Alright lads, we’re going to try and keep this one super short as this game ain’t gettin’ any younger.
Scientific fact shows that Dead Space had one of the all time best trailers in the history of video games. That creepy rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star playing over all the shots of death and destruction? That made me want to play that game more than be alive. Thankfully the game itself did not disappoint. Scary, fun and all around engrossing, it was one of my favourite titles of last year.
The idea of following that with an on-rail shooter prequel for the Wii was….surprising. I can’t say it felt like the most logical next step but I was definitely still willing to give it a try and what do you know, they pulled it off.
The world of Dead Space actually translates quite well to the world of rail shooters (I’m sorry, “guided experiences”). You still get the detailed environments, both the subtle and surprise scares and most importantly, the strategic dismemberment. Yes there are large chunks of the game where you’re not actually controlling anything and are simply watching scenes unfold, but thankfully Extraction has a really good story so you won’t be bored waiting for the action to start back up.
This is easily one of the most impressive looking games the Wii has had to date. I already touched on the detailed level environments but it’s worth mentioning again (and possibly even again after that) as they really do look fantastic. They look so good you’re almost angry that the game doesn’t let you stop and admire some of the locations before it whisks you off to the next area. The character models are equally impressive, as is the animation. I could go and go but for the sake of keeping things short I’ll just summarize by saying this game looks gooooooood.
Of course a big part of what made Dead Space so damn effective was the sound design and Extraction is certainly no slouch. Music is sparse and is really only used to amp up the tension. I won’t say whether that fantastic Twinkle Twinkle Little Star rendition shows up in this version because you’re gonna want to be surprised. The sound effects are where the game really shines. There are all sorts of subtle noises and creepy, whispering voices that will have you on edge the entire time.
The shooting mechanics are great and it’s all kinds of fun dismembering creatures left and right using both familiar and new weapons. A lot of the new weapons feel great but my personal favourite involves shooting a saw blade, which you then move around the screen and use to hack all of the enemies up. I can’t say I’ve used the Wii Remote to hack limbs off monsters with a saw blade before, so I’m happy.
While the experience is definitely not as scary as the original, it is still intense. Monsters often come after you in waves and they are persistent sons of bitches. Even once you take off their legs, they just keep right on coming. It can take quite a few shots to take one of those things down. The game offers a decent challenge on the Normal difficulty (which is what I played through on) but it’s a whole new story when you switch it up to the higher difficulty settings. Man, the game really wants you dead on those higher settings.
If I had to knock the game the only area I can really think to do it in is the replay value. While the basic mechanics are still fun on repeated playthroughs, all of the surprises of the story/presentation are gone. You will still have to sit through the extended story sequences and it just won’t be nearly as engaging on subsequent play sessions. Of course there are still the Challenge rooms, and plenty of items to find within each level (text and audio logs, etc) so there is still a lot to do outside out of the regular game.
I must say I was very impressed with Dead Space Extraction. I was expecting to merely enjoy but I actually borderline loved it. I just looked up the sales for it out of sheer curiosity and I’m sorry everyone, but they’re not good. Apparently you’re all too busy buying My Sims Agents. What the hell World? This game deserves some recognition so get out there and give this one a shot.