Huge creatures trampling over cities is a 2018 trend.
Rampage, the film based on the old arcade game is hitting the cinemas starring The Rock, a big gorilla, and a huge flying wolf thing. But over in the gaming scene and Extinction has its own big bad monsters hitting us up, and with their own violent agenda to put forward, it’s up to you put an end to their bulldozing ways. It’s a title that is hoping to excite the David and Goliath within all of us, but is it a giant-killer of a game?
Extinction combines hack and slash elements, an RPG story and a skill game, all into one. The story is a good one and involves a monstrous horde known as the Ravenii that have invaded Earth – imagine giant green orc-like creatures and you ain’t far away. They like nothing better they stomping and punching everything and everyone who is in their path.
So at this point in the tale, the humans are on their last legs with the only place of safety located within the kingdom of Dolorum. You play as a handsome mustache wearing guy, Avil, the last living Sentinel, whom along with his sidekick Xandra, arrive in the capital city in order to recruit King Yarrow to their cause. The end goal is to gather up enough resources to build a big teleporter and get out of there, away from the marauding Ravenii. The story and dialogue itself is pretty interesting and the developers have most definitely built a great universe with loads of possibilities and fascinating questions that should lead to possible sequels. But how does it play?
Well, Extinction is simple enough to understand and you start proceedings in the city, with a number of objectives across multiple chapters to complete. This boils down to rescuing a number of civilians, helping the city dwellers by taking out smaller orcs and transporting them out of harm’s way. There are a number of attack moves available to you, all coming to the fore as you find yourself leaping and grappling around the place. This ensures that the action is very fast, and, after a short while of getting used to the sheer pace of matters, very enjoyable. But then, soon into the campaign, you are introduced to taking down a Ravenii. And this is where Extinction gets exciting.
These creatures are big and there are a number of ways for you to take them down. A special power-up slows down time to allow you the chance to focus on the weak points found on the big un-jolly green giant. Then with a quick whoosh and slash, attacking the weak points – which normally means cutting off the creature’s legs – you can clamber up its back to the perfect killing spot, before chopping off its head. Simple yes? Well, it is. To begin with. But it doesn’t take long for things to get trickier. You see as you progress, the green giants gain armour and locks that you have to break apart bit by bit before you can go all-in for the killer shot. Did I also mention that the Ravenii can regenerate their legs after a short period of time too? No? Well, they can!
Whilst you’re worrying about all this, the enemy continues to take down the city, with a counter allowing you to keep track of all the damage. Need more energy in your power up in order to despatch them quicker? Kill more little orcs and save civilians and you’ll find your power bar goes up and you can have another slash attack at the Ravenii. It very quickly begins to feel like you’re spinning multiple plates at a time, especially as you progress and the difficulty level raises a few notches. You gain experience points in the process of all this and these can be used to buy extra health, attack moves or the like.
As well as the campaign there are some further options like the daily challenge, a Horde-like mode which gives you only one life to achieve greatness and a skirmish mode bringing checkpoints and the chance to be compared with friends and colleagues around the world.
In the grand scheme of things Extinction all works fine, but there are some minor gripes and I would have loved to have seen a lock on feature to help the enjoyment factor immensely. And away from the fighting, the other things to partake in – rescuing people, killing grunts and defending watchtowers – are all a bit bland. Taking down the big beasts is where the money is at though, and that doesn’t disappoint or ever become boring.
Visually and we’re not looking at an amazing graphical feast on show here. Extinction has more of an arty Okami style to it and the big bad creatures look brilliant. The other more minor enemies however – as well as the people and the city surroundings – aren’t quite so interesting, but the character cutscenes are nicely drawn and the bright overall tone is very pleasing, especially when you factor in the pumping orchestral soundtrack that keeps the tension going.
Overall though and Extinction is a well polished title set in a universe that has an interesting story. It always feels brilliant taking down a huge green beast, but it does get a bit tiring after a while; there really does need to be something else to the game’s bag of tricks to keep the interest high. It doesn’t help that Extinction comes in as a full priced game, and if it had some in around the £20-£30 price range, it would have felt much more at home.
I have however enjoyed my time taking down the Ravenii and I’m looking forward to where the franchise goes next.