Extinction Review

Gaming
6.5

Fair

Extinction

Developer: Iron Galaxy
Publisher: Modus Games
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows (Reviewed)
Release Date: 10 April 2018
Price: $59.99 USD – Available Here

Video Review

Overview

Extinction is an action game featuring skill-based combat, destructible environments, and massive ogres. Known as the Ravenii, the ogres are staging a relentless assault on the cities. To save the human race, players will need to rescue civilians, battle countless beasts, and scale the ogres to strike them at their most vulnerable spots.

Story

Extinction stars Avil, one of the last Sentinels. The Sentinels have long faded into myth as the heroes who defended humanity from the Ravenii hordes. Now, the return of the Ravenii has brought Avil and his partner Xandra out of the shadows as humanity’s last hope.

The story of Extinction is an enjoyable tale, with plenty of meat considering the game’s action heavy premise. Without spoiling much, the game’s twists and turns were unexpected. It added a pleasant touch of maturity to the game. The main dialogue is well written, but the comments that are triggered based on certain gameplay actions need a lot more variety. Since there are only a few comments for things like deaths or kills, players will often hear the same line at least twice in most levels.

Gameplay

Extinction is a hack and slash action game with strong aerial mechanics. The movement system feels very tight. It has a generous skill floor that is easy enough to learn. The game also has a decent ceiling that will reward players who can master the movement system with high speed traversals around the map. The only hitch with the game’s movement system is the Ravenii themselves, as it’s quite easy to get stuck in an armpit or any body part that causes an overhang, like a chin.

Combat is a bit of a mixed bag. The basic attack is generally useless. The Ravenii are only affected by rune strikes and taking out Jackals with Rune Strikes is always faster and more efficient. This turns Extinction’s combat into a one note affair. Extinction is obviously at its best when players are pit against the towering Ravenii. The general tactic for dealing with Ravenii is the same no matter what: knock out the leg armour, cut off a leg to slow the advance, and hack off its head as soon as the Rune Strike meter is full. The Ravenii wear different types of armour, each with its own weak points that need to be targeted. The early armours are easy enough. Later armours, however, require a mix of taunting Ravenii and dodging the incoming blows before the armour can be destroyed, making for an exhilarating challenge.

The combat so far may sound really boring, but Extinction’s strength is that its sum is greater than its parts.  The extinction meter is what ties the entire combat experience together. With every civilian death and destroyed building, the extinction meter ticks down. If it hits zero, it’s game over. While the Jackals can whittle down the occasional percent or two with the death of a civilian, the Ravenii are truly terrifying. Capable of knocking off chunks of the extinction meter with every swing of the club or stomp of the foot, the panicked battle to control multiple rampaging Ravenii while saving enough civilians to build up a full Rune Strike meter is some of the most exciting and tense moments Extinction has to offer.

The game does offer some progression. A variety of skills available for purchase, ranging from stat boosts to new movement abilities. While a few like health, Rune Strike meter bonuses, and faster civilian rescues are absolutely crucial, most are quality of life enhancements.

Extinction offers a campaign mode and a variety of side missions. The campaign mode is a mix of handmade levels and randomly generated missions. The handmade levels are by far more entertaining. The random levels offer a pre-set main objective, while the bonus objective and map are randomly generated. The difficulty of the randomly generated levels is often up to chance. Bonus objectives range from trivial requirements like killing a certain number of jackals to mechanically impossible, like dismembering 2 Ravenii on a map that will only spawn one. On the other hand, the handmade levels offer three bonus medals with more interesting level designs like parkour-based levels. Side missions range from the daily challenge to the endless extinction mode that will test the player’s endurance. These side missions aren’t much different from the main randomly generated missions in practice.

A high mobility game like Extinction will live and die by its controls, and Extinction does not disappoint. The controls are simple, but responsive. Since basic attacks pale in comparison to Rune Strikes, memorizing the basic attack combos are not necessary, freeing players to focus on mastering movement skills. Targeting Rune Strikes will temporarily slow time and gravity, giving players time to adjust their aim or contemplate their next move. The dodge window is quite generous. Jackals provide plenty of time between initially telegraphing their attack and actually doing damage. The Ravenii are a little more challenging, as their sheer size make them hard to dodge.

The PC port quality is decent. Extinction handles controllers and mouse and keyboard combos well. The game seamlessly swaps between key prompts for the last used input device. The game features the bare minimum visual options, but ran well on my test system.

Visuals

Extinction’s visual design is very good. Important gameplay mechanics are immediately noticeable, usually with a splash of blue. The in-game art style is on the cartoony side, but still extremely violent. The game definitely channels a little Kill Bill with all the dismemberments and decapitations. The cut-scenes use a traditional western animation style similar to the Saturday morning cartoons many people grew up watching. The style softens the often gory nature of the cutscenes.

Audio

The audio experience is solid. The soundtrack and sound effects are enjoyable.  The voice acting is a little shy of an AAA title, but the actors do a respectable job.

Overall

Extinction features tense gameplay combined with a responsive movement system. The writers have crafted an enjoyable tale, and the audio/visual presentation is excellent. It’s a shame that the game is bogged down too many randomly generated campaign missions that result in repetitive gameplay.

Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.

Summary

Simple, but solid gameplay bogged down by repetitive randomly generated mission
6.5

Fair

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