Extinction is a game made by developers who love their work and the product of it, but I’m sad to say that the only thing extinct in this game is my will to play it.
Disclosure: Press copy of Extinction provided by developers.
Extinction is an action game which tries to emulate the titan-fighting action of Attack on Titan while also spinning in a unique story and gameplay mechanics. Explained in one sentence, Extinction takes a ton of well fleshed out ideas and fails to mix them in a mildly cohesive way, and failing to exhibit any kind of logical challenge which could entertain the player. There is a good game in every of the game’s mechanics, those mechanics just never meet together to form cohesive and interesting gameplay.
Starting with the big issues, the enemies in this game called Ravenii are unbelievably boring. The giant monsters called Ogres are brutally boring to fight. The threat they pose is nowhere near a result of this game’s challenge but because fighting them is a mess of poor controls, a troubled camera, and complete lack of value.
Combat with the ogres is painfully unrefined. This doesn’t seem like a problem with the game’s polish, but rather a lack of gameplay mechanics to actually allow for fighting the ogres to be fun. Every fight with an ogre can be summed up as hack off a few limbs, then cut their head off. If you get killed by an ogre, its mostly because the movement system bugged out and wouldn’t let you climb the ogre, or in an attempt to cut off the ogre’s head, the prompt that lets you do so just didn’t appear. Both these issues are very common and make fighting the ogres more of a frustration than an interesting challenge.
Speaking of the game’s lackluster combat, dear god its just one button. The entire combat system is made up of one button being pressed slightly differently. Yes, after an hour you can unlock more combos, one of which involves starting combos with the dash ability, but the majority of combat is literally just one button. Playing with an Xbox360 controller on PC, X is the only attack button. I don’t care if you can pull of different combos by pressing the X button slightly different and with different timing, nothing about pressing the X button over and over is entertaining.
This is so disappointing because so many mechanics in the game had potential and did have an inkling of fun to them. The movement mechanics that let you fly around the maps so quickly are a ton of fun, but don’t mix well with the combat at all. Even the combat had potential, with the combos you can pull off with just the X button being flashy and having a good sense of impact. Its not bad, its just unfinished.
Normally a game like this would merit a much longer explanation of the game’s qualities and failures, but this game does not need or deserve that critique. What does deserve critique is the direction the developers, Iron Galaxy, tried to take this game. What were you thinking? This game costs $59.99 USD, despite being blatantly lacking in content. This game’s campaign can be completed in 6 hours, which I did.
Not only that, there seems to be a complete misunderstanding of how a game should be structured. This game has a ton of different gameplay mechanics, all of which have some merit, but none of which play together. The development for this game feels like a bad college essay. A super enthusiastic student is excited to write a ten-page essay because they have a lot to write about. Five pages in, the student realizes they ran out of things to say.
This lack of content is even more infuriating because it feels like genuinely skilled and intelligent developers had their times wasted making this game. The developers behind Killer Instinct, an absolutely phenomenal fighting game, were the ones who made the combat system in Extinction! There’s no way this game needed some of the best developers in the fighting game community to make a combat system with just one button.
The interesting mechanics within the game show there could have been a good game here, but the developers simply did not know where to go with this game. Its obvious because gameplay from the game a whole year ago shows all the content currently in the game. It feels like nothing about the gameplay was changed or improved in a full year of development.
I really wanted this game to be good, I genuinely did, but it feels like so much is missing, and no amount of time in development could have fixed that. Its really sad to say but this game should not have been made because it stopped very smart developers from working on other projects which could have been much better than this. Man, writing about this game is depressing.
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