Spending over a week with Extinction was painful. I was drawn because the studio had some pedigree with their previous work, a ton of good ports and Killer Instinct, the premise caught my attention, too. We would face off against skyscraper-sized ogres and we could chop them into bits, slicing off body parts and creating kabobs out of their corpses. I was in for the ride on Extinction, but shortly after getting on I knew I had seen so there was and wanted off this ride!
Extinction borrows ideas from the anime Attack on Titan as well as Shadow of the Colossus, but Iron Galaxy failed to capture the essence that makes these other properties what they are. I feel the ideas behind these series is hard to produce into an entertaining video game (Praey for the Gods is in this vein) and that’s why we don’t see many studios attempting them, you need precision and a lot of great camera work to get this to succeed.
Playing Extinction on PlayStation 4, I went in expecting half decent story about men and ogres – what I got was an arcade chapter select and some decent voice acting to push the story forward. Each mission lasted me between 5-10 minutes and would consist of small bits of narrative, loosely woven between these missions. At best, the mission design is haphazardly thrown together as missions are randomly-generated a hot mess.
While the campaign can be full, Extinction’s additional modes are worth checking out, including the titular Extinction Mode, where the focus is on taking down Ravenii while others like Daily Challenge providing a reason to come back to play the game.
The trailers for Extinction sold me on a product I wanted but the game nearly turned me away. Taking down Ravenii is fun, that much is true, but, everything else falls flat. On the ground level, there is little to do aside from mindlessly slashing at cannon fodder that proves no challenge, these encounters usually involve saving civilians and activating crystals. Taking on a massive enemy requires you to begin by severing their legs, which sees the enemy fall to their knees, from here you climb up onto the neck and sever their head. The exciting part includes allowing enemies to grow back limbs if you can take too long to kill them, but, requires Avil to build his Rune Strike meter, a gimmick that serves no purpose aside from being a weak gameplay mechanic.
Extinction puts focus on the Goliath beasts destroying the cities, and our hero, Avil, has the skills to take them down as he is the last of the Sentinels, a specialized band of soldiers that can engage the Ravenii. The premise involves moving about the city and climbing them to land the killing blow behind the neck. As the game moves forward, these enemies gain more armor and become increasingly harder to kill, but the process to take them down doesn’t change.
The mechanics are sound and responsive, as Avil handles well and is a highlight of the gameplay, as he jumps, runs and bounces off the environment to engage the ogres. A grapple hook is part of his arsenal but I found it to be inconsistent and hard to attach to targets as intended. That doesn’t mean that Extinction isn’t glitchy because during my playthrough I had instances where the game would crash on me, sometimes the frame rate would stutter.
A.I is often uneven and makes encounters overly frustrating. The Rune Strike ability when executed slows down time to line up the best show on the Ravenii, but, the camera often makes it downright difficult to pull off a finisher.
Extinction is an ok game that has a few solid ideas behind it, however, it is a repetitive game at its core. Playing through the story isn’t bad but once you understand this isn’t a deep game and you won’t see much more than what get during the first few hours. Unfortunately, Extinction is shallow and boring, and you’ll only need an hour to get the best experience. Some neat ideas stand out but ultimately, this doesn’t end up being the experience I had wanted.
[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes]
- The first hour is entertainng
- Your first Ravenii encounter is thrilling
- Shallow and repetitive gameplay
- Poorly presented story
- Technical issues including crashes and frame rate drops