Friday, July 2, 2010

Game Review: Dead Space Extraction

Blogger's note: Minor Spoilers for Dead Space Extraction.

I initially bought Dead Space: Extraction with extreme reluctance. I gave the original game an unfavourable review, after all. Sure it was a challenging game to play, but the characters were bland and the plot was either a rip-off or incomprehensible. Why do people care about this franchise? It's not like Extraction is going to be something awesome that will totally restore my faith in the horror game-

Wait...are those actual characters? With realistic emotions? People I could care about?


Dead Space Extraction is a complete reversal of the first game...which is good in most respects and bad in one. Released solely on the wii, it is a first person point-and-click shooter game. Taking place before the events of the first game, you play (primarily) as Nathan, a detective who gets caught up in the events of the massacre/monster/zombie apocalypse of a space colony. And unlike the first game, you actually play as someone who has a voice. And a personality. And a costume that doesn't make him look like a dork.

The worst problem of this game is simply this-movement. You will have no control of your movement ever. Instead the game will move your character for you, and you simply have to point and shoot. Occasionally the game will pause to let you grab a few vital items from the floor. While this makes sense because it's on the Wii, it doesn't make any sense from a practical point of view. "There are thousands of monsters outside the door, but oh no! You only have ten seconds to raid the storage locker before the timer runs out! What's that? You didn't grab the medical kit in time? Too bad!"

The voice acting has improved dramatically from the first game. Heck, even the dousebag and evil government official made me believe he was a decent guy for at least half of the game (that is, right until the point he shot me). In Dead Space Extraction you play with three other characters most of the time. All of these characters develop the cunning stragedy of cowering behind you whenever a monster is near, including the Chief of Security I might add. But maybe this is for the best, because the one and only time I saw one of these characters shoot they couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. They would probably shoot me by accident.

Atmosphere is excellent in this game. While there are not quite so many jump-out-of-the-closest scenes as the first game, this one did immerse me quite a bit. There was one particular scene where you end up in the middle of a riot with people running everywhere, and I could honestly believe I was there. The game isn't long-about four or five playing hours. But maybe that is a good thing too, because like Heavy Rain I couldn't actually stop playing from start to finish.

FINAL GRADE: Four stars out of five. You lose a great deal of the gameplay which made the first game cool, but you gain a comprehensible plot and likeable characters. Personally, that beats gameplay every single time.

How long has it been since I last ate anyway?

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