I found my fair share of it playing Shadow of the Colossus on the PS2, and a boss near the end of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.

In addition to the main story, the game offers a couple other modes. For lovers of daily challenges, you’re able to compete against others with different goals each day. Of course, it’s in your best interest to prolong these as long as possible to boost your score. There’s also an option that allows you to play as long as you can without dying, which is the game’s namesake. Probably the most unique aspect is the time trial, which tasks you with running through a course of sorts charging crystals. Instead of fighting, this focuses on movement through the game, which is a breath of fresh air to the rest of the experience.

With an assortment of missions and enemies as the game progress, forcing you to change tactics, there’s a decent amount to dig into here. Regrettably, playing missions back to back can become a bit dull, as the missions themselves don’t differ much in gameplay. Whether you’re saving civilians, defending watch towers for a certain period of time, or killing a set amount of Ravenii, the gameplay loop never really changes. The story itself is also a bit lacking and didn’t do much to keep my attention.

Extinction is a game that appears to be an adaptation of Attack on Titan without intending to be, from the giant beasts to the way you attack and ultimately kill them. If the idea of battling large beasts while climbing city walls and saving civilians sounds like your idea of fun, you’ll no doubt find something to enjoy here. There’s not a whole lot else when you get down to it, but sometimes that’s all you need.

8 out of 10

Pros

  • Enemies of Great Scale
  • Extensive Combo System
  • Movement System

Cons

  • Occasional Movement Issues
  • Lack of Variation

Extinction was developed by Iron Galaxy and published by Modus Games. It launched on PC, PS4, and X1 on April 10th, 2018. The game was provided to us on PC. If you’d like to see more of Extinction, check out the official site.

 

Here at GBG we use a rating method that you are more than likely familiar with – a scale of 1 to 10. For clarification, we intend on using the entire scale: 1-4 is something you should probably avoid paying for; 5-7 is something that is worth playing, but probably not at full price; 8-10 is a great title that you can feel confident about buying. If you have any questions or comments about how we rate a game, please let us know.

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