Dare You Return To The USG Ishimura?
If you were unfortunate enough to have missed out on Dead Space back in 2008 then shame on you. It took players by storm as the sleeper hit of the year by re-inventing the survival horror genre. And EA Redwood Shores did the clever thing by combining all the key elements to a solid third-person shooter – a smooth combat system, gravity gun mechanic, weapon upgrade device, shop and a immersive story to provide an all-round polished experience.
So when news surfaced about the successor to Dead Space, Dead Space Extraction, there was some particular intrigue as to how it could live up to the legend. Firstly the title was released on the Wii, a machine synonymously known for providing easy to pick up and play titles like the Mario games and Wii Sports yet almost incapable of providing intense mature rated releases.
Secondly Dead Space Extraction was destined as a "guided experience" (translation: light gun) shooter much like the Sega and Namco arcade types such as Time Crisis, House of the Dead and Virtua Cop. A genre many figured had grown stale ten year prior to Dead Space's creation. So needless to say, there was some controversy surrounding the hype of Extraction and as to whether it sucks or not. However, here is the verdict: It does not.
Dead Space Extraction might not provide the suitable extended experience original Dead Space fans yearned for. Instead, Extraction offers a highly interactive and intently accomplished experience players would otherwise be missing out on.
Set before the events of the original Dead Space. Extraction delivers the moments proceeding to the Necromorph take-over of Ageis VII (the colony planet) and Ishamura (the ship that the majority of Dead Space takes place o n). Throughout most of the game, you play as Detective Nathan Mcneill as he and a group of survivors try and make sense of the disaster and seek refugee from it's menace. The actual experience of Extraction however also has you play as other characters as well as Mcneill and several short interludes between the fighting but that's all that needs to be said.
Although Dead Space Extraction's core gameplay has a lightgun motif, all movement is preset and it is a simple point and click procedure from there. But Extraction tries it's best to match the original in a streamlined condition. Most of the levels are investigated slowly in a first person cinematic viewpoint where the focus clearly is on the events leading up to the original Dead Space itself. Like the original Dead Space as well, everyone is trying to pick themselves up from dropping into insanity as the alien plague eats at their minds.
Yet the fighting itself is very much the same to the original once more, xenomorphs are despatched by detachment of their limbs – you can slow them down using stasis and finish them off with melee attacks (if you wish) with a swing of the nunchuck.
The weaponry of Dead Space consists of tools that are laterally utilised to kill and this involves plasma cutters (a laser gun that fires horizontal and vertical lines), a force cannon (a kinetic manipulating device) and many others during play. Conventional weaponry in the form of a pulse rifle and the new PSEC Pistol can be found though. Items are also picked up manually once again by clicking A on the wiimote which uses your kinetic abilities to grab useful props from a distance. This includes diary and voice-log entries as well as weapon upgrade which are automatically assigned
Speaking of kinetic abilities, your ability to manipulate gravity can be just as lethal this time around as with the first Dead Space by finding explosive tanks and firing back enemy projectiles against them. Needless to say accuracy is a lot more convenient in Extraction and this proves vital during the lock puzzles which having you play an operation kind of mini-game where you can't touch the edges of the wire with your Wiimote.
Zero gravity makes a return to Dead Space Extraction but the sequences are far shorter this time around. It largely has you looking for the jump spot and clicking hastily after you kill the wave of Necromorphs before you. The Necromorphs also all make a return but there are a few new ones in the fray, including flying necromorphs and of course the boss fights during Extraction.
Much of Extraction is spent with exploring the levels though which can be a little slow and tedious and they're mostly attempts to provoke suspense and ultimately fear as the only light you have is a glow worm (which is activated with a shake of the wiimote).
Infact, Extraction's largest failing is how forceful its narrative is on the player. Guaranteed, they're visually wonderful and the dark, damp atmosphere of Dead Space is captured impressively on Wii, it's amplified too heavily however and we'd rather be shooting something in the meantime.
And Extraction has fairly suspect voice acting which at times can come off as corny and B-movie in performance, but the characters on the whole don't generate anything new or exciting to the series. Mcneill and his buddies are forgettable to say the least.
The game is also incredibly short, it clocks well under ten hours and there is little cause for replaying it either much unlike House of the Dead. Although the added jump-in co-op makes it a liable option for being played at parties. It is a little difficult to understand the mechanics of Extraction on first play however, especially with the concerns of weaponry (which has to be rationed and swapped for most of it).
Finally though, Dead Space Extraction teems in far too much quality to escape a distinction grade on the whole. The added features to Extraction also make it as intense and entertaining as any mature rated title on 360 or PS3. Granted this one's shorter than the bunch it is deserving of your time and essential if you're looking for a bargain on Wii (most stores sell Extraction for less than £20 now). Check it out.