Extinction – Xbox One Review
The premise of a lot of video games is that you, the protagonist, is there to save the world from what ever impending doom is coming. The premise of Extinction is something a little different. The world has already fallen to the ogre armies and now it is your task to just try to save as many people as possible, to try to stop the human race from going extinct.
You play as Avil, a hero with a sword and your main enemies are the Ravenii. Basically these are just giant ogres which take up half of the screen. These aren’t the only enemies though. On your way to fighting the main ogre of each mission you will encounter multiple smaller enemies called jackals. These are the ones directly harassing the civilians you are trying to save and you will have to hack and slash your way through these to save as many people as you can. The location of people in trouble is highlighted on your screen and you rush from place to place both horizontally and vertically to save them on your way to facing the main big bad guy of the mission. You are also told when a civilian dies which adds a slight element of tension to the game.
The combat at first feels fun in a hack and slash kind of way with you looking forward to unlocking more combats. But soon you learn that the combat in this part of the game mainly consists of button mashing and hoping that you slash and dodge at the right time to do and avoid damage. Even when you eventually unlock more combos and abilities for Avil, the combat still feels stale and repetitive, something we have seen a hundred times before.
The bigger ogres look impressive and intimidating at first but there is little variety in their design apart from the type of armour that they may be wearing. They are all taken down the same way, with a stab to the back of the head. To do this you must avoid their attacks, weaken them and then climb up them to get to the back of their heads. This isn’t always as easy as it sounds. We often found ourselves falling off them or getting stuck in a crotch or armpit which is about as pleasant as it sounds.
The ogres equipped with armour can have it removed by slashing at weak points of it and then you can hack off limbs. This is fun at first with all of the blood and gore gushing around but when you’ve done this several times it becomes the same thing again and again. If you are not quick enough to eliminate a dismembered enemy then the limbs will grow back and you will have to take it off again to proceed. We actually sometimes had more fun watching an ogre flail around without arms and legs than actually killing it.
The ogres have different armour types but this isn’t really enough to add variety to the game. The only real variety we found was when we could only attack certain enemies after they had launched a specific type of attack. This was a good idea that was poorly implemented. The attacks were too random in how they happened and it felt more like waiting for a piece of luck than skill in managing to kill them.
The missions are repeatable and you get a bonus score for accomplishing certain objectives in a mission so it can be rewarding to repeat certain missions, but we found that our desire to do so was often lacking. The only real reason to do this would be to earn more skill points to unlock new abilities that we didn’t really use. The only really useful perks were the ones that let us leap higher as this is the most fun way to traverse the map.
The look of the game is fun and cartoony and fits well with the not too serious way we found we had to take to combat but takes away from the actual seriousness of the story. And that leads us to the best part of Extinction. The story is quite engaging and contains several twists and turns which at points, made us scratch our heads. But the way that the story and the game fits together isn’t really a comfortable match.
All-in-all, Extinction is a fun game at first that grows old quickly. Gameplay is quite repetitive as are the enemies. The hack and slash element of the game is fun but this is broken up too much by actually having to do what you are meant to do and taking down the same ogres wearing diferent costumes. Ahem…we meant armour, not ‘costumes’.
Extinction is available to purchase from retailers, or can be downloaded from the Xbox Store, priced at £54.99.
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