Extinction review: Wipe it out

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Reviewed on: PlayStation 4. Copy supplied by publisher.

If you’re a fan of Attack on Titan, and you’re looking for another game that recreates the epic showdown between man and giant, well, you’d better keep on looking, because Extinction certainly is not the game you’re looking for.

Players take on the role of the last Sentinel, a magic warrior able to fight Ravenii– giant orcs that have a penchant for smashing buildings, it’s your goal here to rescue people, kill generic foes until you charge up your kill meter, and then behead the various giant foes that appear and attempt to destroy various randomly generated towns. That’s the game in a nutshell, and believe me, that’s all there is to it.

Extinction tries to tell a story to go along with its action, but with terrible dialogue, irritating and incessant interruptions from training messages that keep pausing the action, and some of the worst visual design I’ve seen in a long time, the world of Extinction quickly becomes both tiresome and repulsive.

To be fair, Orcs generally are pretty repulsive.

Visually, the game is a mismatch of what appears to be pre-bought assets from a range of different genres. You’ve got a hero-shooter style protagonist, generic goblin number 12 from the RPG asset pack seven, various cut and paste building blocks thrown around boring landscapes that make towns look like a child has dropped its Duplo on the carpet, and the Ravenii look like Orcs from something like a five year old kid’s cartoon. The mixture of styles here, and the lack of skill blending them together makes a world that never engages, and the awful dialog only makes this worse.

The gameplay is even more of a problem. Each mission plays out in exactly the same way. You begin having to run around rescuing people, who are conveniently all stood around crystals that teleport them away as you hold a button. Smaller enemies attack people whilst you’re doing this, so some will die if you’re not quick enough. You could kill these foes, but it’s often easier just to ignore them and rescue civilians without combat.

You can jump, glide, wall climb and perform other feats, but controlling these skills is clunky and poorly implemented, so I spent most of my time running and performing basic jumps, which was easier to handle.

The goblins quickly began to mock me.

Eventually, as you rescue enough people and kill enough enemies, you’ll be alerted that your kill strike is ready. Now it’s time to head for the giant Ravenii and take them down. You do this by aiming for their limbs and using a dashing slash attack to sever said limbs, making it easier to jump on their back, run up, and deliver the decapitating death blow.

After the first orc you kill, others take to wearing armour on their limbs and bodies. This armour needs to be destroyed before you can sever limbs and do damage, and this can be as simple as hitting wooden armour once to destroy it, whilst others require you to hit specific parts, such as padlocks securing iron amour sections.

Now, the idea of zooming around severing limbs of giant creatures and then striking a beheading coup de grace sounds fun, and to be honest, the first couple of times it was actually pretty cool. However, when you realise that’s all this game has to offer, the fun wanes. Not only that, but it’s when fighting the Ravenii when you realise the game has a terrible camera that makes these highlight confrontations a mess of fighting not only the Ravenii, but the camera itself. You can also glitch into walls and the very giants you’re trying to kill, and the slo-mo aiming is often off target and just plain awkward to make use of. Bottom line? It’s just not fun. The fact the Ravenii can one-hit kill you only exacerbates this. Okay, so a punch from a 50 foot tall giant is very likely going to one-hit you into a puddle on the floor, granted, and even then, you don’t actually die, but respawn. But when this often happens thanks to a terrible camera and awful collision detection, you can’t help but loose the will to keep playing.

“BYE!”

Oh, and did I mention that each and every level is a timed-affair? Yes, most gamers would agree that timed challenges in games that don’t involve wheels and or other forms of high-speed transport can often be loathed, and this is a game where every mission is just that, only it’s the same, exact thing each and every mission.

There’s progression in that you do get to upgrade your character, but the skill tree is so basic and uninteresting, it doesn’t really matter. And the randomly generated towns can barely be touted as such when each is just a lot of random building thrown on a flat landscape with no effort to create believable settlements.

Extinction’s core idea is solid, and has obviously worked with the game versions of the popular AoT. The execution, however, fails in every possible way, and leaves us with a game that should be avoided at all costs.

Good

  • Killing Ravenii is fun for about 5 minutes

Bad

  • You have to pay money for this

Summary

Extinction is a perfect example of ambition outpacing execution. Whilst I'm sure the developer had grand ideas for huge David versus Goliath fights, the end result is a horrible mess of visual styles, nasty controls, and repetitive, dull gameplay. Don't give it the time of day.

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