Arcade games turn out to be an enjoyable experience for players, partly because of their versatility, but they often suffer from various flaws which mar the experience significantly. Extinction was indeed one of those games which might look extremely lucrative from the trailers since it showcases a pretty robust fight between the protagonist and some monsters, backed by some amazing graphics. Does it perform according to the trailer, or does it again turn out to be an example of deceptive appearances, let’s find out.
Extinction is an action-adventure game developed by Iron Galaxy and published by Maximum Games and is now available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
The story is pretty cliched and one should not expect major plot twists and stuff. You play as a Avil, and defend cities against attack of monsters. The story makes the procedurally generated levels pretty lame since at one instance you are defending a particular city, you fail, and then the procedural generation comes to play and you are transported to another random city. What happens to the previous one? No one knows.
The storytelling is done by a small box featuring the character who the protagonist is conversing with, and a series of lines exchanged among them. Amidst all this, the game comes to a halt and while alternatives to cutscense for storytelling is pretty much appreciated by me, this method of storytelling makes an already lacklustre story, more mundane. Another important feature that was lacking throughout the game was that the NPCs never even appeared on the screen apart from the conversations which was conveyed by a still picture of them along with a box containing their speech.
Extinction draws inspiration from Shadow of the Colossus and Attack of Titan 2 but in doing so, it fails to possess any significant feature which makes it unique amidst the genre of boss fight-centric games. The game has some decent mechanics which are really very implemented, but in light of gameplay as a whole, the game seems to crumble.
The combat mechanics and the couple of traversal mechanics are one of the most fluid aspects I have seen in a game recently. There are minor flaws but they are completely overshadowed by the way they are implemented. The whip for instance, which gives the players the ability to grapple and glide to the various objects present in the environment, nudges Avil in the air initiating a slo-mo sequence wherein players can use the whip ability again to traverse through the environment. All these turn out to be extremely satisfying while performing them and the game’s mechanics are the only crutches of the game.
The combat in the game looks extremely satisfying and enjoyable in the first couple of hours of the game. As soon as one starts progressing through the procedurally generated levels present in the single player campaign, the various flaws of the game come to light. The enjoyable aspects of the game turn out to be a chore owing to their repetitive nature. The gameplay revolves around defending specific sections of a city which is procedurally generated and performing certain objectives. The objectives range from defeating the giant Raveniis with specific methods, to saving civilians and killing a certain no. of ogres. As one progresses in the game, the main objectives remain somewhat similar, but the enemy variety changes very slightly and instead it just adds a load of armor to the oversized giants making them more difficult to defeat. Players get revived instantly in a level if they falter, but, the city destruction meter at the top ensures that one has to finish the mission in the given time frame. While the instant revival feels pretty well implemented, the procedural generation of the level after one fails to complete it, i.e., when the destruction meter falls to zero, makes the whole affair pretty mundane. Players are not able to learn from their mistakes and improve in their subsequent combat encounters since the missions as well as the enemy variance changes while re-attempting a missions. This aspect is what kills the urge to play the game. Randomness in a game is welcome, but if this random turns out to be excruciatingly annoying for the players, then it’s better that these aspects are omitted.
Talking about AI, the game’s AI is below average as well. While the ogres turn out to be annoying at times since they one is likely to be overcrowded by them, the way the missions are designed, it reduces the very significiance of ogres as one can easily get over a mission without killing even one of them and directly proceeding to the Ravenii, unless the mission objective involves killing a certain number of ogres. There isn’t much enemy variance as I said earlier, and the only variety is the addition of different sets of armor and buffing up of HPs. The game gets extremely challenging at times, but the urge to complete the mission isn’t sustained thanks to unrewarding gameplay. The climbing mechanics are somewhat not well implemented, and that makes climbing the giant Raveniis a chore and hence defending the city when multiple Raveniis attack becomes a really boring affair. Backed by a spineless story, the gameplay falters at almost all major points.
The character progression in the game has some depth with a detailed skill tree, but then again it’s supported by below mediocre gameplay which reduces the very significance of it. The various skills bring some subtle variance to the combat of the game, but the the button mashing structure as a whole remains pretty prevalent.
The daily challenge mode is what prevents Extinction from being a drastic mess. The campaign becomes so repetitive that one would find himself playing this game mode more than the campaign itself. It involves defending the city from jackals and completing certain objectives, which change daily. This mode is pretty enjoyable and overshadows the massive flaws in the game, to some extent. Overall, with such a below average gameplay, the 60$ price tag of Extinction, isn’t justified since there are a hell lot of games out there offering much more content at half the price.
Graphics & Sound
The artstyle of the game is pretty good and the character models are really well designed. The enemies lack variance though, both materialistically and skilfuly. The environment features pretty minimalistic and average graphics as well. The game relies on procedural generation for the environments in the specific levels too, but, all of them share a common page of resemblance making the procedural generation seemingly insignificant. The game performed well in less populated areas, but at places where one is crowded by large numbers of enemies, the FPS drops significantly and makes the game somewhat unplayable.
The sound design is pretty average and just barely does it’s job. In contrast, the character voices were pretty good and it rather prevents the whole sound design from being below average as well.
Extinction turns out to be a pretty disappointing game, but it seriously had potential. If the developers had rather focused on adding a bit of enemy variance, and improving the single player campaign on the game, they could’ve prevented the game from being a sheer mess. At the current state, Extinction is not at all worth buying for that hefty 60$ price tag, but, for players who are looking for a fun hack and slash experience, they can indeed give Extinction a shot when it’s on sale.